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One of the ways we have discussed to get your career moving in a positive direction is to improve your relationships. How good are the relationships that you have with your colleagues?Right now, I want to look at why good relationships are so essential. Then we will move on later to looking at how you can build strong, positive relationships at work, and actually strengthen your relationships with people with whom you don't naturally connect.Human beings are created to be social– we have deep needs for friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. It’s natural and normal than when our relationships at work are positive, we will be happier and more productive. A Gallup research project found that people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to thrive in their jobs. And it doesn't have to be a best friend: Gallup found that people who simply had a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be satisfied.Good working relationships give us several other benefits:

  • Work is more enjoyable and fulfilling when we have good relationships with those around us.

  • Change comes easier and with less conflict when we are positively connected.

  • Innovation and creativity flourish when relationships are positive.

  • Freedom to focus on opportunities instead of spending time and energy overcoming the problems associated with negative relationships results.

  • The trust that develops makes promotions and progress more likely.

What makes a good working relationship?

  • Trust is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust the people you work with, when you don’t have to waste time and energy “watching your back”. The bond of trust makes communication clear and strong.

  • Open Communication sets the tone for the relationship. We communicate all day, whether we're sending emails, regular letters, talking on the phone, using social media, or meeting in person. The better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the deeper and more effective your relationships will be.

  • Mutual Respect is critical. When you respect the people that you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Respect enables the development of solutions based on shared insight, ideas, and creativity.

  • Personal Responsibility is accepting responsibility for your own words and actions. Responsible people are careful and sensitive to what they say, and they don't let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.

  • Acceptance makes relationships work well. People who develop good relationships welcome diverse people and opinions. They consider different opinions, and factor those thoughts into their decision-making.

So, who should be included in those good relationships? Certainly, we should try to build and maintain good relationships with everyone, and especially our co-workers and supervisors, but there are couple other relationships that deserve attention as well.

  • Developing good relationships with key stakeholders in your organization is certainly worth the effort. Anyone who has a stake in your success or failure will be more likely to make sure that your projects and career succeed if you have a good relationship.

  • Clients and customers merit extra relational attention. Keeping everyone happy 100 percent of the time is a lofty goal, but when we maintain honest, trusting relationships and strong clear communication with our clients, we can minimize fallout when things do go wrong.

There’s just no downside to cultivating good relationships. You’ll enjoy your work and your work will multiply as your relationships thrive.

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