When all is said and done, relationships are the most important part of life at work and at home
It is critically important for any manager or leader of people to be able to build and maintain relationships with colleagues, with those above them and with those below them in the corporate hierarchy.
Relationships are important because, without them, you’re going to battle to get anything done. That’s because the level of influence you have in anybody’s life is determined by the quality of the relationship you have with them.
Isn’t it frustrating to work with someone with whom you do not enjoy a warm and mutually respectful relationship? No matter what you say or do, they’re really not interested in co-operating with you. In the absence of a good relationship, there’s no influence.
It stands to reason, therefore, that in order to achieve anything significant both at work and at home, we have to be able to maintain vibrant relationships with others.
As we age, our capacity to connect is inclined to deteriorate. It might be that we become, dare I say it, a little lazy about our relationships. We take relationships for granted and simply don’t do the maintenance that relationships require and, because it takes a long time, we don’t see the cracks until they’re almost beyond repair.
We generally try to work at our relationship with our boss because we understand that it’s in our interests to do so, but peers could get the short end of the stick and younger people … well, they just have to suck it up, as far as we’re concerned.
Our relationship with others is influenced by our relationship with ourselves. If you are not comfortable with yourself, if you don’t like who you are, if you don’t like what you are, if you don’t like what you’ve become, you don’t like who others are, what they are and who they’ve become.
If you feel that you are not as successful as you would like to be, you will resent the success of colleagues. It’s said that “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. This means that when someone is a friend to you when you’re in trouble they’re being a very good friend. There is a lot of truth in this saying, but there is also another side to the coin. In many cases, people don’t mind being your friend while you’re going through troubles because they secretly feel better than you. It therefore gives them a sense of superiority to help you in your difficulties.
Watch what happens, however, when you get through your problems, come out on the other side stronger and start doing very well for yourself, or better than them (in their eyes). THAT’S when you see who your real friends are! Success is a very powerful indicator of who really is your friend. If a friend is able to stick with you when you start succeeding and being able to afford things they can’t, that friend is a keeper. They have not been so insecure that they felt threatened by your success.
But apply this principle to yourself. .. How are you coping with your friends’ and colleagues’ success? As we age, we’re inclined to measure our achievements against those of others our own age and those much younger than us. This can affect your relationship with others. If you allow the achievements of others to intimidate you, you are going to continually be on the back foot, with a chip on your shoulder. You will not acknowledge their achievements and you will find some way to do a PhD (Pull him/her Down).
As you embrace and celebrate your own life with its achievements, failures, lessons and limitations, you will be able to warmly applaud the success of others and so connect with them in a genuine and meaningful way, without hidden agendas.
When you show approval and acceptance of others, they will in turn do the same back. It’s a very simple principle. Don’t complain that nobody likes you, that nobody smiles at you, that nobody talks to you. If you want people to like you, show them first that you like them. If you want people to smile at you, smile at them first. If you want people to talk to you, talk to them first.
There’s no reason for our relationships to deteriorate as we age. With a bit of humility, sacrifice and selflessness, we can continue to enjoy deep, meaningful relationships with peers, superiors and younger people that will make our lives richer than we could ever have imagined.