How To Keep Your Work Relationships Strong

Shannon Waller
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At Strategic Coach, we’ve discovered one of the best ways to build authentic relationships. Simply put, it’s four simple habits that, if practiced daily, will ensure that you’ll continually be rewarded with new business opportunities. We call them The Referability Habits:

Show up on time.

Do what you say.

Finish what you start.

Say “please” and “thank you.”

If you’re planning on playing at the top of your entrepreneurial game, you can’t do it alone. You want to have a solid team in place, and it’s important to extend the respect and appreciation you show to your clients and customers to your team as well.

While there are many different strategies and approaches that can be taken to achieve phenomenal teamwork, why not start with these four proven practices? They’re as much about referability as they are about credibility.

Show up on time.

Most of us know the importance of showing up on time—we value our reputation and would never dream of being late to meet new clients or customers. However, we can often be more nonchalant when it comes to engagements with our team, family, or friends.

The problem is that even if it’s not your intention, a lack of punctuality gives people the impression that you don’t hold them in the same high regard as others.

Show up for your team the same way you’d show up for your clientele, build respectful and trusting partnerships, and your team will want to reciprocate these same courtesies.

Do what you say.

In an entrepreneurial environment, the flow of new ideas and projects is constant—so much so, in fact, that sometimes they’re hard to keep track of. The danger in this is that we commit to things, and then they get lost.

This is how we end up letting down those people who’ve taken our promises to heart. I know I’m guilty of this. The best way to take action is to come up with strategies and systems to keep track of your commitments.

For example, be mindful about writing things down, or ask others to write things down. Record responsibilities in your smartphone, and have it prompt you with reminders. These small changes can alter your relationships for the better.

Finish what you start.

We all have our own individual strengths; some of us are great at finishing things, while others are great at starting things. It’s impossible to excel in all areas, so the key is to surround yourself with people who have a passion for stepping in and doing those activities you find stressful.

Just like in a relay race, you can utilize other people’s talents along the way to reach your goals. I’m a starter, not a finisher, so a huge part of my teamwork is to work with people who have a lot of mental energy for bringing tasks and projects to completion. I “make it up”—often with help—and my team helps to make it real.

Always say “please” and “thank you.”

As human beings, we want respectful, genuine relationships, and the simple gestures of saying “please” and “thank you” go a long way.

When you’re asking for someone else’s contribution—time, creativity, collaboration, mental energy, intelligence, heart—it needs to be appreciated no matter how big or small the task. People have the choice about whether to help you, and if they know that the energy and effort they’re expending is greatly appreciated, they’ll do so much more for you and be happy to do it.

There is so much to gain by being authentic and sincere and taking the time to thank people for helping you accomplish what you’ve set out to do.

Respect + Appreciation = Team Success

When team members, yourself included, are encouraged to develop these habits, it automatically helps to avoid a lot of common workplace conflicts, because at the core of all successful teamwork are great relationships.

These Referability Habits are a simple but powerful way to leave a positive impression. Be someone other people love supporting and a leader people want to work for.