8 Keys to Building and Having Lasting Relationships

One of the most important aspects of leading is the ability to build and have relationships with the people around us. Your influence and success greatly depends on your ability to develop lasting relationships with others. Stanley Allyn said, “The most useful person in the world today is the man or woman who knows how to get along with other people. Human relations is the most important science in living.” Below are 8 keys every leader needs to know and apply if they want to have lasting relationships:

1. Start- Great leaders take the initiative in starting and building relationships with others. They don’t just passively wait for others to reach out to them but they take the steps required to start and build the relationship.

2. Get connected- To build a lasting relationship a leader intentionally connects with the person, which requires an investment of time, energy, and effort. A leader who wants to connect with someone takes time to:

  • Learn the person’s life story and experiences.
  • Discovers the heart of the person.
  • Find common ground by learning about the person’s interests, passions, and likes.

3. Be authentic- A leader who is authentic are themselves around people and in relationships. They do not hide from their unique or genuine self, when starting or building a relationship with others. Being authentic requires openness and vulnerability with the people we are in relationships with.

4. Develop and maintain trust- Trust between both parties is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s essential for a leader to build and maintain trust with other people. To earn trust requires a good track record and time. David Duchovny said, “The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.” Take the time to nourish and cherish trust in your relationships.

5. Communication skills- At the center of every thriving and lasting relationships is communication. Good communication is a key to having great relationships. It’s important to remember communication is a two way street that has a balance of talking and listening.

6. Lifter- A lifter has the ability to see someone’s potential and does whatever they can to help them move to the next level. They serve and add value to the other person. A leader who’s desire is to positively impact and help people produces strong and lasting relationships.

7. Be a support- Life brings different seasons, with both good and difficult times. A true friend is one who supports and walks with us through the different seasons of life. They have the ability to challenge or encourage us depending on our situation or circumstance. Taylor Swift said, “In a relationship each person should support the other; they should lift each other up.”

8. Deliberate maintenance- To have a strong and lasting relationship requires maintenance. If a problem or issue goes unresolved for too long it can harm the relationship. This is why we have to be on the lookout for anything that might cause the relationship to become weak or damaged, then to deliberately repair or fix the problem.

Question: Can you think about any other keys to building or maintaining a relationship?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • not sure where “give undivided attention” fits Dan, but that seems like it should be one. When they come talk, give that to them. No texting. No phone. etc.

    • DS

      Great additions – it’s hard to see some one distracted by those when you visit with them.

    • Great addition Bill! I agree, undivided attention is essential. I personally think it would fit best in communication.

  • Great post Dan! For any relationship to work, there has to be a give-and-take. I don’t mean we look selfishly for others to satisfy our needs, but there has to be a natural growth in relationship from both sides. Even if we invest and give of ourselves repeatedly, a relationship may not go very far if the other person is not interested or intentional. We also have to know when to move on – a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way at times – and find others who are intentional as well.

    • Great points Chris. I think most people have learned or been through a time when they had to have the relationship move on. It’s a part of life and growth. Thank you for adding to the discussion:)

  • DS

    Be open. If you’re developing this type of relationship allow it to be an open one in which you can celebrate victory, or defeat – where you can challenge and encourage one another.

    • Openness is so important, thank you for sharing it. I always enjoy hearing from you.

  • Point number 6 is huge. A good leader needs to be able to bring out the best in people. People need to feel confident and trusted around their leader — otherwise they will never be able to give their best effort. A good leader understands this.


    • Hello Trevor,

      I believe one of the best ways to influence and add value is to be intentional in lifting the people around us. Even if we don’t receive anything in return. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  • Great stuff man, as always. For me I believe #3 is a huge key. It will tell us if that relationship is worth fostering further or not.

    Can’t think of anything to add. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Jared. I agree, being authentic is key. Glad you stopped by to read and comment.

  • I think the last step is the one we most often lose. Developing a quick relationship seems often to be easy, but the real fruit comes when those relationships are maintained and strengthened over years and years.

    • I totally agree Loren. Any lasting relationships requires ongoing maintenance. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I think these are all great steps in building relationships. My question is this: how are we able to build these kinds of relationships with many people simultaneously? In today’s social media world we have new opportunities, but to truly know someone takes time.

    • I think we should integrate theses steps into our everyday encounters and the different relationships we have (No matter if it’s the start or a relationships that has been going on for years). I think you made a great point about time, relationships take time to build. Thank you for adding to the topic and discussion.

  • Comprehension list, Dan. Awesome actually. The only thing that I might add to it is to pray for the people in relationship.

    • A essential addition Floyd. Those who pray together stay together:) It’s applicable in a marriage and in our relationships. Thank you sharing.

  • I really do love this! I’ll be sure to share it…

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for being willing to share it:)

  • Bernard Haynes

    Excellent list. I like #’s 3 & 8.

    • Thanks Bernard. Those two are important. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Dave Arnold

    Great post, Dan. Number 7 rang true for me… especially coming out of my Book Launch last week. I felt so much support and realize how vital it is to surround ourselves with supportive and encouraging people. And you are one of them!

    • That’s great Dave. If we want to do great things it requires having a team around us. It’s great that you have so many people around you who are supporting and lifting you up! Thank you for your friendship.

  • Tim Bonner

    Hey Dan

    I can’t think of anything to add to the list but I really enjoyed reading it.

    #3 can be quite difficult but if people don’t like you for who you are then they’re really not worth knowing.

    • Hello Tim,

      Thanks for reading the post and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I totally agree about #3 being difficult but essential.

  • We can’t do it all alone, we need to be forming meaningful connections. Good relationships can take you to places you didn’t think were possible. I’m grateful for the amazing relationships I’ve been blessed to make!

