Viewpoint: Robert McFarland
Many people want to have better relationships at work or at home, but they are unwilling to do what needs to be done to develop them.
Good relationships don’t just happen. They have to be carefully cultivated. If you want to have better relationships with others, then you must be intentional and consistent in growing those relationships.
Here are five ways you can develop better relationships.
1. Get Real Today more than ever, people crave authenticity. They want to know that you are who you say you are. Therefore, it is imperative that you are real with others.
The fastest way to earn trust with others is to be real with them. By dropping your guard around others, they will feel like they can drop their guard around you. That will help you develop a framework upon which you can build your relationship.
We should be willing to be open and real and truthful with others. Help them to see that you are who you are all the time, and that you will share the real story with them all the time. If you do that, they will want to trust you all the time.
2. Get Clear Clarity is one of the greatest gifts you can give others. It is important to be clear in what you trying to say as well as in how you are trying to say it. You can help everyone understand your perspective by thinking through first what you want to communicate and then how you communicate it.
Your words have to mean what you think they mean. When sending texts or emails, re- read what you’ve written to make sure it makes sense. If it is unclear, then start over again. It is always better to take the time up front to explain what you mean. Try not to have any hidden meanings in what you say. Remember, to be unclear is to be unkind. By communicating clearly, you will develop better relationships.
3. Get Listening We are not listening when we are talking. We have two ears and one mouth. We should use them in proportion.
We should be humble enough to listen to others. Take time to listen to somebody else even if you don’t think you can learn anything from them. In fact, listen to them especially if you don’t think you can learn anything from them. You may be surprised by what you will learn.
By showing that you genuinely want to understand others, your actions will say so much more than any persuasive words you could say. By making the effort to learn what others genuinely think and feel, you will develop better relationships because you were willing to listen.
4. Get Open The free flow of information is essential to a healthy work or family environment. When information is withheld, people will fill in the gaps on their own. Based on the limited information available, people will make assumptions and perceive them as truth. That is a dangerous situation for people to operate in — because they are often wrong, but never in doubt. The more open you are about how things are going, the more they will think you are sharing all the information available to share.
Try to look at information like water: It stagnates when it stays in one place. Help the information flow, and do not let it stagnate with you.
5. Get Together When we don’t have face-to-face contact with others, something gets lost in translation. When we talk with others about attitudes and feelings, only 7 percent of our communications are composed of the words we use. An additional 38 percent of our communications is attributable to how we say it. But a whopping 55 percent of our interpersonal communications is made up of the body language that we use. That face-to-face contact is essential to our understanding each other.
When we don’t have in-person communication, we tend to assume that we know what others are thinking. We can assume the worst when we don’t have face-to-face conversations. If we aren’t face to face, then we don’t see eye to eye.
People crave human interaction because we are relational beings. You can develop better relationships if you are intentional and consistent — and if you are willing to do what needs to be done to develop those relationships.
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, “Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew” and “Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew.” Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies improve their employee cultures to make the companies healthier, more productive, and more profitable.