What makes a great partner

great partner
What makes a great partner? Is it having an unlimited number of connections? Is it being a “rainmaker”? No, being the best partner is about being someone that can be counted on, through good times and bad. The best partners have each other’s backs. Below are 5 attributes that I think make a partner truly remarkable.

  1. Gratitude: I cannot stress how important it is that a partner feels appreciated. This means showing your appreciation in two ways, words and actions. When working with partners I often find that one partner may feel underappreciated, as if their contributions and efforts are not valued. This type of thinking is the biggest factor in the deterioration of the partner relationship. When one partner feels devalued or unappreciated they begin feeling resentment and looking for an exit strategy. Take the time to notice the little things your partner contributes, and make sure that both parties feel they play a pivotal role in the partnership.
  1. Respect: True and equal partners respect each other, their work, and their partnership. Even when partners disagree they do so with a mutual understanding an respect towards each other. There’s no room in the professional workplace for insults and profanity. Nor is there room for yelling and verbal aggression. Partners must respect each other as equals and respect the work that they put into the partnership, regardless of agreement or disagreement. Keep in mind that each partner has their own individual strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important that partners pay off of those attributes to the benefit of the partnership. Yes, respect is something that is often “earned” and respect in a partnership should be looked at being something that cannot be taken away unless it’s through negative actions, or actions that hurt the partnership, like disrespect and unprofessional behavior.
  1. Amiability: In most cases, partners of a firm have common interests and common goals. Therefore, it’s easy to like each other when finding common ground.  If this was not the case, they probably would never have become partners in the first place.  For a partnership to maintain its amiability each side must communicate regularly, and appropriately with each other, while also working on the relationship in general. Partners that like each other are proud to share their time and expertise with each other. They also treat each member of the partnership with an appropriate amount of respect, both professionally and personally. Amiable partnerships have an easier time working towards a singular goal and share their achievements with each other regularly.
  1. Trust: Trust is the foundation that any fully functioning partnership is made from.  Trust is not typically something that comes freely, instead it is earned over years of hard work and dedication, along with respect. Partners may not outwardly talk about trust, but it is an unwritten rule that trust is a core value that partners must live by in order to maintain a productive and positive relationship. Transparency is a great way of building trust with partners.  A partner that is not afraid to share the inner workings of their business decisions and opportunities is showing the other partners that not only can they themselves be trusted, but that they also trust each other in the knowledge obtained. Partners who have an established level of trust should be careful not to break that bond, as trust is hard to earn back once it has been broken.
  1. Pay attention: There is one common attribute that every successful partnership has, and that is the willingness to listen to new ideas openly and without judgement. This also includes allowing partners to voice their own concerns and frustrations. Partners who have the ability to not just hear, but truly listen to a partners needs are more likely to have the ability to problem solve together, and show a mutual respect for all parties involved. Finally, it’s not just about listening either. Partners who  respect and listen to each other share vital information about clients and the firm, without having to be prodded, coaxed into revealing information that is vital to the success of the partnership.

Being a great partner is more than just the sum of all the parts mentioned above. Partnership is about teamwork, dedication, trust, respect, and the mutual goal of making a firm extraordinary.