How are you already using your relationship building skill?

This week you‘re learning some of the characteristics that will help you practice your relationship building skill (trust, mutual respect, mindfulness, diversity and inclusion, and open communication). Discuss how you are applying at least one of these characteristics in your life right now at home, work, or school.
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· THIS WEEK…
You will learn how therelationship building skillhelps people with different backgrounds and levels of expertise come together. Practicing your relationship building skill throughout your life and career will allow you to exchange ideas and develop solutions in the modern workplace. By relying on and utilizing the expertise of others in your networks, you‘ll also be able to grow your abilities, look for new jobs, strive for personal and professional achievements, and reach your goals.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS?
Someone who has honed their relationship building skill genuinely enjoys being around—and collaborating with—other people. They understand the value of different points of view, they ask others for their thoughts and ideas, and they always give coworkers credit where it‘s due. People who build strong relationships are supportive of colleagues. They make time to connect with them, even when they don‘t necessarily need to for a specific project. These are the people that everyone wants to work with, and being in-demand is extremely helpful as you advance your career.
DEVELOPING YOUR RELATIONSHIP BUILDING SKILL
You may already be adept at building personal relationships but are unsure or uncomfortable about doing the same at work. Fortunately, a lot of what you do in your relationships with friends or significant others can also be applied to your career.
As you work on this skill, consider these five characteristics that make up healthy relationships:
Trust.
It is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust your team and colleagues, you form a powerful bond that helps you work more effectively. For specific ideas on how to build trust with your coworkers, check out the
Harvard Business Review
and
Gallup‘s CliftonStrengths
.
Mutual respect.
Value what others have to say, and they will value what you have to say. As you work together, you‘ll develop solutions based on your combined insight and creativity.
Mindfulness.
Take responsibility for your words and actions. People who are mindful think about what they say before they say it, and they don’t let their negative emotions affect others.
Diversity and inclusion.
The next time you‘re scheduling a meeting, go out of your way to invite someone who you think will have a radically different approach to your problem. Listen to what they have to say and use their insights as you work towards a solution.
Open communication.
The more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be. For a refresher on honing yourcommunication skill, refer back to last week‘s reading.
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING IN THE WORKPLACE
No matter how smart or skilled you are, we all benefit from hearing other points of view. That‘s why people with a well-honed relationship building skill get better results at work. As you nurture various relationships, you will sometimes disagree with the people you work with. That‘s fine–in fact, it‘s actually a good thing. A differing opinion challenges you to look at a problem from another angle, and can often turn a bad idea into a good one…or a good idea into a great one. The best way to make that happen is to remove judgment and criticism from the conversation. Instead, see where the other person is coming from and find common ground. Yes, you may disagree on certain points. But where do your opinions overlap? Start with those similarities and work from there.
Here are several steps you can take to develop your relationship building skill throughout your career:
Identify your needs.
What do you need from others? What do others need from you? Answering these questions will help you build better relationships.
Make time.
Even if it‘s just 20 minutes, devote some of your day to connecting with others. You can do small things, like having a cup of coffee with a coworker, stopping by a colleague‘s office to say hi, or commenting on someone‘s LinkedIn post. Every interaction, no matter how small, helps build relationships. (And while it‘s not always possible, in-person interactions are ideal.)
Focus on your emotional intelligence, or EI.
That means you recognize your own emotions, which in turn helps you understand others‘ emotional needs. Focusing on your EI will also help you hone yourself and social awareness skill!
Show appreciation.
Everyone, from the office admin to the CEO, wants to feel that their work is recognized. So when someone does a great job, pay them a genuine compliment.
Stay positive.
Both positivity and negativity are contagious. Which one will others respect you for spreading?
Manage boundaries.
If a relationship with a colleague begins to take up too much of your time, set ground rules about when to be social and when to work.
Avoid gossip.
If you have an issue with someone you work with, be direct and talk to them about it. Gossiping to others will only make the situation worse.
Listen actively.
There‘s a difference between hearing someone and really listening to what they have to say. Listen when others speak, don‘t interrupt, and only jump in when you can add to the conversation. In other words, practicing yourcommunication skillwill help you hone your relationship building skill!
Reach out.
Have a question for a former professor? Curious about a job that a former colleague may know about? Don‘t hesitate to reach out to people in your network–that‘s why you built your network in the first place!
The better a team is at practicing their relationship building skill, the more likely they are to enjoy working together and to have stronger collaboration. Research has shown that relationships with coworkers were identified as the top driver of employee engagement. And that the quality of workplace relationships has a significant impact on many other workplace factors like job satisfaction, productivity, company loyalty, and more. It‘s no surprise this skill is in high demand (Society for Human Resource Management, 2).
Employers who want a high-performance workforce will continue to seek out employees who are able to form strong bonds to their coworkers, clients, and staff. And as technological advances continue to transform the modern workplace and make remote collaboration more commonplace, it‘s just as crucial that you‘re able to build healthy, positive relationships over email, messaging, and video chat.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS RIGHT NOW
Forming strong relationships in school can create a useful network you can rely on when you‘re looking for a job or career. It can help you develop a support system of peers or professors who believe in your success. It can also give you an avenue to ask for help when you need it. And, outside of school, your relationship building skill will assist you as you form committees, social groups, and grassroots organizations to support causes you believe in. Planning to join the PTA, canvass for a local candidate, or launch a side gig? You‘ll need your relationship building skill to be successful!
Honing your relationship building skill throughout your life will do so much more than help you build a bridge to others–it will help others buildyou upas well! It will give you the contacts and support you need to get where you want to go. Start with the Career Interest Groups on the
Strayer Career Center
website, where you‘ll find people that will bolster your confidence and help you build a strategy for success.
COMING UP…
Next week, you‘ll discover how yourproblem solving skillcan help you explore solutions to any problem in your personal or professional life.
For more information on what you’ve learned this week, check out these
sources
.
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