Why develop your relationship skills?
Humans are pack animals. We have a basic human need to feel connected and belong. All the models I've seen that describe our basic human needs include this element.
Good relationships with our work colleagues, our significant other, our friends and our family, are important for a happy life.
And, as the saying goes, "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family"...or your partner’s family.
We need good relationship skills to get along with the people we spend our time with.
Being able to build and maintain good relationships is fundamental to our success.
Nobody is an island!
The need to be able to lead and work collaboratively with a diverse (in every sense of the word) range of people is a key skill in the modern business world. This is especially true on projects, where there is almost always no choice but to work well and quickly, with people who aren’t like you.
Good relationship skills are the core to all interpersonal skills: leadership skills, team effectiveness, collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, influence, persuasion, communication skills, and unlocking the power of diversity.
There’s a saying that "people don't quit their jobs, they quit their boss" and research indicates this is true. In one study, 83% of people who left their job cited a poor relationship with their boss as the reason. Making the employee/boss relationship work is good for employee/job retention.
What difference would it make to you to have better relationships?
...and how do you do that?
SOAR - my relationship skill approach
Here's my 4 part approach that will enable your relationship skills and the quality of your relationships to “SOAR”
Being self-aware in terms of your natural communication and behaviour preferences, what is driving your behaviour and what is ‘going on’ for you in the moment. For example
Do you prefer focusing on high-level information or do you like to get into the details?
How are you feeling right now? Full of energy and motivation or a bit flat or distracted?
What do you want to achieve from this relationship or this conversation?
Having awareness, acceptance and appreciation of the fact that everyone is unique.
Not everyone is like you / the same as you.
Be willing to consider things from the other person’s perspective and avoid judging them through the lense of your own.
Step into their shoes and see the world from their point of view.
Realise that there may be things driving what they’re thinking, saying or doing, that you’re not aware of.
Recognise that any assumptions you're making about them could be wrong.
Developing attitudes that are helpful for good relationships:
An attitude of curiosity, collaboration and genuine human interest. What is going on for them and how have they reached their conclusions?
A belief that everyone has something to offer.
Acceptance that we are all fallible human beings prone to error.
Think different rather than "I’m right, they’re wrong" or "my way of doing things is right, their’s is wrong".
Remember that we are all doing the best we can and making choices we think are right in the moment.
Focus on finding a way to understand and work with the difference.
Take 100% responsibility for creating a successful win-win relationship.
Be clear in your own mind what ‘success’ looks like for this relationship. Why do you need to have this relationship? What would a win look like for you? What might it look like for them?
You can’t guarantee, control or directly change what the other person in the relationship will do. You can only influence and persuade and bargain using something that motivates them. So if you want the relationship to work, you need to take 100% responsibility for it.
We communicate with everything we say and do, so we are always communicating! The meaning of your communication is the response you get, so take responsibility for noticing and checking if you are coming across as you intended.
Taking 100% responsibility means being willing and able to adapt and adjust your own behaviour and style moment to moment. To do whatever you can to ensure that together, you create a win-win relationship that meets its purpose. Focus on finding a way to understand and work with your differences.
A key thing to remember is that owning the responsibility to adapt isn’t about changing who you are, or ‘giving in’ to someone else. It’s about changing what you do, so you can have the relationships you need or want.
It’s a bit like talking a foreign language. If you're English, you can’t expect to speak your version of English to everyone in the world and be understood (however hard we try - e.g. by speaking louder!).
You’ll get on a lot better if you make the effort to talk to people in their own language...and doing that doesn't mean you've stopped being English.
When it comes to relationships, being willing and able to flex what you do is key, so
Be more chameleon!
If you would like to build your relationship skills or focus on improving specific relationships in your life, coaching can help. Please book a free call and we can explore this together.
If you'd like to make sure you see all of my blogs, sign up here for my monthly email.