In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry defines relationship management, the fourth component of emotional intelligence, as “your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.” If we were to jump right into attempting that without considering anything we’ve covered in this column over the last few months, I’m guessing most folks would be ready to throw in the towel; I sure would! But when we can build on what I’ve shared with you to this point on Self Awareness, Self-Management, and Social Awareness, this last piece isn’t nearly as overwhelming!
When Cindy and I help organizations build more effective communication into their cultures, we almost always have everyone in the group complete a scientifically validated DISC assessment, so we have clear understanding of their communication style – their unique blend of the Driven, Inspiring, Supportive, and Cautious styles that William Marston outlined. Once we have their results, we create a team chart that shows everyone at a glance, and we teach them how to use an online tool to compare their own individual results with any other member of the group. Not only does that “Interaction Guide” tool provide some amazing insight for having more effective discussions in the workplace, but it’s also just as helpful if we use it in our personal lives!
If you’ve read this column for a while, you’ve likely seen me reference The Platinum Rule. Where The Golden Rule suggests we “do unto others as we’d have them do unto us,” The Platinum Rule takes that a step farther by suggesting that we “communicate with others as they want us to communicate with them.” This plays a huge role in building better relationships – at work or at home!
If I were to always communicate with Cindy based on The Golden Rule, sharing the big picture and glossing over the majority of the details that I don’t care all that much for, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be celebrating our 22nd anniversary soon! And if she followed that same approach when sharing anything with me, the caution and detail would be far more than I could take in… By understanding our unique communication style blends though, we had a framework to build on. And the “Interaction Guide” tool took that to a whole new level by providing us with Strengths, Struggles, and Strategies we each needed to be aware of when communicating with one another. That tool also gave us perspective on what the other is motivated by, needs from the conversation, wants from us in the process, and may find it difficult to do themselves. And since the tool is interactive, we can make adjustments based on our how our communication style blend changes when we’re under significant amounts of stress!
Once we develop even a decent understanding of how to put tools like we’ve worked through here over the last few months into practice, we should be seeing the results right away. With better communication, especially communication geared at meeting the other person’s needs rather than just our own, we show them that we care about them, and our relationships grow stronger. As Travis Bradberry said, “people who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people… Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished.”