Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views :

4 Ways To Ruin Business (And Romantic) Relationships

348 Views
Business is about building relationships – there’s no secret there. 
Relationships with bosses, employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders… all part of the rich fabric that makes business work, whether you are a global organisation or a small company.
If any of those relationships break down, the impact can be devastating both for the individual and the organisation.  

 

And yet, interpersonal skills training is far down the list in most companies. Technical training or compliance training are consistently implemented and updated – but not so with this key element of Emotional Intelligence.  

Alongside self-awareness, which helps you realise the impact of your words and actions, the way you communicate is vital to building and maintaining strong relationships.

Relationship expert and author of the ‘7 Principles for Making Marriage Work’, Dr. John Gottman, researched the elements that cause relationships to breakdown. He called them “The Four Horsemen” – let’s take a look at how we can apply them to business relationships.

Words like never and always are quite emotive. Avoid them and stick with what is under discussion right now.

 

Criticism

Rather than stating “I asked you to deliver this report to me by Friday lunch time, and you did not”, criticism would sound like “you never deliver anything on time, and when you do bother to, it’s usually half done. I can never rely on you”.

In this case, the complaint that this report is late today is turned into a personal attack on someone with the implication that they are untrustworthy, lazy, uncaring, sloppy and unreliable.

Rather than criticize, plan what you will say. Words like never and always are quite emotive. Avoid them and stick with what is under discussion right now – the late report.  

Say how the late report has impacted you (I had to give an incomplete report to my boss), and how you feel about it (I’m embarrassed to hand in unfinished work).  

Then, say how you would like things to be in the future (from now on, can I please have the report at 1pm each Friday).

 

People who can see the value of relationships, even if they are not fond of someone, focus on the common ground.

 

Contempt

This is a divisive sign of disrespect and disinterest in the other person. It is usually indirect using sarcasm, mockery or “humour” and can be accompanied by such things as eye-rolling and insults. It can be coupled with belligerence which is more aggressive. Both traits are poisonous in a relationship.  

People who can see the value of relationships, even if they are not fond of someone, focus on the common ground. Controlling the use of cynicism and sarcasm are a start to stemming the flow of contempt. 

Sometimes getting to know someone better makes them more human to you, and you can be more tolerant. No one, no matter how annoying or stupid you perceive them to be, deserves to be demeaned and belittled. Contempt will never allow the development of effective and productive relationships.

 

Defensiveness

Studies show that being defensive rarely has the desired effect in that it does not cause the “attacking” party to back down. 

So for example, the late report conversation might go something like this:

Boss:  You never delivered that report to me last Friday evening like you said you would.

Employee:  I didn’t have enough time to do it – this is the third report I’m working on, I just can’t do them all at the same time.

Boss:  Well why didn’t you tell me on Friday instead of leaving me hanging like that.

Employee:  I thought you would remember you already gave me two other reports, and you didn’t tell me you needed it for Friday. You never give me a timeline.

Boss:  Yes I do, you just never keep to them…  I’m sick of telling you… and so on.

Defensiveness is  a passive-aggressive way of blaming someone else (often the other party) for the situation. This only makes the “attacker” more aggressive or perhaps defensive themselves, and you end up in ever decreasing circles which go nowhere.  

These three stances (criticism, contempt and defensiveness)  are not a process – they often exist side by side in highly charged conversations – ping ponging over and back and often spiraling out of control very quickly.  

 

To overcome defensiveness, you must listen carefully. It doesn’t mean you have to agree but it does allow you to see the other perspective.

 

The outcomes from these exchanges generate, at a minimum, upset, stress and anxiety, but at their worst,  badly broken relationships which can never be mended. Some family feuds continue for generations in this vein.

To overcome defensiveness, you must listen carefully to the other person with a view to finding a way to solve the problem (so the focus is on the problem) that fulfils both parties’ needs. It doesn’t mean you have to agree but it does allow you to see the other perspective. This opens the door to finding common ground.

 

Boss:  You never delivered that report to me last Friday evening like you said you would.

Employee:  I didn’t have enough time to do it – this is the third report I’m working on, I just can’t do it all at the same time.

Boss:  What other reports have you got on your plate right now?

Employee:  Well I have, X and Y and then this one. There’s a huge amount of research required for each of them and a massive amount of data analysis.  I can’t just run them off.  

Boss: So, we have three reports to deliver to senior management. Let me know when you reasonably think you can complete each one, and then I can manage the expectations of the management team. 

 

This is a less emotional, more effective conversation and certainly less personal. It delivers a result that everyone can live with.

 

Stonewalling can often be used in organisations to stall change initiatives or frustrate project progression where parties are not in agreement with the changes.

 

Stonewalling

Stonewalling arrives later in the relationship when one of the parties just stops responding. They become overwhelmed by the other “3 horsemen” and so avoid the other party where possible. 

If they can avoid them physically they will, but if not, they just will not respond. This is avoidance and while it maintains a peace of sorts, the actual issue is not being addressed.

Stonewalling can often be used in organisations to stall change initiatives or frustrate project progression where parties are not in agreement with the changes. Ultimately though, if you want to work together the conflict should be opened up with an aim to resolution. 

If you are stonewalling, just try to participate in discussions– nodding your head or leaning forward to show engagement. Try to put your perspectives forward factually and unemotionally to give the other party an opportunity to engage with you.

 

Often people are not aware of how their behavior can impact others; often they think their behavior is OK.

 

It is very easy to fall into patterns of behaviour. Often people are not aware of how their behavior can impact others; often they think their behavior is OK. This is where higher levels of Emotional Intelligence are priceless.  

People with high EQ are tuned in to themselves and to their motivation for given behaviours. They understand that in order to get the outcomes they need, they must work closely with people who do not share their values, ideas and thoughts.  

They have the ability to see beyond the personal, to deal assertively and empathically with their colleagues. They can build relationships that will be conducive to productive business and organisational harmony.  

They also develop their “web” of relationships, their networks. They engage with those who can teach them, who are interesting and collaborative. It’s not just for the purpose of getting something from those relationships, but more to learn and share information or assistance. 

Being highly technically competent, for example, is important, but if you cannot work well with others then the value is lost.

 

For more advice on building your Emotional Intelligence see these great articles from Barbara:

Recognising Your Triggers to Avoid An Emotional Response

Are You Fooling Yourself About Who You Really Are? The Keys To Self Awareness

 

About the Author

Barbara Nugent

Barbara Nugent has over 20 years experience in large organisations, leading teams and holding senior management positions. She is passionate about helping others uncover and grow their personal and professional potential.

If you would like to improve your Emotional Intelligence, have a team workshop, have Barbara speak at your organisations or would like to know about one-to-one coaching programmes, contact bnugent@transilientcoaching.ie or visit www.transilientcoaching.ie

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • stumbleupon

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *