One of the biggest issues affecting the success of an individual in a role is the ability to build relationships with work colleagues. Many is the time I have heard people talk about ‘not getting on with my boss/peer/team/customer’ and this contributing to their decision to ultimately leave an organisation.

As many people make the transition from managing to leading, the ability to build solid relationships becomes increasingly important.

Quite often, the problem occurs when business people get stuck in the rut of focusing too narrowly on their targets, looking to only build relationships with senior colleagues or at least their own peers. There is real value in looking to cultivate good relationships both horizontally as well as vertically - across as well as up and down the hierarchy of an organisation.

Other problems occur and relationships falter before they have even started when the overt purpose seems to be self serving. True relationships are about mutuality, with no real expectation of return other than quietly enjoying the fellowship of like-minded professionals.

Those with better-developed relationship-building skills spend more time understanding people’s real needs. And showing an interest and discussing personal topics with colleagues can kickstart the process of cementing longer-term, valued relationships.

When things go sour, as they can often do at work, aim to understand the other person’s perspective, right or wrong, and focus on issues, not personalities. Be supportive of people in their work and publicly praise when praise is due.

Think broadly. Who else should you start to build good relationships with? Get in the habit of introducing yourself to as many new people as possible and don’t leave it at that. Continue interacting and nurture the more productive and receptive candidates. Try not to lunch alone!

Some people seem to do this naturally - for others it is more difficult. It is not a question of relative status or experience. There are some really well skilled young trainees out there in many businesses who appreciate the value of support in their new roles and who go out of their way to continually build new relationships. They could certainly teach their bosses a thing or two!