How to build EXCEPTIONAL relations at work
I am not good at networking — ok, that’s not entirely true but I have never really enjoyed networking. Building relationships? Now that’s a different cup of tea altogether. Day 15 of “One Day, One Blog” — a challenge I set for myself for the month of January 2019.
A colleague recently complimented me on my “skill” to build relationships.
“Skill?””, I wondered.
Hmm…. I had never thought of it as a skill.
Yes, building relationships come easily to me. But I always thought of it as …well, I had never really thought of it. Least of all, as a skill.
Given that a significant portion of the troubles within organizations occur to do miscommunications and ego clashes between different teams/departments, relationship building as a skill bears a lot of significance.
If the sales team and marketing team are working at cross purposes, if the tech team and product are out on ego battles — this is a sure shot recipe for nightmare for any CEO.
Relationship Building — A Skill!
I was intrigued by my colleague’s compliment because if it is indeed a skill then it can be learned and taught. That set me thinking.
If I could teach teams the “skills” needed to build healthy relationships, then perhaps I can also teach them how to improve inter team co-operation. And this will have incredible value for any organization.
A combination of discussions, reading and introspection made me realize the 4 qualities needed to build this “skill”
- Mutual Respect — you need to respect the other individual ( be it in your own team or other team). And it saddens me that I have to say this loud but respect has to be given not just to your superiors but to your peers and subordinates as well. Respect is also not just about using polite words. Your actions should speak for you. If you have agreed for a meeting with a colleague and when the person arrives, you have gone off for a coffee break — what does it say about how much you respect the other individual?
- Humility — You do not know everything. Even to pretend that you know a lot in this day and age is painting yourself as ridiculous. Be curious. Be OK with the fact that you do not know everything. Be willing to accept that you are human and prone to making errors
- Listen — If I have said this once, I have said this a 100 times. A successful conversation is more about the ability to listen than having an excellent command over a language. It is an art. It requires discipline. If its worth giving your time to another person, then it is worth paying 100% of your attention to that person.. and not trying to “multitask” with your phone and answering emails at the same time.
- Share & Care — I learned this phrase from my l’ll niece but I think its fits perfectly well here. I have a friend called Balaji. In his own words, “Ruby and I speak once in 2 years”. I hold him in the highest regard for one small incident which he may have well forgotten. We were colleagues and newbies in a pre-sales team. I was working on an RFP and as the youngest member the onus of doing all the research fell on me. One particularly tough evening, I was struggling to complete my workload. I was under a lot of stress . Without me asking for help, he pitched in and helped me complete my task. He never got any credit for the work he did that day. And he knew that. He was still willing to help a friend.
- Trust and Honesty — This one goes without saying. It is very simple — would you like to be treated in any relationship without trust and honesty? I rest my case.
After I finished writing this down, I realized that these are very simple things… things that you teach your children. Things that we were taught as children.
As with everything else in life, in professional relationship building too, you only need to focus on the basics. Everything else will fall into place.