Have you noticed how successful people seem to easily expand their networks? Or how they are able to ask colleagues for assistance with just about anything? It may appear that they are more confident or sophisticated than others, but they actually are following a simple model of behavior that leads to lasting and loyal professional relationships.

1. They are kind to people at all levels

Respect for colleagues and employees in every position is not only the right thing to do, it's also a way to network. Acknowledge the responsibilities of every staff person; an organization's success depends on each team member.

2. They offer help without being asked

Successful people don't wait to be asked. They provide information when they hear what someone else needs. They send links to articles, the name of a good plumber, and referrals to other colleagues. They find mentors for new staff members.

3. They own their behavior

Everyone makes mistakes. What's different about successful people? They don't wait to get caught; they are honest and upfront about their mistakes and decisions.

4. They take a hit for the team

A true leader will not pass blame to a colleague or staff person. He or she will step in to handle a demanding situation or angry customer.

5. They ask for opinions and feedback

Asking for someone's perspective says that you value the person's experience and intelligence. It also means that you are willing to listen to people who may disagree with you, and they may have valid reasons you may not have considered.

6. They connect people

Successful people are generous in their introductions and in helping people find needed resources. One of the benefits of networking is getting to know a variety of people, and then using your network to connect those people who might not know one another.

7. They are genuinely thoughtful and considerate

They offer congratulations and acknowledge achievements. They send emails to maintain connections. They send gifts and remember important days. They are delighted when others succeed.

Real success is impossible without building and maintaining authentic relationships. When you treat colleagues with respect, you will be rewarded both professionally and personally.

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