In college, many of us were told that building working, lasting relationships is one of the most important things you can do when searching for a job. Career fairs were held for that very reason; you would go make connections, hand out your resume, and then if you were lucky enough, you would snag your dream job (you lucky duck, you). But what happens once you get the job? You want to be successful and build your professional career, and to do so, you need to build strong business relationships.
These relationships can be the difference between little monetary success and a lot of damn money. Real success, the kind that exists on multiple levels, is impossible without building long-lasting relationships. Think of this as a “it’s not what you know but who you know” sort of thing. To build a successful relationship (business or other), you have to put in the work — but trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
Here are eight habits that all successful people follow when building extraordinary business relationships.
1. You take the hit
I don’t mean literally. If you’re working on a project that is group-centric or you work in a customer-service oriented industry and a customer complains about a service, someone needs to step up and take the hit. This person, which hopefully is you, is confident enough to accept criticism or abuse, even if it isn’t their fault. Although this sounds awful to say, few acts are more selfless than taking that undeserved hit. It garners respect and can help cement a relationship.
2. You step up without being asked
People who build extraordinary relationships volunteer to help — without being asked — when they see others struggling. This is the kind of help that will make the most impact. You will not only stand out and be memorable but you will show that you care — something that too many people in today’s world don’t do. Better to have the support of your co-workers, be looked up to, and have a pleasant working atmosphere; it adds to your value as an employee. Building a relationship is the result of caring.
3. You get to the bottom of what is being asked
Has a colleague has ever approached you with a generic question, such as how a presentation went?Sometimes, these types of questions have more meaning. A general question might mean something else entirely; your colleague may really be asking you/wanting to talk about his or her diminished role in the company. Taking things at face value lacks meaning. If you sense something is off with a co-worker, take the time to talk to them about what’s really going on.
4. You know when to let your personality rest
This is something most of us have been guilty of at some point. For those of us who are outgoing and charismatic, our personalities can sometimes get the best of us, and we can express our individuality a little too much. People who build great relationships know when to have fun, when to be serious, and when to take the bull by the horns and lead. Learn how to adapt to different situations.
5. You prove you think about others
People who build great relationships think of other people and act on those thoughts. Giving unexpected praise is a great way to do something nice for someone you know, not because you’re expected to do so but because you can and it makes you feel good. Not only will your relationships improve dramatically, but in doing something nice and praising others, you’ll feel good inside.
6. You realize when you’ve acted in poor judgement
Often, when people do something wrong (I don’t mean specifically you), they are not quick to apologize unless they are called out on their actions and told to do so. Building great relationships means taking responsibility for your actions. People who take the blame, say sorry, and explain why they’re sorry are the kinds of people others want in their lives. Only very strong, confident people are able to admit when they are wrong.
7. You seek to give, not take
Any great relationship is mutually beneficial; however, in business it means connecting with people who can be potential mentors, share information, and help you make connections. People who build great relationships think first about what they themselves can bring to the relationship and see giving as a means of establishing a real relationship with a lasting connection. In time, you will make real connections, people will want to help you, and you may just end up making true friends along the way.
8. You value people
This is also a fantastic life lesson. Just because someone is not famous or does not hold a position of power, does not mean that their message has less value or holds less helpful truth. Do not think of the “little people” as such, think of people equally and take good advice, regardless of where it comes from. People who build great relationships appreciate all people, regardless of their perceived status in life.
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