Norton: How to build winning relationships at home and at work

Strong, healthy relationships are the foundation for happiness and success, both at home and at work. Yet in our busy modern lives, it can be all too easy to let connections with loved ones and colleagues slip. So, how can we build and maintain winning relationships in all areas of our life?

At home, it starts with intentional quality time with family. Be fully present during meals, outings and important events. Put down devices and focus on each other. Share feelings openly and listen without judging. Laugh together. Express affection. Go for walks to talk things through. Play games face-to-face. Simple daily interactions build trust and understanding over time.

I remember a lesson that I learned many years ago from Zig Ziglar. In one of his programs, he talked about how important it is to be fully present. He used an example that I believe most of us can relate to. The scenario is that you are watching television, and a child or spouse says that they want to talk to you or show you something, and you respond by saying OK after this show is over or ask if it can wait until the next commercial. The message this sends is that the program or show is more important than our family members.

I’ll never forget the first time I applied Zig’s lesson to my life. I was watching “Monday Night Football” and my wife came in and asked me if we could talk about something. I reached for the remote and turned off the television immediately. My wife looked at me and asked me why I turned off the television, and when I told her that she was more important than any football game and that I wanted to hear what was on her mind. It was a real growth moment for our marriage and family.

Speaking of marriage, it is also important to nurture your marriage or partnership specifically. Go on regular dates, keep communicating and make intimacy a priority. And if you are looking for a great book about this, check out Zig Ziglar’s book, “Courtship After Marriage.” You can thank me later for that one. Support each other’s growth. Divide household responsibilities fairly. Allow space for individual pursuits. Appreciate each other’s differences. A strong couple connection radiates out to the whole family.

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With children, it’s about engagement. Get on their level, understand their world and guide them patiently. Set clear boundaries, but also give them freedom to develop. Encourage their interests. Be consistent and keep promises. Admit mistakes and apologize when you’re wrong.

Your dependable presence through ups and downs forms a secure attachment. Communication is very important to a healthy and winning relationship with our children regardless of their age. It’s easy to try and ignore the trying teenage years, hoping we can just simply survive them. The better idea is to talk to them even more during this time because if we aren’t the ones talking with them, they will only hear the world talking at them.

At work, building solid relationships starts with respect. Value everyone’s contributions, from the mailroom to management. Get to know coworkers personally and show interest in their lives. Offer sincere praise. Give credit where due. Listen to ideas and feedback. Express appreciation for help. Building camaraderie, and goodwill motivates higher performance.

Also, foster good communication. Clarify expectations. Address issues directly, not through gossip. Give regular updates. Be transparent about decisions. Discuss problems calmly without blame. Maintain confidentiality. Reliable communication cements professional trust.

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Winning relationships require effort but deliver huge rewards. At home, you build family bonds that last a lifetime. At work, you create an environment of support and collaboration. By consciously investing in relationships, you enrich every area of life. The connections we build with others shape who we are and determine our success and happiness.

The two most important words in building winning relationships are trust and communication, honest and real communication. How are your relationships going? I would love to hear your story at and when we are sincere and intentional about both building trust and openly and honestly communicating, it really will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.

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