Relationship management is using your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully
Relationship management involves clear communication and effective handling of conflict. It is the bond you build with others over time. You need to be able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those you are not so fond of. Solid relationships are something that should be cherished. They are the result of how you understand people, how you treat them and the history you share.
The weaker the connection you have with someone, the harder it is to get your point across. The difference between an interaction and a relationship is frequency. It is a product of the quality, depth and time you spend interacting with another person. Relationship management poses the greatest challenge during times of stress. Conflicts at work tend to fester when people passively avoid problems because they lack the skills needed to initiate a direct yet constructive conversation. Conflicts at work can also explode when people don’t manage their anger or frustration and choose to take it out on other people.
Three strategies to improve relationship management
Enhance your natural communication style – Whether it’s putting in your two cents when others are talking or shying away from disagreement, your natural communication style shapes your relationships. In your emotional journal jot down what your natural communication style is – think about your interactions with family, friends or colleagues. Is it direct, indirect, comfortable, serious, entertaining, chatty, curious, cool or intrusive? Jot down the upsides of your natural style – these are things people appreciate about how you interact with them. Then write down then the downsides; when your style has created confusion, weird reactions or trouble. When your list is complete, choose the three upsides that you can use more in your communication. Next think about three downsides and strategies you can use to downplay or improve them. Be honest!
Take feedback well – Feedback is a gift. It is meant to help us improve in ways we cannot always see on our own. Feedback can sometimes feel like opening a present and finding a pair of red striped socks on Christmas day. Not quite what you expected. When you are about to receive feedback ask yourself these questions “How do I feel when I am on the spot and surprised? How do I show it? What response should I choose? Tune into your social awareness skills and just listen to what is being said. Ask for examples to gain a better understanding of their perspective if needed. After you receive feedback use your relationship management skills to decide your next steps; don’t feel pressured to rush into action. Take time to sort out your feelings and thoughts and help you decide what you want to do with that feedback. Once you decide what you want to do with that feedback, follow up with concrete plans. If you take the feedback you receive from people seriously, it helps build and solidify your relationship with them.
Don’t avoid the inevitable – Some people just get under your skin – whether it’s the way they communicate with you or express their feelings. Sometimes you have no choice and have to deal with people who press your buttons. In a work context you may have lots of these type of people to deal with and you put off going to meetings with them etc. Do not avoid the person or the situation because you deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn better self-awareness, self-management and social awareness skills. Watch your emotions and how you manage them. Put yourself into their shoes and observe their body language and how they respond to you. You may frustrate the other person just as much as they frustrate you!
Relationship management an Emotional Intelligence imperative
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