shaking handsBy Van Moody

 Although relationships are a fundamental aspect of the business world, our dealings with co-workers and superiors, as well as clients and customers, are often riddled with strife. Difficult workplace relationships can cause anxiety, burnout, depression and even physical illness.

While it’s easy to blame the other person in a distressed relationship, it’s far more effective to build a mindset that helps us to better understand and control our professional relationships. The following are some suggestions:

* Don’t hide: While secret identities might be fun in the movies, a person who harbors secrets, and hides their fears, and beliefs from others will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. Being real and authentic with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including all-important trust, and forge unbreakable bonds.

* Don’t tweak the truth. Even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship. Keep your work relationships transparent and honest to build trust with your superiors, colleagues, and customers.

* Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will produce more desirable outcomes.

* Don’t be a “taker.” All relationships involve give and take, so it is important to recognize when each relationship could use more of a giving spirit. When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the heart of successful interactions.

* Don’t forget who and what really matters. The most valuable people aren’t always the most visible. All too often, those taken for granted are lifesavers that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights.

Van Moody is the author of “The People Factor” (an upcoming release by publisher Thomas Nelson) and a motivational speaker. He may be reached online at         This article will appear in the “LIfestyle Tips” insert in the October Employee Assistance Report. For more information, check out the “Employee Assistance Professionals” tab at