Loosening your grip on your point of view and exploring the whys, whats, and hows of what others think requires discipline – and it’s a habit of the best relationship builders.
— Jim Haudan

It’s been reported that 85% of job success is due to well-developed soft and people skills, with technical skills and knowledge only accounting for 15% of work success (per research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center).
And, the most critical component is to have strong and lasting relationships.

For some, building relationships comes natural (and easily), for others it requires effort and causes awkwardness.  Yes, our innate skills and abilities influence this, but with focus, intent, and purpose, everyone has the ability to create lasting relationships.

Being viewed as authentic and “real” is a good way to get started, and so is being respectful. For business relationships, assess shared goals and how they can be mutually supported. Listen to what others have to say, collaborate, and be open to new perspectives.

Once relationships are created, side benefits include improved communication, teamwork, no finger pointing, and increased productivity. Conflict is healthy, colleagues are willing to speak up (versus shutting down), levels of accountability grow, and problems are jointly resolved. Work becomes more enjoyable, and going to work might even be viewed as fun!

Do others view you as approachable? Do they make an effort to sit by you in meetings? What about asking for your opinion or perspective on something? Maybe even ask you to lunch? And conversely, who do you view as approachable? Who do you choose to sit next to? Whose opinion do you value? Why?

Make it a habit to be aware of how others are behaving. Do they seem distracted? Could they be having a bad day? Show genuine interest, applaud successes and support failures (or issues), and the relationship will evolve naturally.

Do you have sustained business relationships? Is there any soft skill you’d like to develop?

People who are great at inventing things, and have high creativity, often don’t have strong interpersonal skills or interests.—Martin Zwilling