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Better Work Relationships

Better Work Relationships

Better Work Relationships

Building better relationships with others is important, because both your professional life and your personal life, depend on how well you get on with others.

Developing your ability to create and maintain excellent relationships will help you enjoy more success in every aspect of your life.

So, the question we need to answer is: "How can we create and sustain better relationships with others?"

The answer is simple: look at this diagram.

Communication - Clear Communication : Better Work Relationships

Although there are many kinds of relationships we have with others; business relationships, work relationships, loving relationships, family relationships, etc, they all can be explained by a single underlying truth.

Relationships exist because there is a perceived Common ground of mutual self-interest between the people in the relationship. And it is that Common ground of mutual self-interest that is the basis of the relationship.

Think about it.

  • In a business relationship, the common ground is the trading of some service between the seller and the buyer.
  • In a work relationship, the common ground is the cooperative effort to achieve the organisation's goal.
  • In a loving adult relationship, the common ground is the mutual fulfilling of each other's emotional needs.
  • In a family relationship, there is so much common mutual interest that we could talk about it all day. If your family life is good, then everyone wins.

The key concept is this: In order to have good relationships you need to find and develop the Common Ground of Mutual Self-interest that exists between you.

And to do that, you need to know two things:

  • What you want from the relationship.
  • What the other person (people) wants from the relationship.

Most people instinctively know what they want from a relationship and they focus their attention on trying to get it.

But what many people DON'T focus on is; what the OTHER person wants from the relationship.

Because they don't focus on finding out what the other person wants, they also don't focus on HOW to give it to them.

Most people are trying too hard to TAKE what they want from a relationship, without thinking much about giving what the other person wants.

So there are three basic ways to fail in a relationship:

  1. One person does all the taking, and does not give enough to the other (one person is overly selfish).
  2. Both people try to take too much and both try to give as little as possible in return (both are overly selfish).
  3. Person A gives too much to person B, but fails to ask for anything in return. Some people are overly altruistic; meaning some people give and give and give again, without ever asking for anything in return. These people sacrifice their own self-interests to the other person and therefore the relationship is lopsided. One is doing all the giving.

In order for a relationship to last, then BOTH parties must be gaining. Both are giving and both are taking. There is what I call, 'A mutual exchange of value' taking place between the people in the relationship.

All successful relationships boil down to this: a mutual exchange of values based upon a common interest.

In a successful relationship, everyone wins. Nobody is losing out to the other. Both are better off for being in the relationship.

The moment that one person FEELS he or she is worse off for being in the relationship, than they would have been if they were NOT in the relationship, then that relationship is in jeopardy.

The moment one person feels they are NOT getting out from a relationship what they are putting in, then the relationship is inequitable. When one person feels things are unjust, they start to look for ways to get out.

If you want better relationships with others, then do this:

  • Decide what you want from the relationship and communicate it to the other person.
  • As a matter of urgency, find out what the other person wants from you in this relationship.
  • Focus your efforts on making sure you understand the needs of the other person and make serving the other person's needs your priority.
  • DON'T focus too much energy on trying to take out from the relationship, more than you are putting in.
  • On the other hand, ensure that the other person is giving you want you want too. This is a mutual exchange of values: There MUST be two-way traffic.

You give to them, they give to you. You give to them, they give to you.

I sometimes hesitate to use the next phrase, but it is true: All successful relationships are trading relationships.

There is a fair trade between both parties: where both parties are giving and receiving in more or less equal measure.

So, make sure you are giving and receiving in fair measure. That way your relationships will last forever.

"Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do". Henry Ford

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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  • What are the Factors of Effective Communication?
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