Success Tips From Your Grandmother

Relationship building is an important competency in building your career success.  As a career success coach I always advise my clients to build strong mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in their lives.

In the Wall Street Journal Sunday, Alexandra Levit made the same point in her “Reinvent” column entitled Grandma Was Right.  She makes several helpful suggestions for building strong relationships…

Recall traditional values.  Ms. Levit focuses on two values that I think are really important: courtesy and fairness.  And I agree.  A little courtesy goes a long way, especially in these tense stressful times.  I go out of my way to smile at people and acknowledge their presence – even if they can do nothing for me. 

The other day, I was in the restroom at Denver International Airport.  A custodian was just finishing his work.  I caught his eye and said, “The place is looking good.  Thanks.”  At first he seemed surprised that I spoke to him.  Then he smiled and said, “I appreciate that, sir.  Usually all I hear are complaints.” 

I won’t go as far as to say I made that man’s day, but I believe I brightened it a bit.  That’s what courtesy will do – brighten other people’s day.  As a career success coach, I think that brightening other people’s days – even those people who can nothing for you — is a good way to build relationships.  It’s the thought and the practice that count.

Fairness is another value that helps in building relationships.  I have a new book coming out called Success Tweets.  One of the tweets goes to the heart of fairness…

Do your job; give credit to others for doing theirs. Everyone likes to work with people who share the credit for a job well done.   

Pulling your weight, and giving credit where credit is due will brand you as a fair person, a good colleague and someone with whom people like to work.  It will also put you on the road to career success.

Being thoughtful and appreciative is another of Ms. Levit’s pieces of advice.   She suggests remembering colleague and mentor’s spouses’ and children’s names, thanking others for little favors – in person and by sending a small hand written note.  Ms. Levit suggests that the more specific you are about the reason for which you are thanking someone, the better. 

Here’s another tweet from Success Tweets

Say “thank you” often. You’ll succeed in your life and career, build a strong personal brand and leave a legacy of being a nice person. 

Finally, Ms Levit suggests meeting in person to build relationships…

“Given the emphasis on e-communication, going out of our way to meet people in person is another way to stand out…This includes developing relationships with junior level employees or administrative assistants who may have the top person’s ear.”

She right here too.  There is no better way to build a relationship than sitting down with another person, and looking him or her in the eye.  As a career success coach, I advise my clients to do people the courtesy of visiting with them when you have something to discuss. 

Here’s one last tweet from Success Tweets

Be courteous. It costs you nothing, and it can mean everything to someone else. It also helps in getting what you want.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to become a career success you need to build relationships – with as many people as you can.  In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Alexandra Levit made three suggestions for building positive relationships: 1) be courteous and fair; 2) be thoughtful and appreciative; and 3) take the time to meet with others in person.  These are great common sense career success tips.  As a career success coach, I find that strong, mutually beneficial relationships are an important key to success.  As I mention in my forthcoming book, Success Tweets, “Say ‘thank you’ often. You’ll succeed in your life and career, build a strong personal brand and leave a legacy of being a nice person.”

That’s my take on how the little things can help you build successful relationships.  What’s yours?  Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. We should always listen to the advice of are grand mothers. Some times we may not clearly understand it all, but if we take the time to think about it, we find its true meaning. if you have time read this story. It is a great read about the role grandmothers play in all our lives.

  2. Thanks for your kind comment, Paul.

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