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Business leaders value trust

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A new study has pointed out that the ability to trust other people was ranked highest in a survey of 1,000 business managers in the UK, when asked what they thought was “essential to forming business relationships”.

Long-term business partnerships were most common if people were involved in the supply chain (74 per cent) and finance advisers (61 per cent).

A breakdown in service and “lack of communication” were also named as threats to forming strong business relationships.

Why do we have this business culture in the UK? Iain Walker, Head of SME at E.ON, who undertook the study, said: “There’s an idea that there’s no time for emotions or sentiment in business but strong bonds are needed in both commerce and our personal lives.”

The evidence is that business communications resemble personal relationships far more than perhaps we’d like to believe. Indeed, an ‘it’s only business’ attitude is mostly limited to English-speaking countries. Around the world, it is more acceptable to have business relationships with some personal friendship on the side, because a friendship comes with trust. 

Indeed, within the study, it was found that 65 per cent of respondents had to end their business relationships: the most cited reason was a sense of disloyalty (28 per cent).

Lynda Shaw, a cognitive neuroscientists and psychologist, who specialises in communication in business settings, comments on what business leaders need to build these relationships. “Being an effective communicator in a business relationship involves having excellent strategies in prioritising, being proactive, listening, understanding, following through on promises, positive reinforcement, being available, being informed, trust, finding solutions and much more. 
 
“These desirable qualities in a business relationship are of course very similar to those we demand in our  personal relationships and the digital age both enables and puts pressure on us to do this well.”

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