Updated: May 2
The better our relationships, the more effectively and efficiently leaders and businesses can achieve desired outcomes……John Keyser
In organisations today, relationship management has become a focus area. So important, that huge investments are made to develop competencies that cater to this demand. Have you ever wondered why? The answer is quite simple but crucially important to understand.
Today’s business scenario has given us a number a choices to choose from. Vendors, products, services. You name it and a hundred choices spring up. With all these choices, it has become imperative to lead or stay in the game. This can only happen when one is able to inspire and influence others. To build a strong unbreakable bond with others, inducing loyalty. For organisations, it’s about building a solid relationship with customers that no matter what the competition is, cannot be erased.
Solid relationships and loyalty takes years to build. Once built, they are something that should be valued, cherished and retained. They are the result of how well we understand people and how we treat them. It takes effort and intention to bring out this kind of reaction from people around you. One should be aware of the emotions of the people with whom we interact and also skilfully manage our own emotions. Managing relationships is much more than being friendly. It’s about developing Emotional Intelligence (EI), to understand and deal with such aspects.
So, how does one develop the Emotional Intelligence for Relationship Management and Organisational Survival?
Here we will consider both, internal and external customers, both of who are important to the success of a business or organization.
Well said by David Caruso, ”Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both”.
A synergy, a perfect combination of our adaptability, relationships, and empathy defines Emotional Intelligence. If you take a look at the scenario that was, it was sacrilege to show emotions in business, fearing that your customers and competitors would think you weak. With time and exposure, businesses are learning that it is not so. Now Emotional Intelligence has become the ‘X’ factor in Relationship Management in businesses, across the globe.
Developing Emotional Intelligence (EI), matters a lot in today’s global business environment and requires a stronger communication across multiple disciplines. EI can be learnt by being a great listener, remaining calm in adversities, valuing and respecting customers and colleagues, connecting and empathising with them. It enables one to negotiate successfully, resolve conflicts, helps in team work and collaboration and achieve organizational goals. Relationship Management is the last domain of Emotional Intelligence. Success in this final area is directly related to success in the other three areas.
What are these four areas? Emotional intelligence consists of four basic capabilities/areas which are:
Within each of those four areas are specific competencies that set the leaders and performers apart from average. In this article, we will learn more about competencies which form the core factors enabling Relationship Management.
According to Daniel Goleman, the competencies associated with relationship management are:
Influence – Your ability to persuade others and win people’s support by being able to focus on what is important to others.
Leadership – Being the person that others choose to follow willingly.
Developing Others – Determining strengths of others and offering challenges to develop them.
Communication – Set the right tone for communication, to ensure the message is delivered successfully.
Change Catalyst – Willingly ask honest questions, be curious, welcome fresh ideas and recognize when change is needed.
Conflict Management – Realize when a situation is heading towards conflict and taking quick decisive action to resolve it at the earliest.
Building Bonds – Establish an extensive network of colleagues, acquaintances and friends from whom you have mutual benefits.
Teamwork and Collaboration – Outline your success criteria in such a way that everyone can make their own unique and valued contribution in achieving organizational goals.
These Relationship Management competencies are often associated with Leadership Competencies. Inadvertently so, because these form the core areas which set leaders and performers apart. Equally relevant for personal change, these competencies inspire and motivate people, by tapping into their strengths, influencing them to perform, to achieve success and fulfill organizational needs.
Today’s focus is on building the above competencies to improve relationship management. It’s not just about communication, it is also learning more about the other person and responding sensitively. The critical factor in Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Management is that, one is not expected to be strong in every competency, but it would help to keep an open mind, develop new strengths and enhance existing ones. Remember, the key to achieving success is retaining and cherishing long-term relationships. As truly quoted by Richard Branson, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections”.