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 them out those around us and do our own thing. But the very fact that we recognize 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. We can benefit immensely by purposely choosing to interact with, and create working relationships with those whose qualities or skills provide us with some personal inspiration.
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 skills to be 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.
Activities 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.
Do you see a way to apply this in your professional environment?
What additional life skills would you need to make this work for you?
The Lines are open!