January is the ideal time to take stock of your life and set new goals for the year ahead. Top of your list of New Year’s resolutions should be a pledge to dial up your emotional intelligence (EQ) and invest in relationships. Research shows that people with high levels of EQ –the ability to recognise, understand and manage your emotions and those of others – are more successful in life because they are able to build meaningful relationships with other people. So as an EQ qualified coach who is passionate about setting people up for success, here are my top tips on how to take care of your most important relationships and make 2021 your best year yet.
3 Steps to Building Strong Relationships:
1. Treat the other person as an equal:
Equality is the bedrock of any strong relationship. You need to be on an equal footing with the other person, respect their point of view and recognise the value they bring to the conversation. This can be easier said than done. Perhaps you put your boss or a customer on a pedestal and adopt a servant-master approach to them or maybe you find yourself talking down to people more junior than yourself. In either case, you need to reserve judgement and draw on your empathy to put yourself in the other person’s shoes so that you can understand exactly what makes them tick. By balancing the playing field in this way and treating them as an equal you are laying the foundations for a healthy relationship going forwards.
2. Strive for a win-win approach
Great relationships need to benefit both parties otherwise you can end up feeling resentful or taken for a ride. Your goal should be to collaborate effectively with the other person to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. This means appreciating each other’s challenges and objectives and using your ambition– another key EQ skill – to find solutions that work for both of you. This is particularly important when you are dealing with your internal colleagues. We often take for granted our relationships with those closest to us – so whenever you ask for a favour, make sure you offer them something in return as this will build goodwill.
3. Set the other person up for success
The ultimate step in building strong relationships is to go the extra mile and help empower the other person to be the very best that they can be. You need to establish trust in order to achieve this by encouraging a shared sense of responsibility. This means creating the freedom for the other person to openly contribute their ideas and thinking. In my experience this results in a motivating, fulfilling and productive environment.
Finally, remember that in challenging times, it’s more important than ever to develop and nurture your relationships. Focusing on equality, mutuality and empowerment is the secret to building the sort of relationship that can weather any storm. So, make this New Year’s resolution the one that lasts – invest in your relationships and they’ll pay you dividends in 2021 and beyond.