As I get older and have more extensive business dealings I realise how critical relationships are – both internal and external. A poor working relationship at any level can leave one feeling uncomfortable and unproductive. Understanding people and where they’re coming from as well as communication is vital to collaboration.

Once you appreciate this you can use the following list to avoid power struggles, which drain energy from your effectiveness.;

1. Communication Styles. All people do not communicate the same way. Once you understand a person’s style it can lead to respect not conflict.

2. Non-Verbal Communication. Non-verbal communication includes; body language, and tone and is no less important than verbal communication.

3. Learning Styles. People learn in different ways. When this is understood, communication can be geared to different styles and will have greater success.

4. Differing Values.While values need to be identified and respected, there are times when conflicting values can be so different that they cannot coexist on the same team. When mutually restricted values are encountered, collaboration is not recommended.

5. Boundaries.Be aware of peoples’ boundaries and then use this understanding to approach them respectfully. This will often avoid conflict and strengthen relationships.

6. The Self.By becoming aware of your own needs and styles you create a healthy foundation and the subsequent relationships are more solid.

7. Company Culture. Seasoned employees have come from different companies with varying company cultures. This must be identified and respected in order to ensure successful integration into the current company.

8. Culture of the Country.Some employees come from different countries, each with a different culture. These differences must be understood, articulated, and respected.

9. Family Cultures.Recognize when the source of the conflict is based on someone’s family/personal issues. This enables you to choose not to get involved in a battle that is based on their family history.

10. Individual vs Team.Take the time to identify and then address both individual and team dynamics – Business success is directly related to getting this right.

Remember. The most powerful business relationships are built on generosity and have genuine best intentions!