“The single most important ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people” – Theodore Roosevelt.
Why is it so important to create and maintain positive relationships?
People are at the center of all leadership efforts. Leaders cannot lead unless they understand the people they are leading. One way to look at leadership is that the function of a leader is to lead and guide people who will follow with the same values. An effective leader thus must be able to build relationships and create communities. We can define leadership as inspiring people and planning for the future with the motivating factors of relationship building and community service.
One of the most important experiences that we can have in our lives is our connection with others. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, happy and healthy life. As naturally social creatures, we crave friendships and positive interactions just as we do food and water.
Although we should try to build and maintain good relationships with everyone we encounter, there are certain relationships that deserve a little more attention. Thus, we should start by identifying our relationship needs among those that we interact with the most, those we can help and those who can help us.
Four profound effects positive relationships have in our lives include: the encouragement of personal growth, support during tough times, encouragement of collaboration and partnership and the overall addition to meaning in our life.
Positive relationships encourage personal growth.
Our loved ones find joy in our own successes. Family and friends often double as our support system, encouragers and personal cheerleaders. It’s not rocket science that family, friends, coworkers and colleagues enjoy seeing us achieve our goals. Most of the time, in fact, those same loved ones are willing to help in anyway they can and will go out of their way to help us achieve our goals and make our dreams come true.
Positive relationships support you during tough times.
We all have times of struggle in our lives, whether it’s financially, relationally or health-related. It is in those times that we so desperately need the support of our loved ones. Thankfully, having a strong support circle will help us through those tough times.
Positive relationships encourage collaborations and partnership.
We can’t be good at everything, so it’s important that we have good working relationships. Accompanied with our good working relationships, we can learn from each other, utilize others’ strengths and ultimately do what we do best. Strong relationships in our professional circle – customers, suppliers and key stakeholders – are all essential to our success. When our relationships are good, life is more enjoyable, people are more likely to support us and we’re able to be more innovative and creative.
Positive relationships add more meaning to our life.
Building and maintaining positive relationships in our life increases our sense of purpose and meaning. When we are able to make a positive impact for someone, we feel like we are making a difference in the world – and we are.
How do we build long-term relationships?
It starts with us; we have to be kind, friendly and approachable. There should be a like interest. Either way, we need to accept others for who they are and celebrate the fact that we are all different. It is crucial we ask relevant questions and have a sincere interest in people and what they say, and always listen more than we talk.
We may even want to make a note of the small things that are important to others, so that we can later come back and surprise them by creating a magic moment. Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, so we must always be open and honest. This will ultimately help to build the bond. A few other characteristics that will help: be positive, respectful, mindful and grateful.
What do you do when a relationship goes bad?
End any negative relationship, and do so as soon as possible. There is nothing worse than engaging in a bad relationship, or one that drains your energy. Notice a distinct difference between the positive and beneficial relationships in your life and the harmful and toxic relationships in your life. If you find that you don’t have many positive relationships in your life, you may want to look at improving your communication skills. Don’t harbor hate or bitterness in relationships; rather, harbor love and acceptance. It will have a significant impact on your life and well being.
What are the benefits to strong, long lasting relationships?
Leaders that recognize the enormous value of creating and deepening relationships with others are by far more successful; reaping the benefits of trust, loyalty and unconditional support. Others will do just about anything for you, without even asking. And a team of like-minded individuals can accomplish just about anything when collaborating and working together.
Tracy Stepp is the director of human possibilities at The Claremont Club. For more information email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.