After seeing the title of this concept’s content, you may be thinking, "I already know how to build relationships. I have close friends and people who love me, and I get along with my coworkers just fine. What else do I need to know?"
The fact is that while some jobs are more collaborative than others, virtually every profession requires you to interact with many different types of people. Taking the time to build and nurture your working relationships, which are different from personal relationships, is critical as you further your career. In fact, one survey found that 85% of jobs are filled through networking (Adler, 1).
Someone who has honed their relationship building skill genuinely enjoys being around—and collaborating with—other people. They understand the value of different points of view, they ask others for their thoughts and ideas, and they always give coworkers credit where it’s due. People who build strong relationships are supportive of colleagues. They make time to connect with them, even when they don’t necessarily need to for a specific project. These are the people that everyone wants to work with, and being in-demand is extremely helpful as you advance your career.
You may already be adept at building personal relationships but are unsure or uncomfortable about doing the same at work. Fortunately, a lot of what you do in your relationships with friends or significant others can also be applied to your career.
Imagine you have a coworker named George. He’s smart and hardworking, and he always completes his tasks on time. But George isn’t friendly. He never makes small talk in the office, never smiles nor says hello. He’s quick to pick a fight over a small detail. He openly tells people that he doesn’t like their work and that he could do a better job. He goes to the boss with the smallest complaint, takes credit for others’ ideas, and doesn’t take the time to listen to what others have to say.
Even though George is good at his job, would you want to work with him? Do you think his team members would volunteer to write him glowing recommendations for another job in the future? Probably not.
At Poodle Jumper, we evaluate employees on leadership behaviors, including teamwork and collaboration, so employees like George find it difficult to be promoted.
When it comes to your world of work, being good at what you do is only half the battle. You also must be able to connect to and work effectively with others. This is called relationship building, and it’s an essential skill for professional success.
EXAMPLEThe skill of relationship building goes beyond coworkers and friends, it’s also a valuable skill for working with customers. Establishing customer relationships has been one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced at Poodle Jumper. When we launched our product, we found it wasn’t resonating with our target audience as we expected. We had to take a hard look at the relationship with our customers and revise our communication to build trust. Not many customers were willing to allow strangers to care for their pets without knowing how we screen service providers, manage their reputation through transparent reviews, and resolve disputes. Once we added those details to our communication, we saw a 20% increase in repeat customers.
Source: Adler,L. (February 29, 2016). New Survey Reveals 85% of All Jobs Are Filled via Networking. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler/