If you asked me what is the most important skill for Executives to learn, I would not hesitate to say, Relationship Building. With the right relationship skills, most challenges are overcome. If you asked me what is the most important skill to learn so that one can effectively build lasting relationships, I would say, there isn’t one, it’s a multi-faceted gestalt and a journey for which you have to pace yourself.
What I can say is that perhaps you must learn to discern which relationships are worth building for the long-term and which relationships are best left as temporary acquaintances. Some are meant to be long-term acquaintances. But, remember, that some long-term relationships go through time apart, and life always offers us surprises to keep things interesting. The only guarantee is change. Grace & dignity are the benefits of endeavoring to learn the communication skills that building enduring relationships that enrich our personal and professional lives.
So with this preamble, let’s look at what communication skills work best to build lasting relationships. Mother always said, Never close the door on anyone! This meant, Don’t burn your bridges, you never know when you might meet up with them again. Sometimes, in the most ironic of circumstances, you can wish you had left a door open for communication. Someone who once had little influence in your life might find themselves in a position of great influence. This is so important that I mention it right away. How we position ourselves to any number of relationships is an important strategy for life in general.
For example, you will want to keep most people at an arm’s distance to avoid relationship complications. We can’t be everything to everyone, and really we can’t be everything to even any one person, to which most married people will attest. Each person in the real world will find that there is only so much time and energy we can devote to any one relationship, let alone the network of friends, neighbors, associates, and others we must get along with on an on-going basis. The key is to understand our personal boundaries and objectives and allow for others to have their own as well, while we negotiate terms of engagement.
Learning to speak our truth with compassion is very helpful in winning the trust and respect of most people. Not only do we learn how to listen patiently, but when we do speak, do so more compassionately, and make sure we have heard & been heard accurately. Even though both may be native English-speaking individuals, the risks of misunderstanding remain enormous, even amongst dearest companions. Verify you understood correctly before you comment on what’s been said.
Once you are ready to voice your opinion, a little humility goes a long way toward earning the respect of your listener(s). From here, we must develop win-win strategies to demonstrate sincere regard for everyone’s concerns. One of the most satisfying experiences in life is having successful relationships with the people in our lives. The effort to cultivate this network of trusted and respected friends, colleagues, and clients is well worth the time and energy spent.
For more information on these ideas or other Executive Coaching topics, please contact Teresa @ 415.289.2213
During the last 25 years, Teresa has been pioneering in the personal growth and transformation arena. Having developed more than 100 Personal Transformation programs, she offers her OPTIMUM WELLNESS PROGRAMS for individuals and groups. As Director for Corporate Wellness & Spa Consulting for Eclectic Health of Petaluma, CA, she enjoys working with Executives who need to bring their life into balance for both personal and professional success. Applying a holistic philosophy, she has a broad spectrum of programs that are tailored to fit the particular needs of each person, group, or situation. Her background includes a B.A. in Liberal & Expressive Arts from Sonoma State University, a landmark in the humanistic psychology movement. From there, she spent over 15 years in corporate, clinical, and spa environments, learning first hand the importance of wellness management, and developing content for executive coaching, retreats, & spa treatments. Simultaneously, she spent 18 years studying Re-Evaluation Counseling and leading related groups. Her coaching and consulting clients from around the world give rave reviews: Credit Suisse, Sun Microsystems, Wells Fargo, Smith Barney, UC San Diego, Napa Hospital, Hewlett-Packard, Great Expectations, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Planned Parenthood, XDeep, and many others. She spends her time between the SF Bay Area, L.A./San Diego, and Maryland/DC.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: “We have an unprecedented opportunity in the 21st Century to fulfill our human potential, collectively as well as individually. Here in the Bay Area, there is a history of pioneering efforts. With the impact of innovative, economic, and social globalization, it’s essential for each of us to re-humanize amidst our hi-tech world and develop personal and professional strategies to bridge diverging concerns. Everyone needs a wellness strategy for optimum results!”