We have already discussed the first 4 types of professional relationships: Inner circle members, friends, supporters, and lifters. Those are the main types of relationships you should have and maintain. As you will see, the last two are only infrequent or necessary but unhealthy relationships. Let’s discuss them now,
An acquaintance is a person you somewhat know and have had limited contact or a minimal relationship with. It might be a person who works in the same company but a different division as you, a client or customer you are just acquiring, or a new team member. These are the people you come in contact with every once in a while, you can get to know and deepen the relationship if you wanted to.
Your acquaintances have the potential to eventually turn into inner circle members, friends, supporters, or lifters. In fact, it would be wise to keep your eyes open for the acquaintances that could move into one of those areas. 17th century writer Samuel Johnson said, “If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone.” Every strong professional relationship you have now started as an acquaintance. You should treat every acquaintance with the same respect and value as you would one of your stronger relationships. A general rule is to be friendly and apply the Golden Rule which is to, “Treat others the way you would like others to treat you.” This will help you to earn the respect and influence of the different acquaintances you encounter. It can turn people into supporters, lifters, or friends.
6. Dangerous or toxic
Not every professional relationship is beneficial. There are those that can hurt the team and your leadership. These are dangerous or toxic people. The traits of these people include:
- Those who typically have a bad attitude
- Those who gossip, spread lies, and blame
- Those with a frail work ethic
- Those who negatively influence and impact others
- Those who don’t have character, integrity, or a moral compass
- Those who refuse to grow and resist change
- Those who are not team players
- Those who are self-centered and only want personal success or recognition
If you’re a leader with these types of people on your team and they refuse to change, you should remove them from your team. If you have to work with these types of people the best option is to set and maintain boundaries and expectations with them. Even though you might need to work with or frequently come in contact with them you can make sure to distance yourself from them, at least as much as possible, while still fulfilling your work requirements.
Questions: Do you have these types of people in your life? How are you building deeper relationships with your acquaintances and how do you avoiding dangerous or toxic relationships?
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