As an Influencer and Leader, you know that building strong and lasting relationships both inside and outside your organizations is essential to your success. While reasons for building specific relationships will vary, keeping the following guidelines in mind will help you succeed in the art of relationship building.

Actively Listen!

Active listening is the process of hearing what the other person is sharing with you in order to gain an understanding of their needs, preferences, or demands. Active listening requires dedicated focus and attention to the conversation at hand and removing yourself from distractions. A business coach once taught that a way to listen with an open mind is to suspend your inner voice and focus instead on listening with the intent of asking the next great question. In a world full of opinions (often disguised as answers) powerful questions can lead to greater clarity and understanding.

Focus on their achievement

When you practice active listening, understanding what others are aiming to achieve becomes easier. Clarifying questions help you to identify goals and objectives. When you have an understanding of a goal, ask yourself, “How can I help enable this person’s success?” Enabling success can be achieved through a number of avenues including:

  • Sharing information
  • Bringing clarity to a situation
  • Celebrating success (and failure)
  • Being empathetic to their situation

Feedback and Learning

To be effective when asking for and giving feedback, you have to practice. Many times organizations only provide feedback in the context of performance management for an underperformer. Feedback for learning is a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. Use three questions to provide a structured approach to creating a positive feedback conversation:

1.     “What went well?” Starting the conversation on a positive note sets the tone for the rest of the discussion. No mater how bad the situation, we can always find something positive about what occurred. Don’t skip this step or be in a hurry to move to step 2.

2.     “What didn’t go well?” Keep the conversation objective and factual. This will allow the conversation about perceived errors and failures and provide context for learning. Don’t cut off the conversation; this step is a necessary part of moving forward.

3.     “What could be done differently next time?” This is the key question to focus the discussion on finding solutions and discovering learnings. Learning from past situations is important to keep from repeating errors. Remind your client “what went well” and that every project or task has its positive outcomes and learnings. Mistakes are investments but only if they are identified and incorporated into the person’s mental repertoire.

Be Authentic and Trustworthy

Trust can be lost in a moment of indiscretion; sharing others private conversations when they have trusted you to remain discreet can cause trust to disappear like a puff of smoke. True long-lasting relationships require that you are yourself, authentically investing your energy and attention into building and maintaining that bond.

How are you planning on building and maintaining lasting relationships? Seek Human Moments, and commit to building lasting relationships. At the 3P Exchange Leadership Symposium, we have designed the event to foster the building of strong and lasting relationships. In today’s business world, this is the only way succeed.

Join a community of influencers and leaders – recognized and emerging – on a journey of personal and professional development. Discover, share, and reaffirm the value that leaders and influencers create in their organizations. Explore new tools and insights you can use to impact outcomes, with or without control of the agenda. Visit to find out more about speakers and events at the 3P Exchange Leadership Symposium including information on registering and booking your accommodations at the Pillar and Post Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. October 17 & 18, 2017. We are looking forward to seeing you there!