What is relationship management?
Your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and the emotions of others to manage interactions successfully.
Relationship management is also the bond you build with others over time.
People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not found of.
Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished.
Strong connection with others are a result of how you understand people, how you treat them, and the history you share.
This skill requires you to use self awareness, self management, and social awareness to manage your emotions and the emotions of others.
The weaker the connection you have with someone, the harder it is to get your point across.
If you want people to listen, you have to practice relationship management and seek benefits from every relationship, especially the challenging ones.
The difference between an interaction and a relationship is a matter of frequency. It’s a product of the quality, depth, and time you spend interacting with another person.
Relationship management poses the greatest challenge for most people during times of stress. According to the authors of this book, over 70% of people surveyed have trouble dealing with stress, it’s easy to see why building quality relationships pose a challenge.
Some of the most challenging and stressful situations people face are at work. Conflicts explode when people don’t manage their anger or frustration.
What does a score of 95 in relationship management look like?
Gail C, CFO (95)
Gail has an intimate ability to read people and their emotions, and she uses what she learns to create a safe and inviting forum for discussion. There has never been a time Gail’s door hasn’t been ‘open’ when I needed her, and she always manages to maintain a pleasant and professional manner even when her workload is demanding.
People know that they can count on Gail and what they say to her in confidence will be respected and not repeated.
Gail is very sensitive to others and tries to make situations better. When someone is upset, she asks just enough questions to get a handle on the situation, and then is able to give concrete advice and help to the other person, making them feel 100% better.
Gail makes you feel smart and confident when she delivers feedback, even if you’ve made a mistake. She helps her staff improve and grow, and she sets a good example for dealing with people assertively and speaking up.
Even during tough conversations Gail is concerned about maintaining good, comfortable relationships with all parties involved. Gail finds out something about the other person’s interests and inquires about it when meeting, even if it appears there is no common ground.
Gail has a firm handle on her own emotions and almost seems to feel what you feel when she is talking with you, which helps you feel like she relates to you and understands you.
Allister B. (93), Physician
Alister is a wonderfully patient, empathetic listener, which is why his patients love him.
He tries very hard to be non judgmental and gives people the benefit of the doubt. He is the same way with the nurses and technicians.
I’ve seen Alister in situations where his patients’ families were asking difficult questions, and he was able to remain calm and answer without alienating the family member asking the questions.
He listens carefully to what others say and never shows if he is upset or bothered by it. He responds kindly but with authority.
Alister’s interaction skills are supreme.
In situations that I’ve witnessed him less than pleased with a specific outcome, he has always expressed his position with thoughtful insight about his expectations without anger or outburst.
I’d describe him as direct, yet free from confrontation or sounding out of control. He is also quick to praise the staff’s efforts and success when deserving.
He is good at seeing the overall picture and then counseling in a compassionate and realistic manner.
“I have never left Alister feeling anything less than 110%. He knows when to approach an issue sensitively, and knows when to give praise and encouragement. Alister knows his colleagues very well, and this enables him to handle conflict in a calm and positive manner.
He’s respected for collecting feedback before drawing conclusions. He tries to find the best way to communicate with others, even when there’s an atmosphere of resistance, confusion, or outright conflict.
His ability to empathize with others is outstanding, and it creates positive, strong relationships.
What does a score of 65 in relationship management look like?
Dave M, Sales Manager (66)
“If Dave doesn’t see eye-to-eye with someone, he makes it apparent that it’s not worth developing the relationship. I wish that he would still dedicate the time and resources necessary to make a win for the territory.
When he feels that a certain person he is working with may not be an ‘ally’ but someone not to be trusted, he will be very clear about his opinion about that person.
This has a ripple effect on the people he tells, and it erodes camaraderie. Dave is usually effective when he gets to know people better, and trusts that they are not a threat, but he’ll have to get over this if he wants to keep climbing the ladder.”
“Dave can get over-excited when meeting new people and this can be a good trait, but some people don’t respond to his enthusiasm, and they pull back from him. It makes it hard for them to connect with him. I would like to see Dave work on unifying his team, and dispel the feeling that some decisions are made based on his personal opinion or bias. Too often, people feel as if they’ve had their professional opinion ignored in spite of providing a solid foundation for that opinion.”
“Dave always reacts to people rather than responding to them. To have a strong opinion is fine, but to dismiss others’ thoughts is not. He also needs to tailor his communication style to the person. His approach is nearly always very direct, which can be difficult for some people to handle.”
Natalie T, Floor Supervisor (69)
“Natalie often minimizes a person’s point of view or experience.
She justifies bad situations by stating that it could always be worse, you just don’t understand, or you should just get over it.
