When I was first introduced to the concept of “relationship credits” it felt wrong to me. I felt weird and it felt a little bit disingenuous to be honest. I didn’t understand how we could truly have authentic relationships that had a “credit bank” attached to them.

However, I see now that whether we like it not, all relationships have some sort of credit bank – some are just more conscious than others.

We give and we take to everyone we know. Sometimes we give more, sometimes we give less.  I have relationships with some people where I know I do 99% of the giving and very little taking. Others, I’m probably more of the taker. And then there are some that are a solid 50/50. You need them, and they need you, maybe at contrasting times, but consistently.

This blog article is going to focus more on the importance of strong and healthy relationships in the professional environment. You’ll walk away understanding why you need them and why it is important to invest conscious time in them.

Have you ever had someone ask you for a pretty reasonable sized favour, right out the blue and you barely even know them?  They’ve asked you to stop what you’re doing, put yourself on the back-burner and help them with something when you’ve barely had much to do with them before? This is where the value of relationship building and essentially where relationship credits come in to play. If you had a relationship with that person, maybe they’d helped you with something before, and now they are asking for your assistance in return, you don’t bat an eyelid. You get the 'what goes around comes around' merry-go-round.

Hold the phone for a second though.

The first scenario where you don’t know them at all, and they’ve asked you to inconvenience yourself to assist them might be a harder pill to swallow.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t just help people in the workplace because they are asking – of course we should – that is the reason why a lot of us have jobs – to help others in the business when they need us.

But, put it this way – you have two people who both need your services or assistance at the same time. You are only one person - therefore, you can only help one at a time.  Who do you go to first? The one you have a better relationship with, dah!  The one who invested time in getting to know you, thanks you for helping them, or may have even helped you before.

Whether you like it not, this is the way humans are wired. We are a relationship focussed bunch. All the relationship credit concept does, is bring this in to the light and make sure you are more consciously investing into the relationships that you need to in order to do your job well.

How and why should you consciously invest more in your professional relationships?

1) Firstly, if you work with the attitude of “people don’t matter, I’m just here to do my job”, then you are already on the back-foot. Change your mindset and change it quickly. Not only do people hire people they like, but people with strong and mutually beneficial two-way relationships tend to advance in business as well.

2) Make relationship development a standard part of your week – Make it a point to invest time with 3 or 4 people in your business and get to know them, what they do and what they‘re all about. A simple “how are you?” as you keep walking and don’t even hear the response is not enough – ya feel me?

3) Keep your networks with people you used to work with too – Make sure you invest time with previous colleagues and keep those relationships fresh – they might work somewhere you want to work someday, and you don’t want the first time they hear from you in 8 years to be when you are asking them for an introduction or a referral.

4) Be open to what you don’t know and that it might actually be of value to you – What you can learn from others, both professionally and personally can influence your career or your life. If you are so closed off to that and don’t get to know others, you don’t know what goodies or opportunities you could be missing out on.

Curious to know more about the relationship credit concept, or need help with your own career roadmap? Flick me a note at yo****@ea***************.com and we can talk about how to set you up for success now and for your future.

If you need some help working out what your next career move is, I can help. I help women get out of their own ways. I help you deal with the overthinking. The Imposter Syndrome. The self-doubt. The career confusion or crossroads. All the things currently getting in your way of being a confident, kick a** woman in your workplace and in your life.