This week, I'm writing my column on a beach in Bali. I am here celebrating my wife, Susanna's, milestone birthday. She just turned 50!
I am happily breaking the cardinal rule of never divulging a lady’s age, because it is not an issue for us.
Aside from scoring a few "brownie" points with the wife for publically announcing her birthday, I am primarily writing about this because of its relevance to work-life.
I have written in the past about how travel helps you with your career. This time, my focus is on building relationships.
This trip with my wife was my birthday treat for her. She knew that we were heading to Bali. But she didn't have all the details. I spent time researching places to stay that would resonate with her. I identified things to do that I knew she would enjoy. And, of course, I have tried as much as possible to make the focus of this trip all about her.
It goes without saying that it is very important for your marriage or life-partnership to do things that are thoughtful for your spouse or partner. It shows you care, and that they are valuable to you.
But why is this important for work?
It is very relevant for work, because how you interact with your loved ones teaches you incredible lessons on the value of relationship building in life.
I keep banging on about cultivating quality relationships at work, all the time. It's a recurring theme in my work. I think if we all concentrate our energies on creating strong, and meaningful relationships with each other at the workplace, we will grow exponentially.
I remind all the people I coach that building solid relationships with their team, their colleagues, their stakeholders, and their customers, is arguably the most important task they have in any leadership role.
Every break or opportunity I have had for work, and in my businesses has come because someone recognised what I offered, and valued my services. But more importantly, it happened because they have connected with me at a personal level.
I cannot emphasize how invaluable a resource your relationship building ability is. Especially for your continued growth, and professional progress. When I meet someone who moans about not getting support or not being “lucky” to have been given the right breaks in their career, I almost always discover that they were lackadaisical about creating proper relationships with others.
Remember that forming relationships is not about behaving in a grossly obsequious way. Relationships are only forged when you are thoughtful, care about the other person, and seek to add value to them.
Ask yourself, who are you willing to help?
For me, the answer is easy. I am always happy to help people who I have a relationship with, and people that I like. I suspect it is the same for you.
Therefore, work at learning how to develop relationships. You cannot fake it. It has to be in your nature.
I have realized that my ability to form relationships is founded on my attitude, and state of mind. Being skilled at doing it comes only when you buy-in to it, as a way of life.
If not, at best you will seem shallow, and at worst, you will sound like a snivelling person trying to ingratiate yourself to others.
I have found that the best lessons I have learnt about creating strong relationships have come from my attempts at being a thoughtful, caring, and connected husband.
If you unable to show that you care for your wife, husband, children, parents, or other loved ones, perhaps you might find it hard to do the same for your co-workers, bosses, and stakeholders.
Here are three things that have worked for me in both building a strong relationship with my wife as well as at work, and my businesses.
The first is trust. This is the foundation of every good relationship, be it with your spouse, or at work.
When you trust your team and colleagues, you will create a powerful bond that helps you work, and communicate more effectively. If you learn to trust the people you work with, you will be more open and honest in your dealings with them. You will also not waste time, and energy "watching your back."
Next, develop mutual respect. I respect my wife, her work, and value her input and ideas. Similarly, I know that she values mine. This helps us develop solutions based on our collective insights, and creativity.
This principle applies at work, too.
And finally, I know that mindfulness is vital for relationship building. This means you will have to take responsibility for your words, and actions. Do not let your own negative emotions impact the people around you.
This attitude will help you with your relationships in your private life, and at work.
When you start working on your relationships at home properly, you will find that forging relationships at work will come with ease. And, cultivating relationships will help you grow in your career.
Shankar R. Santhiram is a managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”