Happy Tuesday to everyone! Hopefully you are all adjusting well to the time change (I’m still trying to adjust and found myself racing for the door this morning). Today’s blog topic is about relationship management and was originally brought to my attention through an exercise we did during one of our staff meetings. I was asked to lead a discussion on Larry Roper’s article “Relationships: Critical Ties That Bind“, and even though it is geared toward higher education professionals, I still feel that there is a great deal of applicability to the “real world.”
Here’s a brief overview of the principles I felt were critical in everyday interaction:
- There is no such thing as an unimportant/insignificant relationship. All too often I will find myself buried in paperwork and racing toward a deadline when someone wants to come into my office and chat, which can be very frustrating as many of you know. However, every relationship that I have with either my students or coworkers is an important one and I should take time for them and be flattered that they would want to take time out of their day to talk to me.
- Patterns in conversation history determine the successfulness of our relationships. If there is a certain student or coworker that you always collide opinions with then you can at least be prepared for the outcomes of your conversations. Take time to place value on that relationship but still be ready for the expected outcome based on historical experiences.
- Don’t start a conversation unless you are committed. This is one of the most difficult principles for me. How many times do we have a conversation when we want to just hear ourselves talk or just need a quick opinion? It is important to take the time in conversation to show your interest in the other person’s well-being and personal life, as well as the professional help that you needed from them in the first place.
- Take care of the other person. Many times we can become so wrapped up in our work that we don’t realize someone is coming to us for something other than help with work. If they are coming to you because they are struggling with relationship troubles, family issues, or something else, make sure to listen to them and help where possible.
- Manage each other’s reputation. This is the most important principle and one that is the hardest to follow. The work place is often an area where gossip runs a muck, as it is one of the few places where personal and work issues collide. Instead of participating in the coffee break gossip, talk about the good things that other coworkers have done. The most difficult thing for me not to do is throw someone under the bus when I feel that they have wronged me. Take the extra effort to promote the positive attributes in everyone, and the reward will take care of itself.
What kinds of relationship issues do you struggle with at work?