Whether you run your own business or manage a team a work, you won’t get very far if you don’t develop good relationships with your clients or team members.  Relationships can be likened to wine; they mature and get better with age.  Like wine, this can only happen if the right ingredients were put in it in the first place.  Bad wine does not get better with age, only good wine does.  Similarly, good relationships get better with time (this does not mean that what started off as a bad relationship cannot become better but this will happen only if a conscious effort is made to change things).

Building good relationships take effort as well.  Sometimes you won’t feel like you have the time and at other times you won’t want to make the effort, but it pays to do just that.  The clients that will come back again and again are the ones you have taken the time to serve well and to build a good relationship with.  Five minutes taken to send a thank you email could be the catalyst to several years of business.

So what are the ingredients required to build good relationships?   A few come readily to mind like trust, honesty, appreciation, understanding, acceptance and a willingness to overlook faults.   One ingredient that we often overlook however is good communication.  In my own personal experience and from working with people who have had relationship difficulties, sticky situations arise many times because people have either not communicated at all or have communicated in the wrong way.  Good communication is not just about exchanging words or ideas.  It is about being understood and understanding others; accepting and appreciating differences and taking these differences into account in the way we relate to each other.  It is not surprising in the light of this, that misunderstanding is a very common cause of relationship breakdown.

Learning about behaviour can be very helpful in understanding why people act or react in the way that they do.  We can learn how to communicate in the way that best suits the other person and try to bring out the best in each other rather than expecting them think and act like us.  We can also learn to look beyond a person’s verbal communication to what they really mean and this will reduce the number of times we take offense at what people say to us.  There are lots of personality profile tests out there that help you understand yourself and others better.  You will do well to take advantage of them.

Decide this month that you will take some time to look at how well you are communicating with the people in your life.  Determine to find ways of improving your communication (there are books on the subject or you can get some coaching) so that your relationships will grow.  When you put in the right ingredients, with time you will get the desired end results.   I challenge you this month to look for ways of serving your clients, business associates and team members, and other people in your life rather than just thinking of what you can gain from them.  It will take your time and effort, but you’ll find that your hard work will pay off in the end.

To your success,