Relationships: The best investment you’ll make
The great American poet Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel”.
It’s not the name on your business card, your bright new suit or even a big shiny office that leaves the biggest impression on someone. It’s how you make them feel. And leaving someone feeling valued, respected, and liked is the foundation of a great relationship.
Relationships are everywhere. In the workplace alone, you have relationships with your colleagues, managers, clients, and business partners; and your success in the office relies heavily on the quality of these dynamics.
But, in business, we often approach relationships transactionally when, really, we should be treating them as investments. What does this mean? Let’s illustrate it using an example.
Imagine that you’re on holiday in Hawaii. After a great day in the sun, you walk into a restaurant by the beach for a nice, evening meal and the waiter comes to take your order. You ask for the surf and turf, he jots it down, and suggests a bottle of the house red. When you tell him you don’t drink, his face sours, and you receive terrible service for the rest of the evening.
You can bet that waiter’s not getting a tip at the end of your meal. Instead, you leave a bitter complaint with the manager before heading back to your hotel.
The waiter was so focused on selling you that bottle of wine that he failed to look at the bigger picture. Because of his transactional mindset, he lost out on his tip and even upset his supervisor. This example shows us how, in the world of business, we’re often stuck thinking about relationships in terms of what the other person can do for us.
But what if, instead of thinking about relationships as tit-for-tat transactions, we approached them as investments?
Any relationship we enter – whether personal or professional – is a partnership. Many of us have had great managers, but how many of us have put our own part into building those relationships? Throughout my own working life, I’ve seen these relationships grow, and managers become mentors, job references, and even friends.
As one comedian put it, “Do the mahi, get the treats”. It takes time to build a good working relationship. But, just like any other great investment, the effort you put in is well worth its rewards.
Angie Hughes is a Scholarships Intake Manager for Skills Consulting Group. Angie is passionate about supporting Pasifika learners, lifting participation and achievement outcomes, and has a strong background in vocational education working with learners and assessors. She has exceptional relationship management skills and is well-versed in working with multiple stakeholders to ensure client satisfaction.