She comes across as blunt and not empathetic, particularly with her subordinates. I want her to be more genuine in her interactions with them, and show a general appreciation for others.”
“Natalie needs to stop finding faults in every situation. It is tiring and de- motivating. She needs to start recognizing people’s achievements. There is a stigma that exists that Natalie is tough, difficult to work for, and unapproachable. She may achieve results, but at the expense of others.”
“I would like to see Natalie avoid making judgmental or negative statements to her team, or others, when her statements add no value. Helping people see what could be done different helps them develop, but her continued negative feedback comes across as her feeling the need to belittle people. People no longer value her input, and at times view it as her need to be seen as superior.”
What is my relationship management score?
Assessed on: June 2017
*24 yrs old, During MBA, while working at PL
Self Awareness: 51
Self Management: 43
Social Awareness: 45
Relationship Management: 45
Re-assessed on: Feb 2019
Self Awareness: 63
Self Management: 61
Social Awareness: 58
Relationship Management: 57
*Just arrived in Taiwan
SELF MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT TIPS:
Not holding back when actions and/or words will not help the situation - Count to Ten
Making decisions without adequately considering alternatives - Set aside time for daily problem solving
Trouble handling frustration - Breathe right
Tackle a tough conversation.
Tough conversations will surface and it is possible to calmly and effectively handle them
The following methods can help you navigate these with poise.
Start with agreement
Whether it’s simply agreeing that the discussion will be hard but important or agreeing on a shared goal, create a feeling of agreement
Ask the person to help you understand his or her side
People want to be heard—if they don’t feel heard, frustration rises. Before frustration enters the picture, beat it to the punch and ask the person to share his or her point of view. Manage your own feelings as needed, but focus on understanding the other person’s view.
Resist the urge to plan a “comeback” or a rebuttal
Your brain cannot listen well and prepare to speak at the same time. Use your self-management skills to silence your inner voice and direct your attention to the person in front of you.
Help the other person understand your side, too
Describe your discomfort, your thoughts, your ideas, and the reasons behind your thought process. Communicate clearly and simply; don’t speak in circles or in code.
Move the conversation forward
Once you understand each other’s perspective, even if there’s disagreement, someone has to move things along.
Keep in touch.
The resolution to a tough conversation needs more attention even after you leave it, so check progress frequently, ask the other person if he or she is satisfied, and keep in touch as you move forward.
Offer a “fix-it” statement during a broken conversation.
Airline agents are often the bearers of unavoidably bad news in person – weather delays, delays due to mechanical repairs, lost luggage, overbooking. The list goes on. Airline agents attempt to repair your broken experience with fix it’s or tools - rebooking your flight for you, giving you a free hotel night voucher - to problem solve and address the ultimate goal to get you to your destination.
We’ve all had conversations where we could use a fix it. A simple discussion breaks into a disagreement or gets stuck. Past mistakes may get brought up, regretful comments are made and blame is present. No matter who said what, or who “started it” it’s time to focus on a fix it.
Step back, assess the situation, and begin repairing the conversation with a fix it.
Use social awareness to understand what the other person is feeling, look at both sides and come up with a “fix it” statement.
Fix it statements can be a breathe of fresh air
When dealing with a difficult conversation or an unhappy person, offer something to help “fix it”
“I know this is difficult, so how about we give you 50% off your next order with us?”
When Teresa’s men killed a competitors nephew, she offered some value in the form of helping him improve his business and she gave him a bag of cash saying “this is for his family” as a “fix it”
Align your intention with your impact.
Think before you speak or act
It’s critical to spot misalignments before you act, so that your actions match your impact with good intentions.
Maybe it’s the wrong time for a joke because it singles out a person specifically and you didn’t realize that, you were just trying to lighten the mood
Maybe you were not understanding what actually motivates your staff and pushing them when they needed a different tone, or space to learn and grow.
make an appropriate and sensitive response
Do a quick analysis
Think of a situation where the impact of what you said or did was not what you intended
Describe the incident, your intentions, your actions and the impact (reactions of others)
Write what you didn’t realize about the situation, fill in hindsight about missed cues, what you learned about yourself
What could you have done differently to keep your intention and impact aligned?
Make your feedback direct and constructive
(Hint: Paint a picture of what a model of success looks like)
Giving feedback is a relationship building event that requires all four EQ skills
Paint a picture of a model “what success looks like” and discuss ways to better match this model
Think about the best feedback you ever received.
The kind of feedback that shaped overall performance, how you deal with a particular situation or shaped your career.
What made that feedback so good?
