“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships.”

Thought leaders like Tony Robbins, Jesse Elder, and Peter Sage highlight the importance of quality relationships as an important piece of living a life you love.

At work we have interactions with people throughout the entire day – in meetings, in the breakroom, walking down the hall, everywhere.  We’re surrounded by opportunities for high quality, meaningful interactions, and yet oftentimes our central focus is centered on tasks that need to be marked off our checklist.

Reality check time – you will ALWAYS have a to-do list. Having great working relationships are a guaranteed way to make that to-do list more enjoyable, and even more effective in the process.

From my experience, here are 4 habits you can work on forming that will help you immediately create healthier and more rewarding relationships:

1. Use the person’s name.
Yep, the first step is that easy. By simply greeting a person by name they feel recognized and valued. I’ve implemented this and have noticed people appreciate that you took the time to remember their name and that’s a great start to having a more positive association with you. Dale Carnegie recognized the impact of this small habit way back in 1936 when he first wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People. He says that a person hearing their name is ‘the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

2. Pick up the phone rather than using email.
A lot can be lost in translation through email, which can lead to the recipient missing the point or incorrectly interpreting your intention.  By simply picking up the phone and calling, you create the opportunity for a more human connection.  I find it can be more time efficient, it provides for more direct contact, and allows for personalities to shine through.

3. Pay attention to other people’s interests.
I’m sure there are people you work with who you think you have absolutely nothing in common with.  And that’s okay, but to create an improved working relationship with that person, start showing an interest in what they like.  I don’t know the first thing about bird watching, but I have a few coworkers who love it, so I ask about it.  I may not adopt it as my own pastime, but I get an opportunity to learn about it, and the person I asked lights up because they get to talk about what they love.  Win win!

4. Leave people better than you found them.
We all impact each other. Every person that crosses your path impacts you in some way, be it small or significant. Acknowledging that power puts you in a great position to be intentional in how you impact others. If you want to foster better relationships, become the kind of person that leaves someone better than you found them. It may sound daunting, but in reality, it’s simple. Smile like you mean it.  Acknowledge people that cross your path. Hold a door for someone and wish them a great afternoon.  These are all small things, but as they become a habit for you, people on the receiving end associate you with feeling better. And after all, that’s one thing that binds all of us together as humans. We all just want to feel better.

I find myself looking forward to work every day – partly because I honestly enjoy the actual work I do, but more importantly because of the relationships I have built here at First Business Bank. They’re relationships that challenge me, energize me, and inspire me to try and leave this place and the people here better than when I walked in.

These four seemingly small habits have the power to transform not just your work relationships…but any relationship… to a better, more rewarding place.