The Value Of Genuine Relationships At Work

Do you like what you do for a living?  Do you enjoy the people you work with? When you get up in the morning, are you excited about what the day might bring?

I’ve often said if you like more than 50% of what you do for a job, then you’re far ahead of the vast majority of the populace.  

I for one think I’m lucky to be a marketer because my job is fun — I get paid to solve problems creatively and come up with ideas for how to build a brand.  I’ve also said there’s a reason we get paid to do what we do: This stuff is hard!

I bring up this subject because I think it’s important that people in a professional environment be genuine — and if you like what you do, then there’s no reason not to be genuine.  

Sales and marketing are people-oriented businesses built on relationships. Unfortunately, a lot of these relationships are “fake,” meaning your associates don’t have much interest in you as a person, but are more interested in you as a representative of an opportunity.  The quickest way to find this out is to move from one job to another and see whose perspective on you changes along with the role.

Through my career I’ve worked in small and larger agencies and companies and even as a consultant.  When I was in a large agency or a large company environment, I found lots of people who wanted to talk to me.  They would ask questions about me, my path, and my ideas on topics that were of interest to them.  In return, I would engage with them, always doing my best to provide valuable insights or to take away from a conversation some kind of value as well.  I approached all these interactions as a way to have a mutually beneficial conversation and build a relationship.  

I find it funny that when I switched to a start-up, many of those people fell by the wayside.   

I’ve tested out some of those relationships, reaching out to ask a question or to continue the engagement, and about half the time I get no response.  The half who don’t respond clearly weren’t interested in the interpersonal relationship — they were only using me to boost their own position by leveraging the brand I represented.   

Those folks were not being genuine.

If you don’t value the people around you and the people you work with, then it’s possible you don’t enjoy what you do for a living — because if you did, you’d see the value in every interpersonal relationship.   Every interaction is a chance to gain insight — and if you don’t see that, then you might be in the wrong business.  

I read an article recently that tried to quantify the value of interpersonal relationships in the workplace. The article noted  “a single brain can’t make all decisions alone,” and discussed the impact of relationships on culture, mood and the need for recognition.  All of these add up to the innate human need to have positive interactions with the people around you.  These are true at work just as much, if not more, than anywhere else.

I’m writing this not to sound like a man slighted, or to to call out anyone.  I am simply trying to remind people that every interaction you have is with a real person, and all people matter.  Even though you may be stressed or overwhelmed, or even though you may clearly have a distinct set of objectives to achieve, never overlook the value that any person can bring to a conversation.

Be genuine, enjoy what you do — and be successful as a result.

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