Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Power Of Personal Relationships

There is no space in today’s work place for individual contributors who can deliver anything of value, without engaging with anyone else. Everything is interconnected and matrixed in a workplace and the key to personal effectiveness at work, therefore starts with building great connections and having harmonious relationships.

When I have great relationships going, I am like a superman. I can get any sort of work done.

Building connections and relationships is a soft skill and that must be nurtured and developed .

Early in my career, when I was selling computers in the mid 90’s, I had the good fortune of experiencing something amazing. I was travelling by train to get to meet a prospective client to pitch for a large institutional order. While on the train, my neighbor was a avuncular gentleman who was keeping to himself. I made eye contact and started chatting with him. We had a good time discussing the Big 3 of India- politics, movies and cricket without really introducing ourselves. Good bye’s were exchanged at the Train station and we both went our respective ways. I got to a hotel, freshened up and went to the prospective client location and whom do I meet ? The same gentleman and he was the decision maker. Thanks to the conversation we had earlier, I was no longer a stranger to him. The ice had broken- there was a basic level of trust that was already created, which was an advantage for me. I still had to do a good job selling , which I did, but what tilted the deal in my favor was the relationship that was already established.

This experience was an important lesson that has stayed with me. We can never know where value is hidden. Be comfortable and open to having conversations and building relationships.

The bigger your network of  strong relationships, the bigger is your arc of personal influence and effectiveness.

My kids make fun of me for this. They feel I am too open and welcoming of strangers, willing to get personal in order to find common ground and make that connection. They think that that I am driven by some motive of extracting value, and we keep having the occasional  argument. People open up to one another only when there is trust and confidence that the other person will not take advantage of the trust that is reposed.

There are 2 types of relationships – Transactional and Personal.

Transactional relationships are those, where there is a give and take. I don’t care for the person . I have no empathy. I just deal with the person for the work to be done and the exchange of value . The problem with such a relationship is that it has a very low shelf life. It is built on the edifice of mutual expectation. Unfortunately , where there is expectation, there will be judgement, which will drive a wedge, preventing any trusting relationship.

Personal relationships on the other hand are built on trust, where both sides know that the other person will never do harm and betray the trust. Both sides show interest in the affairs of the other . There is empathy and a willingness to help without expecting anything in return. There is no ulterior motive save the well being of the other person.

Connectedness is one of the core human needs and Transactional relationships don’t help.  This is the reason why some many of the corporate warriors are stressed, because they are working in environments that are very transactional and extremely low on mutual trust. All of us crave the comfort of personal relationships even at work. When we are in a trusting work environment, we are excited to get to work.

 When I was a child, making friends was a piece of cake. Unfortunately, as an adult, I became guarded and reticent.

  • “I don’t have anything of value to discuss with the person. So why should I call him and do small talk”
  • “She has hidden agenda’s. Whatever I say will fall on deaf ears, I don’t want to waste my time.”
  • “He want’s something from me so he is all nice and honey. Otherwise he ignores me. I am not comfortable with such type of relationships”
  • “He has been avoiding having conversations with me. He is hiding something and he feels guilty. So he is going silent”

When we are in a Transactional relationship we always think the the problem is on the other side. Unfortunately, that is not always true. Any interaction between 2 people is like a mirror. Both sides mimic each other. If I take the leap of faith to be open and trusting, the other person will reciprocate.

That’s my trick for building my relationships. I don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. I make myself vulnerable and open up to the other side first. Everything becomes easy from there. When I look into the mirror with positive intent, what will I see- someone who is positive and someone I can trust to get into a personal relationship !!

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