I think the best feedback I’ve been gotten is when my friend was teaching me golf and instead of pointing out my “wrong form” or “what I was doing wrong (initially)” he instead showed me a “model for success” including showing me an example of “successful golfing form.” Then he let me go back and correct myself to better match that “model” of “what success looks like”
this type of feedback doesn’t attack, feel like personal criticism or cause me to feel angry or ashamed, it’s having me look at a model of success and personally correct and adjust myself.
It’s like a reminder of “this is what success looks like” and allowing me to adapt myself to better meet this
Explain your decisions, don’t just make them.
People experience fear when they are in the dark and decisions are made for them
If you have a habit of making decisions quickly and independently, you’re likely very personally competent but it’s time to add social copetence to your decision-making repetoire.
Instead of making a change and expecting others to just accept it…
First, take time to explain the why behind the decision, including alternatives, and why the final choice made the most sense. Asking for ideas and input ahead of time is also great.
Finally, acknowledge how the decision will affect everyone.
People appreciate this transparency and openness, even though the decision may neagively impact them.
Transparency and openness make people feel like they are trusted, respected and connected to you - instead of being told what to do while being kept in the dark.
Keeping an eye ahead…
1. Spot upcoming decisions - look over your calendar for the next threee months to identify which decisions need to be made.
2. Work backward to see who will be impacted by these decisions.
3. Make a complete list of who will be affected by each decision
4. Plan when and where you will talk together about each upcoming decision including details explaining why and how each decision will be made.
5. If you must, invite people to a special meeting for just this purpose
6. Put yourself in their shoes before and after you make the decision
What high Relationship Management scores look like:
When you care, show it.
(Hint: small appreciation gifts)
One morning, I was groggily going into the elevator of my office to start another day. It had been a long night the day before; I had stayed late so I could finish some projects for my boss.
When I got to my cubicle, I saw that there was a fresh black-and-white cookie and a card that said “Thanks for filling in the black and whites.”
It was from my boss who is usually so busy.
I was floored that she had found a few minutes to slip into a bakery on my behalf and get into the office early to put a cookie on my chair. I just about cried at her thoughtfulness.
Talk about simple things that go a long way. That cookie motivated me to work even harder, and I did so happily with fierce loyalty.
There are people who do great work around you everyday. When you care, show it.
Don’t hesitate, do it this week or today!
Things as simple as a greeting card or something else inexpensive, yet meaningful, that sums up how you feel are all you need to make an impact and strengthen a relationship.
Act in a complementary manner to the person’s emotions or situation.
picking up cues and adapting to them fast allows us to respond to another persons emotions (anger, frustration, annoyance, terror, joy) in a way that doesn’t mirror the persons emotions, or get caught off guard, but rather says:
“I recognize what you are feeling and think it’s important”
to cultivate this skill use social awareness to listen, be present, put yourself in their shoes, identify where someone is emotional and choose an appropriate and complimentary response.
Ask yourself when there was an emotional situation you experience and there was one person present.
How did that person respond to you?
Did their response help or hurt your mood?
Was the person able to compliment your emotional state?
Next, take a week to be at the ready with your closest relationships
Make your role to notice their moods and be there for them in a helpful way
Whether you are excited or concerned, show up in a way that shows you’re sensitive and care about what they’re going through
Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.
take a moment to acknowledge – not stifle or change, other people’s feelings.
Simple acts can acknowledge emotions without making them a big deal, marginalizing them, or dismissing them
Everyone has a right to experience feelings, even if you might not feel the same way.
You don’t have to agree with the way people are feeling, but you do have to recognize those feelings as legitimate and respect them.
take some time to pay attention and notice feelings
reach out to show you care, take an interest
ask, “I’m sorry you’re upset. What can I do?”
listen to a person intently express their feelings and summarize back to them what you heard
Don’t avoid the inevitable
(Hint: work effectively with people you may not fancy)
If someone annoys or bugs you, but you must work together effectively, don’t avoid meeting them or put off contact.
Find a way to make it work, at least to complete the required work.
Accept the person and the situation
watch your emotions and make decisions about managing them
use social awareness to put yourself in the person’s shoes
Observe their body language and how they respond to you
Share your preferences and work style and come to agreement on how to move forward collaboratively
Only get mad on purpose
(Hint: Determine when, how to show it to grow the relationship)
Anyone can become angry – that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not easy.
Anger has a purpose and if you manage it properly and use it purposefully you can enhance your relationships.
Expressing anger in appropriate ways communicates your strong feelings and reminds people of the gravity of a situation.
You need to be honest with yourself and others to improve the deepness of connection and sometimes that means using anger with a purpose
In comparison, expressing anger too often or at the wrong times makes people desensitized to what you are feeling, making it hard to take you seriously.
