Building relationships is crucial to the success of every professional. In order to progress in your career, you have to have the right relationships. You need to be able to build influence.
But it’s not easy, is it?
You go about your regular workday. You perform your job function. You don’t have time to build relationships.
Not only that, navigating the world of office politics can be quite the headache. You have to know how to make the right allies. You have to know who is in your corner and who isn’t.
Regardless of your position, you need other people if you’re going to get things done. Because of this, you need influence. You need productive relationships with your co-workers.
That’s what this post is about.
As you read through this post, you will learn how to earn influence over the people you work with. You will learn how to cultivate relationships that matter. If you put the following tips into action, you will discover how much easier it can be to form deeper bonds with those that you work with.
Let’s get started…
#1. Be Helpful
Zig Ziglar said:
“You can have anything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
Everyone is self interested. I know that sounds cynical, but it’s true. We are all concerned about our own wants and needs.
Sure, some people are more self-interested than others, but the fact still remains. We are focused on our needs and wants.
That’s why Zig Ziglar made the preceding statement. Ziglar understood that the best way to influence others is to become helpful to them.
The amount of influence you have is directly tied to the level of value you provide. If you want to gain more influence and have better relationships you must become more valuable. You need to have something to offer to those you would like to have relationships with.
Here’s the good news: it’s not as hard as it sounds.
There are simple things you can do to become more valuable to others. Here’s a few examples:
- Introduce the other person to someone who can help them solve a problem.
- Do you have expertise? Give them advice that will help them accomplish a goal.
- Give them a word of encouragement when they need it.
You don’t have to do anything deep or profound. Little things can go a long way. Pay attention to the things others say. When you do this, you can discover needs that you might be able to fill. Whenever you can, you should be the one to fill the need.
#2. Be Genuinely Interested In Others
You’ve probably heard the phrase “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Well, it’s true! If you want to develop stronger relationships, you have to be interested in people.
In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie spends a lot of time on this subject. When having conversations, many of us make the mistake of talking mostly about ourselves. Remember what I said about people being self interested?
If you want to have better relationships, you can’t afford to make this mistake. When you’re engaged in a conversation, you should encourage the other person to talk as much as possible. You don’t want to be the one doing most of the talking.
Because when you encourage the other person to talk and you’re actually listening, it sends the message that you’re interested in the person. You’re not just there to get what you want. This is important because it builds trust. The more trust you build, the better the relationship you will have.
This is pretty easy to do. If you want to encourage the other person to talk more, use these steps:
- Ask an open-ended question.
- When they answer, make a short comment on their response.
- Ask another open-ended question.
Of course, you have to make sure you’re doing this in a way that isn’t awkward. You don’t want to sound like you’re interrogating the other person.
While you’re getting the other person to talk, you need to make sure you’re actively listening. After all, that’s the whole point of asking questions, right? Encouraging people to talk means being attentive to what they are telling you. It shows them that you are engaged with them.
#3. Keep Your Promises
Let’s face it. Nobody likes a person who continually makes promises that they don’t keep. If you tell someone that you are going to do something, make sure you do it. It will show that you are reliable and trustworthy.
Of course, nobody’s perfect, right?
There are going to be times when you’re legitimately not able to fulfill a promise. It happens. You think you’re going to be able to do what you promised, but then circumstances outside your control keep you from doing it.
When this happens, you must apologize quickly and explain yourself. Take responsibility and find another to do what you promised. If you’re the type who usually does what you promise, the other person is far more likely to forgive you.
#4. Make People Feel Important
In his book, Carnegie also highlights the fact that one of our deepest needs as humans is the need to feel important. We all want to know that we matter. We want our efforts to be appreciated.
Here’s the thing: most people don’t know how to make others feel important. It’s not something many people think about. If you’re the one who is able to show the other person that they matter, it will make it easier for you to form a deeper relationship with them.
It’s actually one of the reasons that being genuinely interested in others is a great way to build relationships. When you show interest, it makes the other person feel as if they matter. It’s incredibly powerful.
However, there are other ways to make people feel significant. And the great things is, it’s not hard!
Show Some Gratitude!
The first is gratitude. When someone does something that benefits, you will be able to bolster your relationship with them by expressing heartfelt gratitude. I’m not saying that you need to give a dramatic speech about how grateful you are. But taking the time to let them know how much you appreciate them will go a long way.
Everyone loves a compliment, right? We all like to know that other people recognize our talents and strengths. That’s why sincere compliments are such effective ways to show others that they are important. But you have to make sure that they are sincere compliments.
The reason for this is obvious. People can detect false sincerity. If you aren’t truly sincere about the compliments you’re giving, the other person will know and they will see you as manipulative.
#5 Be Vulnerable
This tip may seem a bit counterintuitive. But it’s important. Appearing to be too “perfect” can be one of the biggest turn offs for others. Nobody wants to be around perfect people.
You know who I’m talking about.
The type that seems like they have no flaws. They are star performers. They have vast amounts of knowledge. They seem to know EVERYTHING!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be a star performer. Having a lot of knowledge is not a negative thing.
However, that’s not the issue.
The issue is that people can’t see that you’re actually human! That’s why it pays to allow yourself to show a little bit of vulnerability. It’s okay to let people see some of your flaws or weaknesses. Of course, I’m not recommending that you talk about all of your failures and mistakes. That would be counterproductive. You don’t want to seem incompetent, right?
I’m just saying that you should show that you’re human. Poke a little fun at yourself. Talk about a time where you weren’t able to get the results you wanted. This will go a long way towards making others feel more comfortable with you.
Summing It All Up
As you already know, relationships are important. Your success is largely dependant on your ability to form and maintain crucial relationships. In order to achieve your career goals, you must have influence.
The tips in this post will help you gain the influence you need to move forward. When you put these tips into action, you will see how powerful they can be. When you know how to create strong relationships with the people you work with, it will become easier to achieve your goals.