Higher Education Innovation In Action

It’s All about Relationships – Relationships 201: Cohesive Words & Actions

Natalie Spooner, Sales Consultant Jun 09, 2017

Relationships 101: Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills
Relationships 102: Trust & Respect

In this series, I’ve been writing about the significance of relationships, in and out of the workplace. In my last blog post, I focused on trust and respect being core components in your successful relationships. Today, I’m building upon that idea, as I further explore the importance of words and actions working in cohesion.

I doubt any of us actually think we’re saying one thing and doing another… That means somewhere along the line, our perspective must be askew. So let’s start by looking inward. I know, I’m frequently asking you to self-reflect… perhaps emotional intelligence is another fundamental attribute amongst happy, healthy relationships (stay tuned for more on that topic). Once we know our areas of improvement, we can take steps toward aligning our communication with our actions. 

Take a look at these questions and answers to determine if you really practice what you preach.

1. Do you keep your commitments?

Yes – Great! When you consistently keep your promises, you’re slowly building the trust and respect others have toward you and proving you’re someone who can be counted on.

No – Work toward keeping your obligations. Explore whether or not you bite off more than you can chew or need to delegate better. As a piece of advice, don’t take on more commitments than you can handle. Before you commit, be sure that you have the resources to fulfill the obligation. For example, if you are lacking the funds to complete the project, you are in danger of not meeting your commitment. This unintentional situation can impact your reputation negatively, especially over time.

2. Are you able to offer constructive feedback and support?

Yes – Wonderful! Knowing what to say is just as important as knowing what not to say. Treating others as you’d like to be treated helps you keep that person’s perspective in mind. Be sure the feedback is information specific, issue-focused, and based on observation, not hearsay.

No – Remember, everyone makes mistakes. When giving feedback, first offer up praise, then discuss areas of improvement while being compassionate of the other person’s point of view. Refrain from giving blunt or unsolicited advice and focus on encouraging others, not criticizing them.

3. Are you capable of realizing the value others deliver?

Yes – Keep it up! We all appreciate being acknowledged for a job well done. Sincere appreciation goes a long way toward making others feel a sense of belonging. Don’t forget to say “thanks” – the simplest way to recognize the value he or she offers.

No – Recognize you can’t do it all (and why would you want to?)! Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, even you. Observe your own areas of improvement and distinguish others who excel where you don’t. An honest sense of your own shortcomings can really dish out a serving of humble pie, when necessary.

4. Do you display the behavior you’re seeking from others?

Yes – You are setting an ideal example! Your behavior sets the tone for how you’d like to be treated and reinforces the respect and trust you’re seeking from others. Continue showing others your commitment to integrity by projecting respect at all times.  

No – Remember, your good and bad behavior influences others. Harsh words and behaviors can seriously damage your relationships, so realize your actions cannot be easily undone. Treating others in a disrespectful way only drives a wedge between you both and further perpetuates animosity. Worst of all, it creates an atmosphere where ill-mannered behavior is acceptable.  Don’t forget the little things; for example, if you don’t allow your supervisees to use social media during work hours, hold yourself to the same standard.  

5. Are you able to forgive and move forward?

Yes – Compassion is key. Just because you forgive, doesn’t mean you’re easy to fool. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we all make mistakes! Be quick to forgive and you’ll find you’ll be quick to be forgiven at your next slip-up.  

No – Identify any areas of resentment you’re holding onto and work on letting them go. Hanging onto negative feelings over previous mistakes creates toxicity in your relationships, so focus on solutions, not problems. Stop playing the blame game. Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change and takes time and self-reflection.

Positive relationships are critical to your success, not to mention your happiness, so make sure your words and actions are in alignment to exemplify trust and respect. Without consideration for others, trust and respect most certainly will fall by the wayside. Enhance your personal and professional relationships by nurturing them!