Of all the things that contribute to success in life and business, one fact can’t be denied: Genuinely successful people achieve their goals because they have built extraordinary relationships.
“Real success is impossible unless you treat other people with kindness, regard, and respect,” says Jeff Haden, a contributor to Inc.
People who build great relationships exhibit certain traits which draw others to them and create a lasting bond of mutual trust and respect.
Here are eight such traits Haden describes:
Eight Traits Needed to Build Extraordinary Relationships
Take the Hit (Deserved or not)
When a problem arises, some people step up and take the hit (whether it’s their fault or not). They know they can handle the kind of criticism that could seriously damage another person’s self-esteem.
Help Others Without Being Asked
“Very few people offer help before they have been asked,” Haden says, “Even though most of the time that is when a little help will make the greatest impact.”
People intent on building great relationships are sensitive to situations where others are struggling. They look for specific ways to help (which gets past the other person’s typical response, “No, thanks, I’m fine.”).
Answer Questions Not Asked
Sometimes the questions people ask aren’t the ones they want answered. Haden offers these scenarios:
- A partner asks for your opinion about the idea he presented at the last board meeting. What he really wants to talk about is his possibly weakened role within the company.
- A colleague asks whether you think he should take a teaching gig at a local college. What he’s really asking is if it’s wise to take his career in a different direction.
People who build extraordinary relationships listen for the larger, unasked questions. Those are the questions they seek to answer.
Know How to Adapt to the Situation
Some people with outsized personalities never know when to “dial it back,” Haden says.
Men and women looking to build great relationships, on the other hand, know “when to be over the top and when to be invisible, and when to take charge and when to follow.” They understand that multifaceted people adapt to different situations, enabling relationships to flourish and grow.
Say and Do Nice Things for Others
How often do you give unexpected praise to someone? Or take a moment to do something nice for another person, not because you have to, but because you want to? This is the stuff that makes great relationships.
Apologize Without Pushing Back
It’s one thing to apologize when you’ve done something wrong. It’s another thing, as Haden notes, to apologize before anyone thinks you should.
People who accept blame, who explain why they’re sorry and who don’t push blame back on others—“those are people everyone wants in their lives, because they instantly turn a mistake into a bump in the road rather than a permanent roadblock,” says Haden.
Give a Lot, Receive Occasionally
In business, each person goes in wanting something. But extraordinary relationships benefit both parties. People who seek to forge such a relationship think first about what they can give to the other party.
Value the Messenger, Not Just the Message
We all pay special attention to the words of someone in authority or a position of power. What about the guy who fixes a leaking faucet?
If you want to build a great relationship, look beyond the source and, as Haden puts it, “consider the information, advice, or idea based solely on its merits.” Know when you hear something of value, regardless of who’s saying it.
“Every relationship, however minor and possibly fleeting, has value,” says Haden. To build extraordinary relationships, recognize and celebrate this fact—whether you’re talking to a fellow business leader or the crossing guard at your daughter’s elementary school.
What do you do to build an extraordinary relationship?