Stephen R. Covey, the best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, emphasized the value and importance of personal development skills as tantamount to one’s success in business and life. The rise and fall of our career and business is often rooted in our ability to network, build, sustain and nurture professional relationships, both within and outside the workplace, in an authentic manner. Consequently, it is imperative we seize the opportunity to develop and enhance our relationship skills any chance we get.
The most important relationship we have is the one we have with our self. Understanding yourself is the foundation upon which all other interactions, both professionally and personally stem. Reflect on the past year and make an honest assessment of how you relate to others in the work place. Make a conscious effort to work on your personal flaws, while continuing to develop your interpersonal strengths. Many of us need to improve our communication skills — where our ability to effectively listen is often inadequate. Additionally, we need to learn to understand our emotions better so we can control them, instead of our emotions controlling us.
The more confident and secure we are with ourselves, the less we will need to lash out at others, especially when criticized and/or stressed with looming deadlines. Rather than being defensive when criticized, try to pause and reflect upon the elements of truth found within the criticism, keeping our anger in check.
Reach out to your colleagues to nurture and solidify the relationships you have already established with them. During the holiday season, thank your clients and anyone else within or outside your organization with whom you have worked with throughout the past year. Let them know how much you appreciate their help and efforts in achieving your organization’s common goal. Do not underestimate the importance of how far a sincere “thank-you” goes in the work place.
Regardless of one’s position within an organization, everyone loves to be acknowledged and appreciated. While reaching out to your colleagues, make sure you let them know you will be more than willing to help them out in any way possible in the coming year.
A sincere attempt to mend any friction you may have created or been a part of this past year could potentially go a long way in creating a friendlier, less contentious relationship and work environment in the upcoming year. If you have had difficult moments with co-workers in the past year, now is a great time to reach across the aisle (as they say) and extend a hand.
Make amends and try to re-assure them that any work differences, whether it was in developing a strategic business plan, marketing initiative, setting goals, etc., was in fact a business difference and not a personal matter. Clearly state your intention and desire to work together in a more harmonious and aligned way in the upcoming year.
Success is not achieved within a vacuum. We must be able to build healthy relationships with others to achieve any success in business and life. Commit to increasing your ability to build these relationships in the upcoming year!
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