Relationships Matter

by  Will Lukang  |  Team Dynamics
Relationships Matter

A few weeks ago, I was reflecting on how my career started over 25 and a half years ago. I remembered my coworkers and how much time we spent writing code, debugging programs, analyzing issues that arose, and helping each other figure out problems.

I also remembered the late nights and eating out as a team after a long day at work. It was a lot of fun and it created a bond of camaraderie. I enjoyed the recollections of how great it was to be part of a team.

To succeed in any profession, you must learn to work with others. It is easier said than done, though, because we all have different personalities and temperaments. We all have different motivations, goals and aspirations. When some folks come to work, they just do the work and are eager to get home. Some people come to work because they like what they do, while others come to work because they love what they do, thus it is not called work. The latter thrive in their jobs because they value their relationships and focus on establishing relationships in addition to getting things done.

What’s the best way to establish a relationship?

  1. In any work relationship, focus on a common goal rather than just getting your stuff done first. John Maxwell’s quote comes to mind, “Believing in people before they have proved themselves is the key to motivating people to reach their potential.”
  2. Never underestimate the capabilities of the other parties.
  3. Do not jump to conclusions, and give people the benefit of the doubt
  4. Offer to help when you can.
  5. Exercise patience, don’t rush to conclusions, and (most importantly) be nice.
  6. While you want to get your job done, a win-lose situation is not a good thing. At times, you need to strive for a win-win situation.

Success can be attained when you take into account the motivation and goals of all of the parties in any engagement. You must understand what motivates the people you’re working with. Focus on helping others because they will more likely help you get your job done. When you add value to others, they will also help you achieve your goals. The next time you need to collaborate with someone, think of how relationships matter. Focusing on fostering a good relationship can yield a better result in the long run.

Let me know your thoughts on relationships. Do you think they are important or not?
Photo Credit: Fotolia vadymvdrobot

About The Author

Articles By will-lukang
A dynamic, multi-faceted Information Technology Leader who demonstrates expertise in translating business needs into technology solutions that meet business objectives while developing strategies to optimize processes that improve efficiency and reduce costs. A certified coach, speaker and training from John Maxwell Team. A co-author of The Character-Based Leader.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Mike Henry Sr.  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Will, thanks for a challenging post. I appreciate being reminded, especially on Monday morning, that the success of the team needs to dictate my success. I don’t exercise enough patience, and I often do rush to judgment, and I always have to remember to work towards win-win. Thanks again!

Will Lukang  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

The demand for us to get things done often put us on a path that does not allow us to be patient. But we know that patience is essential to our success.

John Smith  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Hi, Will – as I always, expect, your post is thoughtful and clear.

The ability to work with others is an important aspect of leadership and you have nicely described some strategies and benefits to doing so. My short response to your ending question is “Of course, relationships matter … a lot!”.

I would add that this is one of those places where differences in personality and “style” (for lack of beter term) come into play, at least in my experience. I remember some learnings that first came to me many years ago, when I worked on several college campuses with residence hall staff and other student development workers. During that time, I was quite into experiential learning, ROPES courses, and physical challenges to build teams.

Here’s what I learned, simply from a teambuilding POV:

Some people fall easily into extroverted behavior and are naturally oriented toward relationships with other people. These folks generate verbal and physical energy. They enjoy group activities, are usually up for socializing with fellow workers, and generally fit the perception of being a “People Person”, as it is commonly defined.

Others are more introverted and more naturally lean toward fewer and deeper relationships with others. They are less likely to find value in group activities, although they will participate and even excel at some group exercises, especially those which require thoughtful reflection before action.

All of this, of course, moves from the outdoor adventure camp to the campus and to the office building. Some folks find it easier to get behind group projects, while others are happier doing solo work. This is simply a characteristic of people which exists for everyone along a constantly shifting continuum, with a definite preference for one end or the other of that continuum.

Caveat: Nothing I have noted in any way should be taken to mean that anyone is “stuck” in a particular behavior or thinking mode, or that they are incapable of shifting behavior as needed to meet a situation. This is one of the best things about people: They are quite capable and usually willing to move outside their comfort zone, when the leadership trust and support exists to help them do so.

Thanks again for a thought-provoking post which also allowed me a short trip down Memory Lane:)


Will Lukang  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Hi John,

Excellent point on the different personality types. As the leader of the team, it is essential for us to take that into consideration. This way we can cater to their ways of responding to team goals thereby improving our chance of succeeding as a team.


Will Lukang

Jane  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Excellent, Will. I once had a manager who reminded us to ‘preserve the relationship’. Maybe not at all costs but there was never a time in my tenure at that organization when the battle was of such savage proportions that her advice didn’t make sense. Your six points are remarkably accurate for building relationships. You asked if I think relationships are important or not. I absolutely believe we humans were created for relationships and there is no skirting the fact that we need each other. So if were to add to your list, point 0 would be Decide that relationships are worth it and desire to preserve them.

Will Lukang  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Hi Jane,

Your point zero of deciding that relationships are worth is very important. I often see leader fails because they thing that everyone always buy in to their goal. It is our job to decide that relationships is important before we move forward.


Will Lukang

Leo Bottary  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Will, thanks for sharing. You touch on you what our new book The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth & Success is all about. Who you surround yourself with matters. As we experienced as learning team colleagues at Seton Hall, when students collaborate effectively, they will learn far more from one another than they will from their professors or their course materials! Same holds true in the workplace!

Will Lukang  |  15 Feb 2016  |  Reply

Hi Leo,

The power of collective wisdom is so much more powerful than individual wisdom. Sometimes when we seek everyone’s opinion and contribution, you’ll come out with a better solutions that will greatly affect the outcome, because people bought in to the goal and are more committed to get it done.


Will Lukang

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