When we talk about project management relationship skills, we often talk about the art of building relationship and understanding what it takes to do so. However, the first basic step is to acknowledge the individual by a simple smile or nod. Or do we often just walk and stare away pretending that we never saw the person in question. It is an interesting situation as in that time and point, that individual and relationship may
- Mean nothing to you
- Be associated with a level of contempt or anger
- Not be within your confidence levels to bridge the gap between what you are currently thinking and connecting with the individual.
We have all been there and we should acknowledge that but then the value of project management is about building these relationships in or outside work. So instead of walking by with a gaze into the surrounding hinterland why don’t we instead with a smile, nod or even a wave type of relationship.
The reality is that in many cases, a smile or nod is as far as you want to go with the relationship and that is totally fine. Why push the boundaries when there is no need to do so and why extend yourself beyond what is needed. It is a reciprocation of what you receive but the fact of doing it gives you the knowledge that you are managing the relationship at the level you need to plus you are investing in the relationship to a level that is appropriate. And maybe this can even lead to interesting conversations and new opportunities as you go forward. The point I am trying to make here is that what seem a custom or a habit is actually the starting point of relationship management. By not investing in this, you are very often refusing to incorporate the most basic level of relationship management.
So instead of Walk and Gaze away, we are encouraging you to smile and nod but this is the start of the relationship management stuff. While a beginning, there is still more to do, here is what we believe are the steps in developing a relationship:
- Smile and Nod: – Good relationships start with an acknowledgement of the other individual. Encourage yourself to engage with others in a non-intrusive and open manner. The smile and nod is exactly this and what it can achieve is of immense value
- Take Time to Build Relationships: – Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it’s just 20 minutes. For example, you could pop into someone’s office during lunch, reply to people’s postings on Twitter or LinkedIn, or take somebody out for a quick cup of coffee. These little interactions help build the foundation of a good relationship, especially if they’re face-to-face.
- Focus on Your own Strengths: – Recognise your own emotional / relationship building strength. Focus on how you go about things and how you can manage yourself in situation with other people. The reality of your position is now others will perceive you. Understand your own strength and how you like to deal with other people. By understanding this, allows you to understand how to approach others.
- Manage Your Boundaries: – Make sure that you set and manage your own boundaries. We all have friends at work, but, occasionally, a friendship can start to impact our jobs. Sometime the friendship become personal and you may, with fully recognizing it, make allowances based on friendship rather than professionalism. Understand these boundaries and understand how to manage them.
- Be Positive: – Try to focus on being positive, there are enough people out there who will try to ‘dethrone’ you positivity. Positivity can make a difference and is attractive and contagious. It will help strengthen your relationships with those around you. No one wants to be around someone who’s negative all the time.
- Avoid Gossiping: – Don’t gossip. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping about the situation with other colleagues will only escalate the situation, and will cause mistrust.
These are some pointers on relationship management techniques. They are not rocket science but require a presence and a self-understanding. However, it all starts with a smile and a nod.