What are the skills that lead to real rewards – succeeding in life? Those are not skills in the sense that need to be mastered to apply on-the-job. Those are a few skills which we should be highly motivated to master as they become a part of our personality. In fact, this skill becomes the very essence of our personality, can help us foster good working relationships with others. Learning how to handle conflicts and communicate well are necessary skills to have a successful marriage, relationship, friendship, and work relationships. Our ability to manage relationships helps us not only handle our circumstances, but it also enables us to handle others’ reactions to those circumstances.
What does it take to master “relationship management” skills? It requires us to go through a step-by-step process of personal transformation. First of all, we need to enhance our “self-awareness” skills. To be able to do so we should spend time thinking about our emotions to understand the reason for a specific emotion. We should look at all those things that cause a strong reaction, such as anger to help us understand the underlying factors for that reaction. Although seemingly childish, counting to ten before reacting can help us manage such emotion as anger. This gives us time to calm down and think about how we will handle the situation. By doing this, we will begin to detect a pattern within ourselves that will help us explain our behavior and emotions in certain situations. This will help us to better control our behavior in similar situations in the future.
Second, we need to practice “self-management”, i.e. forgoing immediate gratification to meet our goals. This is a critical skill for creating the kind of life we envision. There are many people who end up adrift in life with no real goals or purpose owing to their lack of self-management. However, many other people find gratification in practicing self-management on a daily basis, because they choose to have goals that set the direction for their life. In fact, it does not take much to improve our self-management skills, all that is needed is to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Practicing positive self-talk can help increase our self-management. Self-talk refers to the thoughts we have throughout the day about ourselves and our situation. Part of self-management is knowing ourselves and being able to set goals based on our understanding of personal needs and wants.
The third skill is increasing our “social awareness”, i.e. becoming good at observing others’ actions to get a good sense of how they are behaving in various social settings. Remembering people’s names and making sure we watch their body language is the first thing that we should do for developing social awareness skills. Often, we can get too tied up with ourselves and fail to notice how another person is feeling. Someone who “gets” the social cues, can develop positive working relationships and motivate people. Practicing listening skills and asking follow-up questions are also critical and will help us improve our social awareness skills. Living in the moment can help our interactions with others as well.
Finally, strategies for “relationship management” entail such behaviors as:
– Being open and acknowledging others’ feelings, i.e. showing that we care;
– Listening to our partners, friends and colleagues and understanding them on a personal level;
– Being willing to accept feedback and grow from it, this will help people be more comfortable talking with you;
– Understanding your work style – some people work better in the morning, while others – at night;
– Scheduling important tasks for times when you are at your peak, and learning to say “no”. Everyone has a limit, and your ability to say no without impacting your relationships is an important social awareness skill.
Lastly, being positive about personal limitations and accepting them is an essential mindset to have when we are focused on self-improvement. We cannot expect things to stay the same for very long, likewise we grow and change, establish new relationships and set new priorities. Paying attention to and being aware of where we are in our relationships and where we want to be will reignite our creativity, and commitment to life-long self-improvement. The better we get at managing ourselves in our relationships the more successful we will likely be in life.