Regardless of what you want to achieve in life, you will need the help of others to achieve it. You need to build relationships with people who are in a position to offer you help and support. You could try and assert authority and dictate to, and bully others into doing what you want them to do. While this approach may work in the short-term, in the long-term you are going to create damaged relationships where nobody wants to help you. If you want to be truly successful, you need to build better relationships and this requires emotional intelligence.
Whereas old style management practices were based on shows of strength and exerting authority; emotional intelligence allows you to build better relationships, based on mutual respect and understanding. While the use of fear and authority tend to lead to immediate improvements in employee performance, the effect soon wears off. This requires more scare tactics. Before too long, employees are running for the exit door. When you build better relationships with emotional intelligence, the results can be startling. People like to help those whom they like and respect. They don’t need to be forced into helping them; they willingly volunteer. Whether you are dealing with employees, management, customers, colleagues or peers; when you use your emotional intelligence to build better relationships, you create a team of people who will do anything within their power to help you succeed.
How to build better relationships with emotional intelligence
The following list will provide you with some great tips for how you can use your emotional intelligence to build better relationships and increase your influence.
1. Set an example
Be an example of the type of attitude and behaviour that you wish to see more of. If you would like to see more confidence in the workplace; demonstrate your own confidence e.g. back your decisions, tell people about the goals you are aiming to achieve and how you plan to achieve them.
Rather than waiting for people to do things wrong before correcting them; catch them doing things right and praise them for it using positive feedback. Don’t just say well done, tell them exactly what they did right and how you, or the organisation, benefit from their efforts. This helps to create a positive, supportive environment which people want more of.
2. Learn to use your physiology
Your physiology and your psychology are closely linked. Try the following: keep looking up (not just with your eyes; tilt your head upwards) while trying to hold on to negative thoughts. It is nigh on impossible to remain in a negative disposition while looking upwards.
Next time that you are feeling confident, take a note of your body language e.g. your stance, your gestures etc. When you are feeling down, try to replicate this body language. If you hold yourself in that position, before long you will feel an improvement in your confidence levels. Top athletes and leading business men receive training on how to use their physiology to influence their emotions. They know that body language is the biggest factor in communication and that using their own physiology; they can influence their own emotions while inspiring and, motivating those around them.
When you know someone and you feel that you understand them, you are more likely to trust them. Sharing a little bit of information about yourself and your personal life can reap great rewards and enable you to build better relationships. It never ceases to amaze me when I encounter people who have worked together for years but know little or nothing about each other’s lives outside of the workplace.
Many managers could improve the morale and confidence of their team by scheduling time, first thing on a Monday morning, to have a chat about the weekend. Just a few minutes would allow the team to let go of the weekend, get to know each other better and bond. Because the content is not work related the discussion would be less threatening. Some companies spend thousands on bonding sessions when a few minutes, once per week, would reap bigger rewards.
Note: Emotional intelligence requires that you have the ability to determine what is suitable to share and what is not.
4. Don’t condemn; coach!
When somebody does something wrong, it can be easy to jump into condemnation mode. You may feel that you have the right to point out the errors of their ways; especially if you have suffered due to their actions. The problem with this approach is that you close down the channels of communication and lose your opportunity to influence change. Next time that somebody does something wrong to you, ask yourself ‘ Is it more important that I point out their flaws or, that I help them eliminate those flaws?’ The irony is that if you jump straight into pointing out somebody’s flaws, you will lose your opportunity to help them change.
If you are dealing with somebody with poor time management; lecturing them every time that they are late will not help. They are more likely to develop a degree of animosity towards you. If you choose the coaching approach; you choose to focus on the behaviour and end result. Rather than attacking them, it’s all about changing the behaviour and ensuring that they produce better results in future. This approach really helps you to build better relationships and is even more effective when you are also using positive feedback.
You can learn to communicate effectively with How To Talk So Others Will Listen.
5. Put yourself forward
Don’t be afraid to be seen as an expert or, to offer your knowledge and skills. Many people feel that they are bragging when they state their qualifications or, state that they have an expertise in a particular area. Expertise is not about knowing everything; no expert knows everything about their area of specialism. It helps to have a wealth of knowledge but it is just as useful to know where to turn to for the necessary information. People are more willing to trust those whom they view as experts thus leading to better relationships.
My brother left school aged 15 to work in the family business – a butcher shop. There was one customer who, every time that my brother served her, she would ask my father to add it all up again to ensure that it was correct. There was never a mistake. It seemed that she didn’t trust him because he left school so young. Coincidentally, my father had also left school at fifteen but his seniority had earned him trust, credibility and expert status in her eyes. Expertise earns credibility in the eyes of others. If you have qualifications, experience, awards etc. don’t be shy about letting others know and, offering to be of assistance.
Emotional intelligence is essential if you wish to build better relationships which can help you to speed towards your goals and objectives. The ability to manage your own emotions is critical to success. When you broadcast positive, supportive emotions, you will get a far better response from those who you interact with. When you build better relationships with emotional intelligence, you build a team of people who are happier, better motivated, more confident and, willing to do anything they can to help your cause. It takes time, effort, patience and a little courage to build better relationships but the positive effects are long lasting. That is the power of using emotional intelligence.
Image credit: Rajvitthalpura