Do relationships matter in a successful career?

Whenever you meet a hotshot with a bad temper or big ego who doesn’t extend basic courtesy, you inevitably ask this question because relationships don’t seem to mean a thing for such a person.

However, for every brash but successful career you see and meet, there are thousands of brash and unsuccessful careers that you don’t. Good relations at workplace are pre-requisite to many of the qualities needed to have a successful career today: influencing without authority, selling ideas, getting the best out of others, leveraging knowledge and network across the organization, etc.

However, having a good relationship with someone requires effort. You need to build a relationship (say, when you join the group/company), you need to maintain relationship (as good/bad times come and go), and you need to mend it if it does go wrong.

Here are some of the themes I have used when I have gone through above phases of relationship building-keeping-mending:

  1. Finding reasons to agree with the other person – Even if you think someone is very different than you, if you are willing to pay attention, you can find things they say or do that aligns with your thoughts. There is no better way to get someone to think about you positively than by endorsing their thoughts/ideas/work.
  2. Providing help and support without asking – Small gesture of support goes a long way in building and maintaining relationship. This can be done without going out of our way to accommodate the person.
  3. Keeping communication channels open – This works once you have a good relationship and helps maintain a lasting relationship. Most relationships suffer because people refuse to talk openly about good and bad things to each other.
  4. Being honest – If you don’t know something, accept it. If you need something, ask for it. Be yourself. No relationship can be built with false pretenses and fake personalities.

What are your thoughts on this?


3 thoughts on “Do relationships matter in a successful career?

  1. I agree. People mostly don’t realise the need of creating office friendships that could go a long way. I have heard terms like ‘I dont mix work and life’ or ‘I keep my personal and professional life separate’ from people in the past. Of course, I have had debates with those foilks as I don’t subscribe to their idea.

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