Strong relationships are critical to any leader's success, but these missteps can keep you from building them.
Franchise for your company
Arrange a FREE one-on-one session with one of our franchise consultants today and we will help you set up your franchise organization.
Read for 4 minutes
The opinions of entrepreneurs' contributors are their own.
Whatever type of business you have, people – be it customers, employees, partners, mentors, etc. – are at the heart of your business. The relationships you have with them determine how productive you can be and how much growth you can achieve. Executives are starting to understand this, but they are still fumbling around when it comes to building strong connections. Again and again they stumble upon the same big mistakes …
Related: How can you maintain good relationships with your co-workers?
1. Treat the relationship as a convenience
You have probably already experienced it: someone who you haven't spoken to in a while suddenly gets in touch with you. They make a little small talk about your family or hobbies so they don't look too gross, but then they hit you with a request. At the end of the conversation, it feels like they don't care. They got in, got what they wanted, and got out.
When you do this to someone, you are not really focusing on the relationship with the other person. They focus on the transaction they can have with you.
To be successful, you can't treat people like that. Rather, you should treat them as if they had value in their own right without doing you a favor. Showing some interest in them with no conditions or expectations will build trust and make them feel like they can help when you really need them.
2. Let fear put you in a drawer
Doing new things or interacting with other people can be scary. You never know exactly what the result will be. There is always a chance that you will fail or your mistakes will be exposed. It can feel so good to play it safe and stay in your familiar little bubble.
However, if fear paralyzes you, what happens? Sure, maybe you can save yourself some embarrassment. But you will never find new opportunities. You will not have the opportunity to allow others to expand your skills or perspectives. So what you can adopt and how you think will never change. You won't find people to add to your support network, so what you endure or the resources you have won't improve.
Fearless leadership truly means dealing with uncertainty and still taking some risk. This applies to building relationships as well as tasks like allocating your budget or deciding what training to take. When you find that your fears are trying to pigeonhole you, refuse to accept them.
Similar: Are Untrained Managers Ruining Your Business?
3. Don't take the time to cultivate the relationship
We've all had to make some pretty tough decisions about what to prioritize, especially over the last year. We had to decide whether we should invest a few more minutes, for example checking Joe from the accounting department. Who were we interested in during this time? Was it just the people who were easiest to contact? Was it the people who could give us something?
Now it's normal for some relationships to grow while others fizzle out. People and their goals can change, and what you need and can give will not stay the same all your life. But real relationships require ongoing investment. You can't just drop them when contacting is harder, doesn't have a clear ROI, or is more challenging out of you. They are intended for the long haul.
Don't be so busy that you don't see people for who they are. Make a conscious decision to identify your most important relationships. Find out what each of them needs to be successful and what you need to do to ensure their success. Take the time during your work week to cultivate these relationships so that the connections become truly timeless.
Related: How Networking and Relationships Drive Entrepreneurs to Success
Even if you are tremendously talented or knowledgeable, relationships are what really drives you. If you want to succeed as a leader, be aware of these common mistakes made when building and maintaining relationships. Do whatever you can to go beyond convenience, get out of your comfort zone, and invest some time in others. With this effort, your framework for success will be incredibly solid.