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Do you have someone in your business life that you find challenging to deal with? Is your working life being hampered by difficult relationships? It may be a business partner, director, manager or employee you are having problems with or a customer or supplier. Whoever it is the chances are that this relationship is distracting you from doing your job and achieving your objectives. You are probably spending time worrying about it, thinking about what to do, discussing it with others and dealing with the consequences. By improving your relationships with others you will have more chance of being successful in your role and in helping to make your company more successful. So what can you do to improve your business relationships:
Accept that everyone is different. Often problems arise in relationships because the other person is different to you but you expect the person to behave in accordance with your expectations. Everyone is different and a part of building good relationships is accepting other people as they are.
Be positive and interested. You will be surprised at how much quicker you will get to a resolution if you approach the relationship issue from a positive standpoint and are interested in the other person.
You cannot change other people but you can change your reaction to them. Relationship problems are often exaggerated because you think the other person should change to be like you. Remember you cannot change the other person, but you can change your reaction to them.
Don't make assumptions or be judgemental. You can easily make assumptions about the other person's position and what they think and feel. It is also easy to be judgemental about others. However to improve a relationship it is better not to make assumptions or be judgemental.
Put yourself in the other person's shoes and consider from their perspective. To try and understand the relationship better, consider it from the other person's perspective. This means parking your own views and opinions and looking at it as if you were them. It is amazing how different a relationship can look from this angle.
Understand what you want to achieve. To improve a relationship it is key to understand what you want to achieve from the relationship, what you feel needs to change and how this supports the company's goals and objectives.
Gather the facts and information you need. Having conversations based on incorrect information and hearsay will not take a relationship forward. It is much better to gather the facts and information about the situation and have a conversation based on these.
Arrange to discuss the relationship. The relationship will only improve if you communicate with the other person about it. Arrange a meeting with the aim of discussing the relationship. Just by saying to the other person that you realise that you haven't been getting on and you want to work together to improve the relationship will start to move things forward.
Aim to work together for the good of the company. To try and take the emotion out of the conversations it is a good idea to agree to work together to achieve the company objectives.
Understand what the other person wants to achieve. Start the meeting by understanding the other person's perspective and what they want to achieve.
Listen to the other person and give them time to explain their position. Listening can be very difficult if you have a poor relationship with the other person because you will want to put your points across first. However listening, giving them time to talk and making sure you understand them will give you the best chance of success.
Find a solution that benefits both of you. If you can find a solution that works for both of you, the relationship will improve for the long term. This will not necessarily be easy but spending time thrashing out all the issues and getting to a win win solution will enable you to have a much better relationship going forward.
Keep working on the relationship. You may need more than one meeting to make a relationship better and you will need ongoing regular communication to sustain the relationship over the longer term.
Hopefully the above has given you some ideas to try if you have business relationships that you are looking to improve. Good luck in moving forward with them.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: April 2012
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please call Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk
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