Personally and professionally, relationships are at the center of who we are. Whether they are with a parent, spouse, or child, or your boss, team, co-worker, or business partner, your most important relationships are worth the time and care you put into them.

As a leadership coach and business consultant, I see the benefits of making your most important relationships a priority every single day.

Great relationships not only make working easier; they also improve productivity. Deeply connected relationships cultivate trust and mutual respect.

Relationships take effort and hard work, but like anything important in our life, they're well worth preserving.

Here are some simple ideas to keep your relationships humming, at work and at home.

1. Make a dedicated time for those who matter.

Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it's just 20 minutes, perhaps broken up into five-minute segments. Let those who are close to you know that you see them as a priority.

2. Attack the problem, not the person.

When problems arise--and they will--take the time to understand the problem and the person. Instead of spreading blame,  take the opportunity to learn something and practice solving problems collaboratively.

3. Be the most positive person you know.

Positive people are grateful people; they know the measure of how to appreciate others. They focus on what matters to them and they make what matters them important.

4. Never jump to conclusions.

Don't respond to any situation until you have the whole picture. Nothing can cause more harm to a relationship than jumping to false conclusions, so let go of your biases and judgments. Learn to stay open-minded and work on getting informed.

5. Underpromise and overdeliver.

The best way to show people they're important to you is to follow through on your commitments. Give more than is expected.

6. Communicate candidly and honestly.

A good relationship starts with good communication. Don't let silence get between what you have to say to each other. Good communication has to be developed, and the process takes effort. Don't stop talking when something needs to be said and don't speak when someone else needs to be heard.

7. Be passionately appreciative.

Everyone wants to be appreciated. Don't wait for perfection to strike; just appreciate and enjoy your colleagues, family, and friends for who they are.

8. Connect through service.

Too many relationships are built on each party wanting to get something out of the deal. But the only way a relationship will last is if you treat it as a place where you go to give, not to take.

Working on your important relationships is a way of life that's worth pursuing--because the quality of those relationships is the quality of your life.