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Life Skills for Positive Working Relationships

Life Skills for working relationships

The people we interact with on a regular basis will have a profound influence on us. They not only affect our attitude toward life, but also our very life experience. Let’s be honest here, some people are a source of inspiration and other’s require much more energy to deal with. That’s why it is so important to take time to evaluate ways that we can develop the life skills to cultivate and benefit from mutually beneficial working relationships.

We may think that our working relationships don’t matter very much, but that is simply not true. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that we can just tune out those around us and do our own thing. But the very fact that we feel the need to block their influence shows that the influence actually does exist. Wouldn’t it be better if we could find inspiration through some of those working relationships?

Life skills involve choice and responsibility

Granted, we can’t always choose whose company we are in. In many cases, such as work or school, we have little if any choice in the matter. But when we do have a choice, it’s an opportunity to enrich our lives on many levels. When we purposely choose to interact with, and create working relationships with, those who exhibit certain desirable life skills and personality traits, it can prove to be very inspiring.

There is also some personal responsibility involved here that we want to be aware of. If we want to keep company with positive, encouraging people, then our contribution to the relationship should also be positive and encouraging. Relationships flourish or fail based on our mastery of certain life skills because all relationships are a give and take arrangement. Consequently, if we want to be encouraged by others, we should develop the life skills that make us mutually encouraging to them.

Building positive working relationships

Now you may personally interact with dozens of people on a daily basis, so what is it that draws you toward some more than others? Mutual recognition of the give and take principal is what contributes to building closer relationships. When somebody seems to needy or greedy, we become more guarded. When someone does something nice for us, we feel impelled to make it reciprocal.

The beauty of this arrangement is that we can take the initiative. That’s right, we can assume the role of the giver and see what kind of response is generated. I am not suggesting that we give with the expectation of getting something in return. In fact, I am very much in favor of giving without expectation. But giving opens the door to, in fact it invites, mutual exchange.

This works for all types of relationships

Increasingly, people interact through channels other than face to face encounters. These principles apply to every kind of interaction. For me personally, much of my interaction takes place online. Every day I communicate with people from all over the world. Some of those people are clients and some are colleagues, and I like to think that those relationships are mutually beneficial.

The real beauty of this arrangement is that we can chose whether or not grow our relationships based on shared interests and goals. At the same time, our fields of expertise vary enough that we can also learn for one another’s specialized life skills and contribute to each others growth. These are positive and mutually beneficial relationships. It is a win – win situation that can be mutually encouraging.

The role of social media

We always hear that social media is built on relationships, but is that really true? At first glance, sites like facebook, twitter and google+ may just seem like a lot of disconnected noise. But is that all there is to it? Is it really possible to build solid working relationships that make a real contribution to your life and business through these channels?

The answer is absolutely yes, and the truth of that fact is the motivation behind this post. I have built a number of these mutually beneficial working relationships with colleagues and client alike. More and more, people are using these various forms of communication to introduce themselves and their businesses to the world.

Life skills that contribute to positive working relationships

Here are some of the activities that involve some form of interaction with other people online, along with some of the benefits.

1) Interacting. For example, a meaningful comment on someone else’s site helps keep the conversation going and increases their exposure. Even though I don’t have as much time for this kind of activity as I once did, it is still a excellent way to encourage positive working relationships.

2) Using facebook, twitter or google+. Alerting those in my timeline or circle when something worthwhile is posted by a colleague brings them traffic because it exposes them to a new audience. The same thing happens when they like, tweet, or g+ something of mine. The beauty of this arrangement is that very little effort is required, but there is plenty of value.

3) Reading each other’s articles. Those I choose to interact with are known for creating real value. By reading each other’s articles we learn from one another which adds to our depth of understanding and our overall knowledge and life skills while also  exposing us to different perspectives and even new life skills.

4) Asking and answering questions. If we have a technical question or are searching for a resource, chances are that someone in our working relationship circle has the answer. This has been very helpful to me personally on several occasions.

5) Sharing valuable resources. We can write articles and purposely link to someone else’s worthwhile article or product . This serves our readers by introducing them to another resource they may enjoy. It also fosters a positive exchange with those whose work we appreciate.

