Kindness is a universal language that is easily comprehended and goes beyond all boundaries. Everyone can understand and speak this language. Acts of kindness are never futile; instead, they are always rewarding. Your effort to be kind and courteous to someone will be reflected back to you in one way or another. After all, being kind and courteous to others makes the world a better place to live. What goes around comes around.
It is likely that you have heard the proverb, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” What this means, ultimately, is that building relationships in which you are kind and courteous to others will benefit everyone, making possible friendships and associations that stretch across geographies, time and life.
As people we are inherently sociable and the better our relationships, the more content and happier we are. This applies not only to one’s personal life but also to workplace relationships. All jobs require interaction at one time or another, making relationships a vital attribute. Developing and maintaining positive work relationships has numerous benefits, including the fact that you are more engaged and productive.
In professions such as law, medicine or finance, and many others, too, clients are often in the midst of very emotional and traumatic experiences when first we encounter them. Establishing and developing relationships in situations like these can be very trying for all. Yet, if we have strong professional and personal relationships to start with, we will have all the necessary strengths, kindnesses and courtesy required.
Strong relationships depend on our willingness to be kind and courteous to others. When these traits are at the forefront of everything we do, much of the rest follows easily. In the workplace, especially one where you are working with external clients and customers, this is more important than almost anywhere else. As a result, what goes around comes around. Being a “graduate” of life helps, too.
Good communication builds good relationships, whether face-to-face, via telephone and video calls, or writing email or other, more traditional letters. Speaking and writing well provide a sound basis for good communication. Being professional, honest, and open establishes trust and rapport. Learning to listen actively, focusing on what people say and taking time to reflect before responding. Others will learn from you.
Remain professional and do your best to avoid getting involved in gossip and office politics. While getting involved may seem like a way to get to know people and build relationships, it often does not work very well. Rather, try to address any issues in a positive way by asking questions, speaking up in meetings, expressing an opinion and supporting the opinions of others. Doing so encourages others and allows them to rely on you when necessary or vice versa.
Appreciate others by being available for everyone, regardless of their role or position in the organization. Basically, treat everyone as you want to be treated; you know, the Golden Rule. This can be tough, as some individuals greet the world differently and seem to have a sour outlook on life. We have all become acquainted with individuals like this at one point or another. Nevertheless, having genuine respect for everyone, especially in the workplace, can have a boomerang effect overall.
Develop your people skills and, hence, your ability to relate to others. Note how you deal with conflict. Know yourself, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. Continuously work on the ability to perceive, understand, use, manage and handle emotions, as these affect success in developing relationships. Seeing how you relate to others will encourage others to try the same approach.
Support others by offering your assistance, time, experience and expertise. If there is an opportunity to help, take it. Doing so shows your value to others in the organization every day. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to request help or advice. Most people are happy to oblige and help especially when they can share their skills, knowledge and experience with others.
In the end, the best success in professional and personal lives relies on kindness and courtesy both given and received. What goes around comes around. Give a little, get a little.
Connie L. Braun is a product adoption and learning consultant with LexisNexis Canada.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clients, Law360 Canada, LexisNexis Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and
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