Whatever kind of business you have, people — be they customers, workers, partners, mentors, etc. — are the heart of it. The relationships you have with them determine how productive you can be and how much growth you can achieve. Leaders are starting to understand this, but they still fumble when it comes to building strong connections. Time and time again, they trip over these same big mistakes….

1. Treating the relationship as a convenience

You’ve probably experienced it: Somebody you haven’t talked to in forever suddenly gets in touch with you. They make some small talk about your family or hobbies so they don’t seem too crass, but then they hit you with a request. At the end of the conversation, it feels like they didn’t really care. They got in, got what they wanted and got out.

When you do this to someone, you’re not really focusing on the relationship with the other person. You’re focusing on the transaction they can have with you.

To be successful, you cannot treat people as a convenience like this. Rather, you should treat them as though they have value on their own, without doing you any favors. Showing some interest in them without any conditions or expectations is what’s going to build trust and make them feel great about helping out when you really need them.

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