If you live long enough you will realize that life is all about relationships. The strength of anything; your family, business, favorite charity, even your kid’s soccer league is directly connected to the relationships that support or harm it.

Leaders who understand this also know that the most important skills to cultivate are the ones that build strong relationships with the people they lead. You can be great at IT or be a financial guru, but you won’t grow a strong and enduring business or flourish in life unless you learn how to build relationships with those around you.

“Life is all about relationships”

My long time friend, Michael Fletcher, is a pastor who has spent 30+ years building successful relationships in his family and church.  Under his leadership and direction this church grew from 350 to 8500.   The church is having a great influence in their city and they are multiplying churches across America and the globe. Michael is an excellent speaker, but this long term growth and strength did not come from good preaching alone. Based on observing his leadership these many years, I am quite certain that this success comes from the application of principles for building successful relationships.

Michael has shared, 7 Keys to Building Successful Relationships, in written and spoken form. The following are his key principles with my comments added. You can also listen to Michael and his wife Laura share on this link.

Love – The Beatles were mostly right, love is all we need, at least to begin building a relationship. This idea of loving people is fundamental. Love is the act of putting others’ needs and success ahead of your own and is demonstrated through caring about others.

Faith– Right next to love is having and showing belief in people. If you love me but do not demonstrate faith in me, I won’t feel your love or acceptance. Believing in others has transforming power. Be an ICNU (I see in you) leader by calling out the potential in others before they see it themselves. You can read more about the power of expressing faith in others here.

Interest– Get outside of your own interests and discover what interests others.  Listening to what interests others greatly enhances connection.

“See people’s potential not just their performance.”

Communication– Communication is an art and skill since people communicate differently.  Learn communication styles in both listening and speaking that are tailored to them. I share more in depth on effective conversations here.

Respect– Give the gift of respect; don’t make people earn it. People respond to the respect they are given.

Time– Your time is like a long-term investment; a little bit over a long time builds a significant relationship account.  If you are stingy with your time, your results will be minimal. Generosity with your time yields abundant results.
Availability– Think of this as a promise to help them succeed. “If you need help, let me know. If you have a question, send it to me. I’m here to help you be your best.”

These are proven principles for successful relationships.  I encourage you to practice them in your home, personal relationships, as well as work. Everyone wins and grows with this kind of culture and you’ll be a leader worth following.


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