Thursday, December 22, 2005

Building Successful Relationships

Building Successful Relationships
There is really something to be said for building quality relationships in life. Whether it is a family relationship, a friendship, or a business relationship, they are all personal relationships that need to be developed and nurtured.

Building a quality relationship requires a mutual benefit. I believe that all relationships can be classified as joint ventures. If you understand the concept of a joint venture, then you really have the basic understanding of how relationships are developed. In any relationship, or joint venture, there must be a benefit to both parties involved and both parties must be able to identify a need for that benefit before a successful relationship can be developed.

If you are wondering why one of your relationships doesn't seem to be working, the first step it to identify what the benefits of the relationship are to you and the other party. If you cannot clearly identify the benefits, then the relationship may need to be changed. Think of a relationship as a series of transactions, you offer the other person something that they want and in turn you acquire something that you desire. For example; you offer your employer your expertise in a specific area and they offer you compensation in return. If you continue to provide the employer with what they desire and they continue to provide you with the compensation that you desire, you have a satisfactory business relationship.

Many relationships fail on the basis of a lack of effective communication. This often happens based on a series of assumptions that may result from complacency in nurturing the relationship. To continue with the previous example; assume at some point in time your employer is becoming dissatisfied with the work that you are producing and decides not to advance your pay, at the same time you find out that others with the same responsibilities are receiving more compensation than you. What do you think happens? More often than not, you become frustrated and turn in poorer work, the exact opposite of what you need to do to acquire more compensation and the employer becomes more and more dissatisfied and eventually you find yourself unemployed.

What could have been done? The most effective way to address this situation is through effective communication. The employer could have approached you and identified what they were seeking from you and why you did not receive additional compensation. At this point you may have been able to say "Well, I can do that, why didn't you just say so" and off we go with a successful relationship! The alternative would be for you to take the lead and approach your supervisor asking 'I noticed that I didn't get that pay raise, what can I do to make sure that I am successful?". More than likely you will be accommodated with an answer that will allow you to modify your relationship and make it more successful.

I have found that employers like to foster good employee relationships. Hiring and training new employees is very expensive and if they can nurture an existing relationship in order to get the result that is desired, they will often choose that route.

Sometimes change is inevitable, but take it upon yourself to ask questions and find out if you are fulfilling your end of the bargain. Take some time this year to address all of your relationships and make the appropriate changes to foster and nurture those relationships in the new year. Often one little conversation can make a world of difference in building successful relationships in our lives!


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