Becky S. Corbett, MSW, ACSW & Emily Tevault, MBA
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. – John C. Maxwell, Leadership Author and Speaker
Successful relationships are built on connections. Think about the types of people you have personal, professional, and philanthropic affiliations with—friends, family, neighbors, committee and board volunteers, spiritual advisors, professors, colleagues, supervisors, mentors, business partners, customers, and vendors. Below are tips and techniques to help
Build on Trust
Trust is the foundation for all relationships. Focusing on and developing your character allows you to establish trust. You cannot ask or expect people to follow you if they don’t have confidence in you and respect you. Ask yourself, “Would I do business with ME?” People do business with someone they know, like, and trust.
Invest in People
Invest time in building relationships. It doesn’t happen overnight. People need to know you care about them as individuals. Be present in the moment and listen so you get to know them. Understand and learn their strengths, how they work best, and their behavioral preferences. Tools that support awareness include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®), DISC®, and StrengthsFinder. Beyond that, you need to develop your own sensitivity toward whom you work best with in what situation.
Establish the Why
When you are developing a relationship, focus on the why. Ask yourself, “Why do I want this connection?” Identify who you need for what tasks and explain the why to the individual or organization. When forming a team, make sure everyone understands his or her role. Complete the sentence, “The team member was brought in for the purpose of…”
Provide 3600 Communication
Communicating with another demonstrates that you care about the relationship. Provide 3600 communication by keeping the person informed of your feelings and thoughts. Listen and confirm that s/he understands what you have said. Don’t hide behind technology—pick up the telephone, ask to see the individual in person, and read non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and posture.
Take A Positive Stance to Challenges
Relationships will encounter challenges. When difficulties arise, choose to frame things in the positive and avoid focusing on what is wrong. Remind yourself why this relationship is important to you and find common ground.
You build credibility when you deliver to others and do what you say you will do. Be accountable to one another. Take ownership, admit mistakes, and clarify roles, deliverables, deadlines, and next steps. Reflect on what you have learned to continue to grow the relationship.
Take time to express gratitude to your friends, family, and business associates. A hand written thank you note, telephone call, testimonial, or public thank you goes a long way. Sincere and thoughtful appreciation lets people know how much they are valued.
Live, “Good People Connect with Good People”
Becky always says, good people connect with good people. Add value by sharing your network with others. Take the time to introduce friends, family, and business associates who may have common interests. You will be amazed how much the individuals appreciate you expanding their resources and widening human connection.
Taking the time to create connections allows you to build long-term, successful relationships. A connection is more than a one-time transaction. Fostering long-term relationships is a commitment to support one another throughout your collaboration.
“It’s all about relationships.” –Becky S. Corbett, President & CEO
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