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Be Authentic When Developing Relationships

JW Way Fundamental #21: Invest in Relationships  “Get to know clients, co-workers, and peers on a personal level. Understand others and what is important to them. Strong relationships are beneficial to all parties.”

We all know that investing in relationships is important. But wisely choosing those relationships worth investing in is equally important.

I recently read an article about investing in relationships. The author describes meeting with two Nobel Prize winners is physics, John C. Mather and David Wineland. When asked about how it felt to receive the Nobel Prize, both scientists acknowledged how ridiculous it was for any one person to receive an award, when the scientists accomplished what they did through the work of large teams. They discuss the myth of the “Lone Genius” like an Edison or Jobs, as just that, a myth. Even the most genius around us cannot reach greatness alone; it takes a good team. It is a team who supports you, who you want to work with, who you want to develop a relationship with, but also people who will tell you the truth, even when you do not want to hear. In the business world, this is not necessarily your best friend or family, but someone who you trust and respect.

So, ask yourself a few simple questions while evaluating which relationships to invest in:

  1. Who do you want to spend time with?
  2. Who will tell you the truth?
  3. Who supports you?
  4. Who has capabilities and talents that complement your own?
  5. Who do you respect?
  6. What are your goals?

Once you have determined which relationships to invest in:

  • Identify shared goals and values,
  • Build mutual respect,
  • Share vulnerabilities,
  • Honor your commitments,
  • Build meaningful networks and connect people for the right reasons,
  • Share experiences,
  • Let go of expectations,
  • Offer something before expecting something,
  • Be present, and
  • Fully listen.

By authentically doing the right things, relationships will naturally develop. Equally important to investing in good relationships is the strength and foresight to recognize those relationships that simply are not working. This frees you for more rewarding and beneficial relationships. Not every relationship we develop will be meaningful and worthwhile. There are any number of reasons why a relationship may not work, but since we all realize how valuable a commodity our time is, we should feel comfortable walking away from those that are not working to focus on those that do. Be authentic, but be intentional with your relationships.

So, I leave you with one last question – What are you doing today to invest in the relationships that are meaningful to you?

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