Strengthening Relationships

What if the most common workplace relationship issues could be cleared up by taking the following proactive step: treat others the way THEY want to be treated?

In my program How to Get Along with Difficult People I often hear participants express astonishment at how others behave or communicate. And what always makes me laugh (on the inside) is the certain knowledge that someone they work with is equally astonished by their style.

We are all different. We each have filters through which we process the behavior and words of others. To improve our relationships, either at work or in our personal lives, it is necessary for us to treat others they way they want to be treated, not the way we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

For example, I can be very direct. Over the years I’ve had to learn to identify those I can be direct with without causing ruffled feathers and those I cannot.  I’m also a hugger. Same thing. Although it surprises me, I know there are people who just don’t care to be hugged –at least by me. (Smile.)

A quick and effective way to find out how to interact with team members, your boss or your family is to observe how they do it. If you have someone in your life, for example, who always apologizes for interrupting, it’s a good guess that, when it’s time for you to interact with him/her, apologizing for it would go a long way toward creating rapport.

Maybe there’s someone who routinely approaches you and announces how long the interaction is going to take. He might say, “Do you have 10 minutes to go over this with me?” Clearly he values time so letting him know how long an interaction is going to take will help establish rapport. 

There are people who begin every interaction by asking about your family or your lunch or a TV show you like. These are people who want some personal connection before jumping to the point. Even if it drives you crazy to do it, when you ask about something in their lives, you will establish rapport.

Successful salespeople do this as a matter of course. Many make notes in their clients’ files outlining the best approach. They will tell you that, in the end, it saves a lot of time. Once rapport is established, the rest of the interaction goes much more quickly.

Change Your Focus; Change Your Life!

To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation about how you can make your work communication more effective, call 480-560-9452 or email

Click here for a PRINTABLE PDF