How to build spectacular relationships

When a Director once gave a talk on the importance of developing relationships, I was left thinking I had to buy someone a gift. Maybe it isn’t too far from the truth. When developing skills that can influence a relationship, having a giving attitude is what can help make them spectacular. Find out here how to build spectacular relationships.

How to build spectacular relationships


The most powerful initiator in building a great relationship is recognition. I am not talking about a front-page editorial in the weekly rag. This is all about being present for the other person at every interaction. Listen thoughtfully, reflect ideas and interests that are important to them.

Be sincere and serious about the issues that affect them. Offer support without the need for solutions. After all, isn’t this the very technique you use when you want to impress someone?

How often I hear others say that the first time they met a life-long partner – there was a connection. He/she just seemed to understand me.

Giving others sincere recognition is the first stage in healing, just ask a psychologist.


I am amazed at how many professionals fail  to see the effect they can have on others. The joy of a young child playing with a parent. The impact a senior director can have just spending a few minutes with a junior executive. How a famous actor can visit a children’s hospital ward and replace pain with joy. You have the choice to either light someone up or crush them.

The Critic

The third rail – touch it and fry. While giving others recognition is the gift to building a strong relationship, negative criticism is by far and away the slow toxic death. As a professional I grant you that critical analysis is an important component to business. Personal criticism, however, simply has no place, anywhere.

Yet in the modern world it seems that our natural, default position is to criticise. And wow, aren’t we just great at doing this? I can guarantee that if you put an idea forward, there will be at least 8 out of 10 people who will tell you why it can’t work.

So why do people fall into this trap? It’s all about power. I criticise you because it makes me feel powerful!
The last word

The extent to which we inspire one another, though we may be oblivious to it, is incredible. We listen and take a genuine interest. We practise understanding. Why? Because others excel with it, they want to work harder, be more productive, be as great as they can. This world continually proves that to claim power over another does not work. It is the wrong path, a dead-end, and has nowhere to go.

Remember, every time you criticise you leave a ‘bruise’. How long will that bruise take to reveal itself? It can leap out at you from hiding, when you least expect it. Deny people recognition, ignore them, substitute tolerance with dominance and watch the damage happen.

The gift is not buried in clever conversation and it is not how much you are willing to spend. It is free, it is generous, and most importantly, it is all about them. I hear so many people say they wish things were different. Be the change you want to see in the world. Start with yourself today.



4 Tips to Resolve Conflict

The Right Language for Resolving Conflict

In English speaking workplaces, it is important to voice complaints and frustrations by using the right language. When you are dealing with problems, the right approach and level of directness can ensure you don’t cause offence. This article looks at essential language along with 4 tips to resolve conflict situations effectively.

4 Tips to Resolve Conflict
4 Tips to Resolve Conflict
Language to Avoid Blame

After an issue has occurred and you explain what your colleague did, it is essential that you avoid making judgements about their actions or what they said because this can escalate issues and intensify the conflict. Besides that, it helps to be specific and descriptive when you are explaining. Below is an example of how you could describe an action without blaming the other person.

Blaming: “We lost an important piece of business because of you”.

Avoids blame: “The customer said she terminated the contract because our support team took too long to respond to her requests”.

Blaming: “You ignored a key client”.

Avoids blame: “You responded to the client a week after their request, while the previous salesperson tended to get back to them within 24 hours”. 

Language to Describe Behaviour

When explaining things that have been said or done that cause problems for you, use language the describes the person’s behaviour and do not use sweeping generalisations about their personal character. Besides that, when you describe these behaviours it is important to remain neutral and measured and avoid exaggerations. Below is an example that shows how you could describe an action by focusing on the other person’s behaviour.

Judgemental: “You are incompetent”.

Neutral: “There are some errors in the report you prepared”.

Judgemental: “You are not assertive enough”.

Neutral: “You haven’t been putting forward ideas on this project”.

Language to Explain Your Situation

When others are explaining problems you may have caused, it is important to share your constraints and circumstances. For example, explaining the context in which you made a decision or the information you had at the time will help others to understand and accept your version of events. Below are two examples of how you could explain your situation.

“From your perspective, I was overly involved in this project. However, when I worked with this client previously, he regularly complained about relatively minor issues.”

“I didn’t mean to be abrupt. It was in a rush to meet an important deadline”.

Language to Express Feelings

 Sometimes it is necessary to talk about feelings in order to move forward. When you talk about how their behaviour affected you, it is helpful to use “I” statements. By matching “I” statements with your feelings, the language becomes less blaming or accusatory, and enables you to simply describe your feelings. Here are some examples of describing how you felt using “I” statements.

Blaming: “What you said was hurtful.”

Explaining: “I was hurt by what you said.”

Blaming: “You embarrassed me.”

Explaining: “I felt embarrassed when you did that.”

In Summary…

You can approach challenging situations and resolve conflict  by using the right language to avoid blame, describe your counterpart’s behaviour, explain your situation and express your feelings. Perhaps most importantly, the use language that doesn’t blame will also help you to foster collaboration, protect the precious relationships you have and drive productivity at work.