WALK THE TALK - SOME IDEAS ON IMPROVING INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

 Build Trust
• Be predictable and reliable
• Communicate clearly. Avoid saying you
   will do things you do not intend to do.
   Be clear whether making a commitment
   or just talking about possibilities.
• Take your promises seriously. Write,
   review regularly and act on them.

Help Others To Be More Reliable
• Do not take trust for granted. Take action which reduces risk of
   breakdown in trust e.g. avoid leaving money lying around.
• Trust others when they deserve it. Do not let your aversion to risk or
   perfectionism or need for control stop you from delegating.
• Be specific and clear in encouragement and criticism. Give constructive
   feedback which is fair and accurate

Treat Problems As Opportunities, Not Crimes
• Use each incident of apparent unreliability as an opportunity to reduce
   the likelihood of it happening again.

Two Bad Apples
Make a list of the people you work and interact with. Ponder about the people you get along with and those you do not get along with (if any). What is the reason?
  
Consider and think about these things:
  • what you both have in common or not at all
  • how well both of you understood each other’s needs and wants
  • how well both of you understand the things that make
   the other person  
  • behave as they do
  • how much both of you enjoy or dislike each other’s presence
  • how much both of you tolerate each other’s behaviour that
     you don’t like
  • how both of you react to what the other says and does
  • what it is you like or dislike about the other person
  • why you do not meet their expectations and vice versa
  • what things are most important to you and to them

Five Ways To Better Relationships

1. Work on your self concept
     Remind yourself that you are an important human being. Accentuate the positive aspects about yourself. Allow yourself to be imperfect *make errors and fail occasionally - everybody you know does, why not you too? Remember we learn more from our ‘failures’ than from our successes

2. Listen with three ears
    • Have a purpose for listening     
    • Look at the person
    • Suspend judgment initially    
    • Wait before responding
    • Ignore distractions. If distracted - apologise and  ask them to say it
        again
    • Paraphrase to the speaker’s satisfaction
    • Be on the lookout for the important themes of what the speaker says
    • See the world from their position
    • Reflect on the content of what you hear and search for meaning
    • Be ready to respond

3. Be clear & precise in your expression
    • Remind yourself that the other person is not a mind reader.
    • Don’t leave people guessing about what you mean.

4. Cope with angry feelings
    • Be aware of your feelings - don’t deny or suppress them
    • Overcome the urge to say things which are fuelled by anger. Wait
        until you are calmer. Most things said in anger are regretted later
    • Accept responsibility for what you do
    • Talk about how you feel. Make no accusations

5. Be ready for self disclosure
    • Talk fully and truthfully about yourself. Treat with respect what other 
        people tell you about themselves

 Any Complaints?
We have to handle complaints from staff from time to time. Sometimes you can take action which will resolve the complaint. At other times listening to the complaint is all you can do.

Untreated complaints can grow and turn into bigger problems so welcome complaints as an opportunity to better a tense situation. Upon further review, consideration and explanation, many complaints disappear as they are often based on an incorrect perception or simply an ignorance or misunderstanding of the facts.

Listen carefully and hear out complaints in order to deal with them. Thus it is essential to create am environment in which the person feels safe and free to discuss the complaint without fear of repercussions or reprisals. To develop the right climate, you need to do two things:

  •  Listen with empathy even when you disagree
  •  Maintain the other person’s self-esteem. Allow them to ‘save face’.

When a person complains, he or she wants you to hear what is unfair in their eyes. You need to respond (not react) in a way that indicates to the person that you can see what it is like for them in their world as they see it. Show that you understand both what the person is saying and how they are feeling.

A person’s self-esteem is very important to them. The person may be calm or very agitated or very angry. Ignore the latter behaviour even if you don’t like it and try to focus only on the complaint and that, rightly or wrongly, it is important to the person. No matter how minor it may appear to you. Any response from you that trivialises the complaint tends to lower the person’s self esteem or humiliates them. Handling complaints successfully requires great skill and patience on your part.

Follow these guidelines to guide your approach:
• Listen to the person with your full attention showing
   your understanding and empathy by using paraphrasing and
   probing techniques.
• Get all the details and take notes where appropriate. Allow then to
   speak without interrupting. Encourage them to speak and elaborate.
   Let them get it off their chest - make them feel more calm and more
   receptive to reason.
• Show that you understand the situation by paraphrasing or summarizing
   it to them in your own words. Empathise with their feeling. Ensure that
   your interpretation and understanding of the situation is correct.
• Ask what they would prefer to see happen?
• Ask how that would affect all other people?
• Openly put your position. Provide them with information or perspectives
   that they  unaware of. Explain to them the connections between things.
• Discuss what you can and cannot do and explain why.
• Decide and agree on specific follow up action. Agree what you will do
  and what they will do.
• Acknowledge the person’s complaint & thank them for bringing it to
   your attention.
• If you feel after the discussion that there is no basis for the complaint
  and the person is just making mischief, explain your response. Make a
  note of this, both of you sign it and invite them to take their complaint
  to a higher level with a signed copy of your response.

 WAYS TO GET PEOPLE ‘OFF SIDE’
 Talk to them as if they are inferior or has less knowledge than you
 Ignore their opinions when decisions are made or action is taken.
 Speak as if you are always right. Speak over them when they are talking.


• Feign interest in what they are saying. Ridicule them in public.
• Show that you care only about your needs, wants & interests.
• Take the credit for their work.
• Act as though you can be trusted but break confidentialities
• Dump your pent up emotions on them for no real reason
• Exaggerate your own importance or achievements.
• Never back down or acknowledge it when you are wrong.
• Monopolise the conversation without giving others equal air time.
• Exaggerate facts about your life. Be a habitual liar.
• Don’t allow that other people’s opinions could be better than your own.
• Show no awareness for the thoughts and feelings of others except   
  where they agree with yours.
• Treat people with contempt if they appear less knowledgeable.
• Look to make humour from other people’s imperfections.
• Show no interest in or contempt for the ideas of others.
• Foster relationships with people only when they can further your own
     interests. Talk incessantly about yourself.

WAYS TO KEEP PEOPLE ‘ON SIDE’
•  Admit it when you are wrong & apologise
   when you make a mistake.
• Get people talking about things that are
   occurring in their world.
• Let people know that you appreciate the
   little things and their contributions
• Talk to people as an equal human being.
• Take time to explain why something is
   important to you.
• Provide people your undivided attention when they are talking to you.
• Be positive, be cheerful and be able to laugh at yourself.
• Display courtesy to all even those who do not deserve it.
• Acknowledge it if you are feeling angry or frustrated or feeling low -own
   imperfections
• Welcome people into your presence with a smile, even your foes.
• Show that problems are opportunities to make something better.
• Say that you do not know when you do not know.
• Do your best not to react to things people say with which you
  disagree. Remember this and practise.
• Demonstrate realistic humility. Avoid judging people. Just describe
   things factually without attaching labels or adjectives to the person.
• Reason with people but stick to your convictions until better informed.
• Look for the best argument not to win the argument. Let others win
  occasionally even when U are better informed.
• Show others you have considered their needs, wants & interests.




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