Each situation requires slightly different life skills

These are just a few examples that work in my situation and they may not have a direct application in your working environment. Still, there are principles here that can be adapted to almost any work setting.

The main point is that we can build and benefit from building positive working relationships if we develop the right life skills and adapt them to our circumstances. Those you choose to interact with is this way can become a mutual source of knowledge, experience and inspiration.

Can you find a way to apply any of these life skills?
What additional life skills would make this work for you?
The Lines are open!

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12 Comments

  1. Stephen April 10, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan, fantastic article on the value and quite simply the pure joy of positive relationships. I agree completely with all five of your examples. I try to do all of those things and I learned them from people like you. These interactions are incredibly helpful to me both practically and emotionally. My online friends and the interactions in the blogging world mean a lot to me and I can’t imagine being without them at this point.

  2. Mark Lewis April 10, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan, this is a great article. I have surfed the Internet and worked on the Web for many years but it is only recently that I have started blogging and interacting on other blogs. I have already made some great relationships that bring value to my life. Value in the form of encouragement and inspiration.

    I avoided social networks for the longest time. It’s only been this past year that I started leveraging them to find old friends and business. Ultimately, the benefit has been much greater than anticipated and agree that time that I put into these sites is not a waste whatsoever. It feels good to make old and NEW connections.

  3. Dragos Roua April 10, 2009 Reply

    It’s incredible how the whole relationships mechanism has been enhanced by the Internet. I’m here for more than 10 years and I can say that most of my relationships are made through Internet. And yes, I do have a real life, and those relationships transformed in time in real friends or real business partners. I loved the way this post was outlined, it should be an example for everyone who consider enlarging their relationship network.

  4. Rocket Bunny April 10, 2009 Reply

    Hello, this is such an honestly from the heart post. I think many of the people you have mentioned I read their blogs and have respect and admiration for from their insight and wisdom. People are our best assets in life.The internet allows us to meet others that we may not have ever had the opportunity to be influenced by.

    Staying in touch with people who I have worked with over the years has been easy to do. It is a great way of giving to the community. Having a voice and using it to help others.There is a mutual respect with everyone. Gratitude is given more freely I think, then when it is face to face. Great article!

  5. Spencer April 12, 2009 Reply

    I am in awe at this “most excellent” article about the power of people. Some we connect with and some we avoid. Being supportive and choosing to be inspired by instead of torn down by people is a great lesson for me.

  6. Daniel Brenton April 14, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan –

    You’ve given us a very good social media 101 … this would be useful for the questions raised by newbies, and might even be good for the experienced to brush-up a bit.

  7. Nea March 28, 2012 Reply

    Awesome post, Jonathan. I agree that positive relationships are so very important both online and offline. Whether or not I see a person face-to-face isn’t what’s important. We support each other, pull together on projects together, get updates on what’s going on in each others life, share our thoughts on subjects that matter to us. All of this has an impact on my life and I choose the right people to make sure that impact is a positive one. I also do my best to offer the same in return. I want to serve as someone that my friends (offline and online) can trust and depend on in many ways.

    One thing I’ve done is to make sure that my Facebook timeline is a reflection of me. I don’t just have a big sea of people labeled friends. I connect with people whose positive energy, motivation and inspiration are regularly on display; and we bounce around lots of great ideas.

    I feel so honored to have friends like this–friends like YOU–in my corner. It’s my hope that everyone will find ways to make such connections online.

    Thank you for being you!

  8. Anne March 29, 2012 Reply

    Definitely! I used to be wary of online relationships. I used to think they were shallow and would never be real. This was years ago. I’ve now come to the realisation that they do work – and that you can make real friends online.

    I know I have – on my blogs, twitter etc. While we shouldn’t give in order to get, it’s really special when someone you’ve never met reciprocates when you’ve done something nice for them. It just draws you closer and makes you want to do even more.

    Some people online (whose blogs are bigger than mine) have seen it fit to reciprocate good things I’ve done for them online. This just goes to show that not everyone has forgotten where they’ve come from. This is such an encouragement.

  9. Sandra April 2, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan,

    This is a thought-provoking article in some ways! I enjoy your encouragement to extend a hand and give. I feel some of my closest connections exists online. But I know some bloggers sometimes wonder if some of their online connections are based more on the idea of someone wanting something in return. It’s an interesting question!

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