When someone leaves a company, why do they and most of their co-workers rarely stay in touch for more than a few months?
How do former bosses, coaches, and mentors become just memories instead of being part of an ongoing win-win relationship?
Why do friendships turn into acquaintances and then move to ‘someone I used to know?’
The reasons range from trivial to ridiculous, but ultimately the relationship was viewed as disposable rather than indispensable.
How can we avoid this trap? First, acknowledge there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. O.K. We can all agree on that…the hard part is doing it and not letting one fall by the wayside. For example, instead of only remembering criticism from a former boss, focus on the positives of the relationship.
Second, be flexible and overlook the imperfections in others. I know…another straightforward, yet difficult to implement piece of advice. Try not to concentrate on how your former co-workers bugged you. Remember, most days they actually agreed with you on how to do things and you got along 80% of the time.
You also have to be forgiving. We all have different expectations from each relationship. Sometimes, people don’t even realize they are making the relationship one sided. In other cases, your styles may be completely different and you’ll have to compensate by being creative and forgiving. You also might want to tactfully let the other party know where you are coming from and what your expectations are.
The key is to look at each relationship in a different light. Work to make them indispensable, rather than disposable and both parties will reap the benefits.
Hey, I never said it was easy!
David M. Mastovich, MBA, is the president of Massolutions, a Pittsburgh based Integrated Marketing firm that focuses on improving the bottom line for client companies through creative marketing, selling, messaging and customer experience enhancement.