    • I totally agree Kimanzi. It’s all about connecting and building relationships. It leads to great things! Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Hey Dan,

    You know I think the most important on the list is maintenance. It’s easy to stop feeding and nurturing a relationship once it gets some traction. It’s easy to let your contact with people get cold and dormant. Especially considering all the busyness we have in the world today. Without maintenance you lose whatever ground you gain, so it’s really something to focus on in my book. :)

    • I rank it as one of the most important ones as well. Good relationships are the result of maintenance. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

  • Dan, I love every item you list and the fact that you began it with “Start.” Leaders don’t blame, they look for ways they can initiate solutions and they reach out to others to join them.

    • Hello Alan,

      It’s all about taking the initiative to start a relationships. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

  • You’ve already hit on trust, but this doesn’t just mean violating a confidence or continuing to be friendly. Being dependable is huge. The leaders I’ve lost respect for have frequently failed in this area. It’s so important to keep examining ourselves. Thank, Dan!

    • I totally agree Melanie. Once a leader loses trust it’s nearly impossible to gain it back. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

  • I think just being intentional and honest makes a lasting relationship happen which you have already stated. I know some people that only tolerate you because they are in a circumstance with you. However, the people that really care can speak their mind no matter if you like it or not. And you can still be friends and learn from each other. That is an important factor to me, it shows me they are authentic. Great list Dan.

    • Those are two very important points Lincoln. Those who are authentic and can be open and honest with us are the best friends to have, because they stretch us and allow us to grow. Thanks for being a good friend bro!

  • Hi Dan

    Many times we take our relationships for granted and don’t stay connected and then wonder why they don’t sustain over time. People drift apart if they don’t say hello once in awhile. But other relationships that are close to us on a daily basis, we assume others know how we feel. We should take the time to remind others how important they are to us.

    As you said in #4 trust is important. If someone tells you something privately, it should stay that way. If they can’t depend on you to keep information to yourself, how can they honestly trust you.

    Everything you say is vitally important to good strong relationships, whether business or personal.


    • Hello Mary,

      I hear you. I also think it happens when we go through a different season of life than the other person. like getting married, having kids, or even something like chasing our dreams. Different seasons of life have the potential to cause us to drift away from some relationships. The good thing though is that it also can provide us with the opportunity to move toward people in similar seasons of life.

      Trust is so essential to have and maintain. I think we all need to make it a point to have and maintain trust with the people around us.

      Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation:) I appreciate it.

  • I can’t think of anything harder than #1. You have to get past any fear of rejection (or other excuses) and make it happen. Thanks!

    • I agree, initiating can be hard but it’s worth the risk. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  • Being selfless. We have to think about the other person first when it comes to building relationships. We have to be intentional about meeting their needs, and not just trying to build relationships to fulfill our own.

    • Great point Juan. Being selfless is a huge one. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  • Hi Dan,

    It’s great to be at your blog!

    I absolutely loved reading your post on building and maintaining relationships. I think you covered all the points brilliantly. I just wanted to re-emphasise the point you made about leaders taking the initiative to start a relationship and not holding back. This is something I’ve been doing more of recently and your post has inspired me to continue doing so.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Hiten,

      Glad to have you here. Taking initiative is so important. To gain influence and add value begins by us taking the first step to start a relationships with someone. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • Hi Dan – this is a great list. I love the ‘lifter’ one! I think I’d add ‘allowing’ or ‘accepting’ – as in allowing the other person to be themselves, accepting them for who they are rather than trying to change them into the person you’d like them to be.

    • Hello Sue,

      Great addition. We have to be genuine and also accept who the other person is. That’s important. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and add to the discussion.

  • RobG

    Hello Dan, great write up, I like number 5. it is important to communicate with people even on the web. I think most people don’t realize how this plays a key roll in building your online presents.

    Thanks so much for the share my friend.

    • Thanks Rob:) I totally agree, I should have said online and offline relationships are essential. To have a successful online platform requires relationships. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • I don’t really have anything to add to your list but I do think it’s also important to remember that we should save the deepest relationships for those closest to us. We can’t expect and shouldn’t try to have deep relationships with everyone around us. We are limited by our time and mental/emotional resources. Generally I try to focus on family, church and those who alongside me at work. I figure those people are the most important to me and vice versa.

    • I totally agree Caleb. All of our relationships can’t be deep connections. I think we would burnout if we tried to put all of our time, effort, and energy into all of the people that we connect with. I strongly believe family should be at the center of our deep relationships then some other specific people(like the one’s you mentioned). It goes back to leading home well so we can influence and impact others well. It’s great to hear from you, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us:)

  • Theodore Nwangene

    Hi Dan,
    You have an awesome community here indeed. I really agree with you on this post especially the first tip which is STARTING.

    Most people always like waiting for others to reach out to them first before they can connect which in opinion is because of pride.

    One thing i love about blogging is the relationships I’m building along the way which is worth more than money. I like this post Dan, i will be back.

    Off to start more relationship…..Hahaha

    BTW: Thanks for coming over at my blog, you rock man.

    • Hello Theodore,

      I totally agree with you. I value relationships and the wisdom from the comments more than site traffic or making money online. I think once we value people and intentionally build relationships in turn the traffic/money will come. But we always should focus on people/relationships first.

      Let’s keep growing those relationships. I’m looking forward to connecting more with and learning from you. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Excellent post. Relationships are one of the most important aspects of anyones life, whether it be personally or professionally. Nobody gets through life alone and once we begin to create healthy relationships is when we begin to shine.

    • Hello Nate,

      Some how I missed your comment, sorry for the late response:)

      I totally agree, relationships are essential and valuable in all areas of our life. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation. I appreciate it.