When it comes to doing anything in life, we always need others for support. We cannot always know or be experts at everything, so we rely on collaboration and teamwork to push boundaries and achieve greater things together. But before we can even begin to do this, we need to make connections and network.
Networking and building connections is an important part of our lives for obvious reasons. As a business owner, it helps you build your customer base, and as someone who is part of the organisation or company, it helps you build better teamwork.
Building genuine connections with your team members is beneficial in many other ways. You become part of a bigger community, and feel more engaged and eager to work with one another because you’ve established that professional relationship. It also helps with morale and motivation as you feel you’re being supported rather than being obligated to work with others.
In other ways, building connections helps with relationships outside the organisation, such as those with your customers. It builds trust and therefore loyalty. Remember, your customers are always free to take their business elsewhere, but they stick with you because of these genuine connections.
The problem, however, begins when we connect with people merely for our own benefit. The core problem doesn’t lie in knowing what you want; rather, it lies in refusing to return the favour for the other person. It happens all the time, and the reality is that we are all looking out for ourselves. But, if we do not try to balance this out, we can be sure that the other person won’t keep up their end of the relationship.
When it comes to genuine connections, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need anything from the other person. The moment the relationship no longer feels genuine is when you no longer see the other person as someone who has their own needs too. To avoid such disasters, here are some things to consider when aiming to build genuine relationships with others.
First, consider these four elements when connecting with other people: openness, authenticity, trust and respect. There might be more elements that are important to you, but these four are the basis of making any connections genuine.
When first connecting with a new person, it is understandable that you need to be open toward them. Understand that others will be quick to spot inauthenticity, so make sure that you are genuinely authentic when reaching out to them. At a certain stage, you need to maintain that trust as it is important in any relationship. Finally, when respect is given, it will also be received.
Second, find that balance between giving and taking. Let’s be real: you cannot always take or always give, and here are two reasons why. One, the more you give, the more you expect from the other person without considering their own needs and expectations. Second, whether it’s you, me or another person in your team, people don’t like to be taken advantage of, or even suffocated with things we didn’t ask for.
This brings us to the third point — establish expectations. Other than balancing the expectations of how much you give and take, establish other things such as time, effort and capabilities. We all have different expectations of how we connect with people and build relationships with them. This is even more critical in teams whose members see each other on a daily basis.
Finally, keep communications open. Whether it’s listening to the other person or sharing your thoughts and ideas, giving each other a safe space to do this is an important part of building genuine connections. It not only shows that you’re genuine about the connection, it also shows that you’re thinking about the long term.
Understand that building real and genuine connections takes time and effort, but when you establish a level of trust, you’ll have a great ally for life. At the end of the day, we all build these connections because other people are useful in helping us achieve our goals. But if we don’t do it genuinely, it won’t sustain us for the long term. In the end, lack of genuine connections will hinder you from successfully achieving your goals and those of your organization.
We don’t live in a perfect world where everyone wants to build genuine connections with their team, fellow colleagues, or even friends and family members. But when thinking about long-term results, genuine is the way to go.
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com/