Four Reasons to Make Your Relationships at Work a Priority

The point of building any kind of relationship in life is to connect with people. Sometimes that’s built around a personal connection, like family, a neighbor or someone who becomes a valued friend. In the work-a-day world, it’s often the same situation but there’s also, often, a business motivation. However these relationships are based, our lives are enriched and our experience in life is often better when we allow ourselves a chance to create meaningful relationships.

Recently, I’ve been troubled with a realization that my busy schedule and the demands on my time have closed me off from actively cultivating and nurturing the relationships I value. To be clear, my definition of a valued relationship is one where I care about the well-being of another person. A relationship where we are connected with one another at some level and share a common understanding of each other.

Initially, I thought that the problem could be described as a matter of “balance”. Contributing equal energy and time to both. The trouble is, balancing work demands and creating and nurturing relationships isn’t so easy to do. Since learning from others is a great way to learn (as opposed to just learning from your own mistakes) I set about to find examples of people that seem to balance work and relationships well.

I quickly realized that a lot of us suffer from this same issue. And, based upon a lot of factors, balancing work demands and relationships can look different in different situations. Ultimately, there are four factors that seem to apply to most situations where people are mastering work demands and their relationships.

  1. The people that put relationships first, over the demands of work, often did better and seemed much happier and fulfilled. This means, always starting with the relationship, making this the priority in the way you approach everything in life, especially your work.
  2. Recognizing that from the many dimensions of a relationship there are so many possibilities and opportunities which open doors for work related topics. This doesn’t mean that our relationships should be cultivate for work purposes, but instead, our relationships, by their very nature, serve as fuel (read as motivation, knowledge, confidence) to help us at work.
  3. When we engage and participate in the communities around us by actively investing in relationships, especially where work is concerned. There are many more resources, ideas and sources of motivation to be enjoyed which make us much more effective in our work.
  4. Our effectiveness as leaders and our ability to influence others is directly aligned with the relationships we have. Relationships that are all about work do produce results but, they pale in comparison to relationships that are based on the well-being and, dare I say love, of another person.

One of my favorite people and best example of how to make relationships the focal point of their lives, was often considered way too soft and “woo-woo” in the tough, all-business industry that we worked in together. Over the years, he was very successful in his life, always keeping his relationships the priority in his business dealings. Now in retirement, he carries on these wonderful relationships that will last a lifetime. Recently, I attended a conference where he was an active part of the community. It came as no surprise that when I met many of our mutual friends they all asked fondly about him and asked me to pass along their best wishes. It would have been easy to forget about their sentiments in favor of my growing email and to-do list, but, it struck me that these sentiments were a great indication of a life well lived. All based on the importance of relationships and the value they add to our lives.