In everything you do, in anything worthwhile achieving, you’ll need the support of people…
To be able to read others’ emotional language, to understand and empathize with them, and to build strong and lasting connections, are probably the most important skill-set you’ll ever need to launch yourself into each new level of the journey towards achieving your goals, no matter what that may be.
Because in everything you do, in anything worthwhile achieving, you’ll need the support of people to get stuff done.
In this final article of the emotional intelligence series: relationship management will be explored as a way to build strong relationships, effectively lead change, or manage personal change.
Relationship management includes identifying, analysing, and managing relationships with people inside your team, (or business, or family unit), and helping them develop through appropriate feedback, guidance, mindfulness, hope, and compassion, whilst working towards the goals you set for the team, or for yourself.
In other words, you need to apply certain emotional intelligence skills, or competencies, to influence people to do what you want them to do, in such a way that they look forward to the journey alongside you with excitement and joy.
Relationship management competencies
According to psychologist, science journalist and author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, the competencies associated with relationship management are:
Influence – To articulate your points in persuasive, clear ways so that people are motivated about the expectations. You therefore should be a compelling communicator.
Conflict management – To use your emotional intelligence skills (as outlined in previous articles in this series) to improve relationships, negotiate, and lead. You’re able to can disputes, opinion differences, and misunderstandings.
Change catalyst – To not resist change, but to recognize the need for change, and you support the process 100%.
Developing others – To provide feedback effectively with compassion, and are good at helping others build their skills and knowledge.
Teamwork – People feel relaxed working with you. They laugh with you, and share things easily around you.
Collaboration – To create, maintain and sustain networks with all stakeholders, and further collaboration within teams.
These competencies are often associated with leadership but they are equally relevant to any personal situation or managing personal change.
How well you can apply these competencies, will depend on your ability to communicate, influence, persuade, and lead whilst being direct and honest without alienating people.
Why relationships are important
Human beings are naturally social creatures and we all crave friendships and positive interactions.
Good relationships give you freedom, focus and opportunities. So, the better your relationships are, the happier and more productive you’re going to be.
Self-esteem, contentment and the capacity to flourish, are all influenced by your relationships with family, friends, team mates or partners who in turn can make the process more enjoyable, innovative and creative, due to everybody’s different perspectives.
Healthy relationships can provide support, affection, excitement and love.
Overall, you would want to work with people you’re on good terms with. However, when relationships go wrong, they can be a source of distress and sorrow, so be careful who you bring into your relationship circle.
Healthy relationships are built upon:
Trust – This is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust the people you work with, you form a powerful bond and facilitate more effective communication. When you trust the people you love, you are open and honest in your thoughts and actions.
Respect – When you respect people, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom and creativity.
Mindfulness – This means you are mindful and careful of what you do and say, and in turn pay attention to, and consider, what they say.
Diversity – You understand people have different opinions, and you factor their insights into your decision-making.
Communication – All good relationships depend on open, honest communication. The more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be.
Building and maintaining good relationships will not only make you more engaged and committed to your goals, family or organization; it can also open doors to better projects, career advancement, happiness, fulfillment and relaxing times with friends and family.
How to build better relationships
Before you can manage any relationship, you need to analyse and manage the effect people have on you, your emotions, and your feelings – and in turn be aware of the effect you, your actions and behavior have on them.
Think of all the different ways to interact with the group or person who will be part of your project, and the different reactions you might get when you say or do something. Also think how your personality will align with theirs, and in what specific situations you may not get along.
Only then can you decide how best to interact in order to achieve the outcomes that best suit your and their needs.
Here are a few tips before you start:
Identify your relationship needs – Understanding your own and their needs is instrumental, and therefore, every person in your relationship stakeholder circle deserves extra time and attention.
Develop your people skills – Learn soft skills such as collaboration, communication, conflict resolution, influence and the art of persuasion.
Manage your boundaries – Be assertive about your boundaries, when and how you will interact with them, and that you know how much time you can devote for outside social interactions.
Appreciate – Show your appreciation whenever it’s due. Everyone, wants to feel that their work – or what they do for you – is appreciated. So, genuinely dish out compliments.
Schedule times – Devote a portion of your day to form stronger bonds between you and the other person.
Accept differences – Learn to embracing difference rather than attempting to change the other person to be the same as you.
Share positive feelings – Share kindness and thoughtfulness.
Operate in the present – Avoid focusing on past grievances or trying to think too far ahead. Much can happen and need present thinking and solutions.
Learn how to deal with difficult relationships – Sometimes you’ll have to deal with someone you don’t like, or can’t relate to. Make a real effort to get to know the person. Focus on finding things you may have in common.
Learn to negotiate – Consider your own perspective and that of others, identify the important issues for both parties. Look for common ground and for opportunities to trade. Give to the other party what’s most important to them.
Be assertive, not aggressive – Assertiveness is based on balance. When you’re assertive, you are self assured and get your point across firmly, fairly and with empathy. Aggression is based on winning. You do selfishly what is in your own best interest without regard for others. You may come across as pushy, and take what you want without asking.