What’s the one thing your company can do to strengthen its relationships?
Business relationships are hard, right? There’s so much background noise and posturing and it makes being our true selves nearly impossible.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Part networking proverb, part running joke of the aimless deadbeat, this is a maxim that at its core highlights the importance of professional relationships.
Too often we leave our business relationships intertwined with outcomes and results that may or may not ever come to fruition. We put unnecessary pressure on these relationships with artificial timelines that really serve no one. Our business relationships are too important to be muddied by all of this.
Authenticity helps us remove these preoccupations with outcomes and timelines from our business relationships and just focus on the people, on ourselves. What’s more, building authentic business relationships is 100 percent within your control.
How? Relationships are collaborative, they require a give and take, right? Not really. Not if you’re rooting the relationship in authenticity. Start by being your authentic self. Show your partner who you truly are and it will create space in the relationship that allows them to reveal their true self.
That should be the foundation of an authentic relationship, but we can build upon that. I want to share with you the five tenets of building better, lasting, authentic business relationships.
If you want to divorce your relationships from the influence of outcomes, try giving first; try asking for nothing. What do you think would be a more effective way of establishing a lasting authentic relationship, approaching an industry influencer you’d like to know to advance your career and asking them to help you, or taking some time to get to know that person, and offer ways in which your unique talents can help them? Give first.
Care and Be Interested
If you aren’t interested in a person, don’t seek out a relationship with them. You can’t fake interest, at least not for a sustained period of time, not to mention that doing so is inauthentic and will inevitably poison the relationship. Our micro-facial expressions will betray us, and we’ll give off a negative energy that communicates our disinterest even when we aren’t meaning to. Remember, we’re trying to create lasting professional relationships, not temporary ones.
Show Gratitude and Appreciation
This should be a natural byproduct of true care and interest. Showing gratitude and appreciation is a genuine response when coming from that place, we just have to remember to do it. When we put out gratitude and appreciation into our relationships, it comes back to us. The results in our lives are a mirror of what we’re putting out. So, why not put out some gratitude and appreciation?
This seems like a tricky one at first glance, doesn’t it? Isn’t this all supposed to be in our control? Sure, I can respect them, but they in turn have to respect me. Yes, but no. When I talk about mutual respect, I mean you have to respect the other party, and you have to respect yourself. If you can’t respect the other person while also maintaining respect for yourself, you need to exit that relationship. It won’t be productive.
This is what all the other tenets are built upon. Following the other tenets means you trust you’ll eventually be taken care of in the relationship. The biggest lesson you can learn is that your benefits won’t be linear. First, be of service and trust that it will come back to you. It’s about being untethered to outcomes. If you want immediate benefits for being authentic and giving what you can to a relationship, you aren’t trusting. When you give trust, people know it, and it will create transformative opportunities for you.
If you can bring these five things to your business relationships, you’ll be astonished at how much your life changes. Remain patient and know that being authentic will pay off. For a deeper look, check out my video, “Building Authentic Business Relationships.”