11 Ways To Develop Awesome, Long-Term Relationships Where You Work.

Leaving your house to go to work daily can be stressful enough.

Each morning, you have to leave your children, your spouse, your pets, fight traffic, wait in line for your coffee, find a parking space, and navigate your way to your office -- all to be surrounded by people that you may or may not actually like for most of your waking day.

So whether you are the owner, the manager, the staff, or the intern where you work -- developing awesome, long-term relationships sure makes accomplishing the impossible so much more enjoyable.

And like anything else in life, you're going to get out of it what you put in. So here are a few skills and tactics you need to be working on:

1. Let People Know You’ve Got Their Back

Things are going to go wrong. Mistakes are going to be made.

How do you handle it? Do you freak out and throw around threats of termination or do you tell people “These things happen, let’s pay more attention next time”?

The way you deal with office struggles is a key factor in how positive of an environment you are fostering.

Make sure your team knows that you’ve got their back no matter what.

Knowing you are on their side  -- no matter what -- will produce massive results for your business and eliminate the mistakes you find so maddening.

And you'll find your people doing less sweeping under the rug and finger pointing when something does go wrong. 

2. Make Respect Your Currency

In 2014, Harvard Business did a study which showed that respect in the workplace was more important than financial compensation.

If your people don’t feel valued and respected at work or in business, it doesn’t matter what the financial gains are or how well you pay them.

You have to let people know they are important to your business and they are important in the workplace.

When people feel valued, they work harder to contribute more value. And when they don’t feel respected, they are sloppy and thoughtless. 

3. Leverage Extra-Curricular Activities Smartly

Lots of companies have outside activities for their employees.

Some include softball or trivia teams. Others include a good old fashioned happy hour meeting. These are the perfect places to get to know your team in a more personal setting.

You get to see your team's true colors outside of the office. And the pressure to “perform” is lowered drastically.

It’s a great opportunity to talk one on one about ideas and projects that would benefit the company.

Sometimes, getting to know someone outside of work is a great way to figure out where they could be better utilized in the company. 

4. Be Unexpectedly Delightful

Everybody loves gifts. Especially unexpected gifts. It’s a nice way to say, “Hey, I'm thinking of you.”

And when you take the time to find out about your team's likes and habits, you can personalize the gift which then says, “I’m thinking about you. I listen, and you’re special.”

Who doesn’t want to feel special?

Plus it will automatically put a reminder in your team's mind as thoughtful, caring, and attentive. 

5. Surround Yourself (Only) With Trustworthy People

If your friend Ken is a kick-ass salesman has a drug problem and sticky fingers, you probably shouldn’t give him a job just because he will make you money.

Surrounding yourself with trustworthy people is going to help you continue to build healthy relationships.

Your whole team is an extension of you. They will have a reputation of being trustworthy.

So when you are not available, your clients will feel comfortable talking to any one of your team about what they need. 

6. Be Unquestionably Reliable

Whether you own the place, run the place or work behind the scenes, being reliable at work will always benefit you.

Your reputation matters. People will know who to turn to when they want something done the right way.

Just like they know who not to ask when something is needed in a pinch.

Being reliable is how you guarantee yourself job security -- even when the economy is wobbly. T

More importantly, when you are reliable, you set an example. People look up to you. They follow your lead.

Which is sure to lead to increased productivity and essential in building healthy relationships at the office. 

7. Stop Keeping So Many Secrets

The same way kids know when their parents are fighting and the marriage is falling apart, employees know when the business is in trouble.

It’s best to be honest and shoot ‘em straight about the state of affairs.

Plus allowing your people to know what’s going on will give you that many more people brainstorming for a solution.

People feel in control of a bad situation when they are able to help solve the situation.

It may be your business, but it’s everybody’s livelihood on the line.

So be honest. Be open. And stop sugarcoating the problems. 

8. Settle Fights Quickly 

Disputes at work are inevitable. Different people with different interests have a tendency to knock heads. Eventually.

The key is to remain professional and to get it handled as quickly as possible. Letting things get put on the back burner will do nothing but cause everyone to steam.

And by the time you do get to a solution, it will be too little, too late.

Get together - face to face - in a timely manner. And whatever you do, don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Your objective is to identify the problem, solve it, and save the relationship. 

9. Be A Normal Down-To-Earth Person

Make sure your team knows that you are one of them. Make sure they know that you are not asking them to do anything you would not do yourself. 

Roll up your sleeves and get dirty with them. When you’re done, sit down and have a slice of that pizza you ordered for them.

And when you see an employee struggling personally, find out why. Be relatable. Share one of your struggles with them that you’ve gone through and made it out of alive.

Show them you are human too. Sometimes it’s nice to know that we are all in this thing called life together. 

10. Remain Calm While Raging

Nobody wants to work with an active volcano.

Sure, mistakes happen. Yes, deadlines are coming. Definitely, we all lose our cool sometimes. But that should be the exception. Not the rule.

Blowing up is not going to fix any of the problems that arise. That is a guarantee.

And if being an asshole is your usual tactic, try going the opposite way and see what a difference being calm makes in your office.

Take a deep breath, smile, say, “Thank you for doing your best.” Then figure out a way to fix things.

Aside from scaring the mess out of your employees with your new calm demeanor when they are expecting chaos, they will actually work a bit harder the next time around.

11. Keep Your Mind and Door Open 

Whether you have an open door policy or adhere to strict business hours, letting people know that at some point during the day you will be available to go over whatever issues are floating around in the office, will help keep you abreast of any issues before they arise.

And when someone does decide to walk through that door -- give them your undivided attention. Close your email. Leave your phone alone.

You should be able to spare five minutes to hear them out.

If there is no immediate solution or time will not allow it, schedule a time to dive in and work out all the details. 

It would be great if you could put all of these ideas into practice tomorrow. Chances are, there is a thing or two on this list that jumped out at you.

Maybe it made you feel a bit defensive or mad when you read it.

That’s the one you need to start with first. 

The thing that makes you nervous. The thing that takes you out of your comfort zone. Start there.  

It’s your business -- your life -- we are talking about here. Your life.

Yes -- you can run it however you want. You can show up and just do your job.  Or you can evolve and adapt and grow, building long-term relationships that help you accomplish awesomeness.

Dan Waldschmidt