Become aware of your anger
Think about and define various degrees of anger - annoyances, to being sent off the deep end
Write down specific examples to explain when you feel these degrees of anger
Determine when you should show your anger based on the criteria that sharing it will actually improve your relationship somehow
Think about the other people involved and their responses
Have an “open-door” policy
(Hint: allow people to you access you)
access sums up the “open door” policy
it means allowing people to have direct and easy access to unscheduled, informal conversations with you
You don’t have to be there for everyone at anytime - simply communicate your access policy and stick to it
Increasing your accessibility can only help improve your relationships, it opens the door to communication
People will feel valued and respected by the time you’re giving them and you get an opportunity to learn about others.
Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use
a certain level of trust must be present to build trust
Trust takes time to build, but can be lost in seconds, and is arguably our most important and most difficult objective in managing relationships
to manage relationships you need to manage your level of trust of others
their trust level of you is critical to deepening your connection with them.
How to build trust?
Open communication, willingness to share, consistency in words, actions and behavior over time, reliability in following through on agreements of a relationship
share about yourself - be brave enough to be first to lay some of yourself out on the line and share something about yourself. Share parts of yourself at a time, don’t need to be a completely open book.
Identify relationships in your life that need more trust, use self-awareness to ask yourself what’s missing?
Use social awareness to ask the other person what needs to happen to build trust - and list to the answer.
asking shows you care about the relationship, which will help build trust and deepen relationships
Take feedback well.
Feedback is a gift
It’s meant to help us improve in ways we cannot see on our own.
You never know what you’ll receive in the box, so sometimes getting the gift of feedback is like opening a present and looking inside to find a lovely thing or an angry animal.
Surprise can catch us off guard when receiving feedback, so we need to use self awareness to prepare ourselves to receive the gift.
What do I feel when I’m on the spot and surprised?
How do I show it?
What response should I choose when I receive any form of feedback (good or bad)?
How can I use self awareness to identify any feelings from the feedback AND self management to choose what emotions and how to respond?
Consider the source - the person probably has a relevant perspective (they know you, have seen your performance) and has an interest in seeing you improve.
Listen to Hear What is Really Being Said - use social awareness to find out what’s really being said, ask clarifying questions to understand the person’s perspective.
Thank them - whether you agree or not, thank the person for willingness to share, it’s sometimes not easy to give feedback and they are giving you the gift by sharing their perspective so you can improve.
Avoid giving mixed signals
(Hint: Don’t say one thing while your body is saying something else emotionally)
You confuse and frustrate people when you say one thing and your body and tone say another.
Emotions rise to the surface and are expressed in our body language, tone and posture.
When you say one thing while your body is reacting to an emotion you previously experienced minutes ago, you will send mixed signals and cause confusion.
Over time this confusion will cause communication issues that affect your relationships.
Use self awareness to identify your emotions, and self management to decide which feelings to express and how to express them at the appropriate times.
Remember the little things that pack a punch
(Hint: Thank you, I appreciate that you did this, I’m sorry, please)
Most workers say they never get thanked for their contributions at work, yet agree that hearing “thank you,” “please” or “I’m sorry” has a positive impact on their moral.
Make it a habit to thank people for their work and contributions, say “thank you,” and “I’m sorry” when needed more often, these simple phrases go a long way in work and personal relationships.
Enhance your natural communication style.
Natural communication style shapes relationships. Use self awareness, self management and social awareness to enhance your natural style.
What is your natural communication style?
Direct, indirect, comfortable, serious, entertaining, discreet, controlled, chatty, intense, curious, cool, intrusive?
Write down your natural communication style
List a few downsides or things that have created confusion, weird reactions or trouble from communication style
Entertaining Communication Style Tips:
Try communicating with stories.
Try enhancing your communication with body language.
Try paying attention to vocal intonations, pace, pauses, loudness in communication.
Be open with others and be curious about others.
Being “Open” means sharing information about yourself with others. Use self management to choose how open you are and what you share.
When people know about you, there is less chance for them to misinterpret you. If you share with people why you are a certain way based on some life experience, they can understand you and your reactions.
If you share with others your experiences, they can understand your triggers and why you are the way you are, without misinterpreting you.
The more you show interest in and learn about others, the better you are at not misinterpreting their needs.
Use a curious tone, pick the time and place, to ask questions. You will learn information to better manage the relationship AND the person will show appreciation for your interest in them.
Take some time to identify a few relationships that need some attention, and make time to be open (share experience that shaped you to be a certain way) and curious (ask questions to better understand why someone is a particular way).