Over the last couple of months we have reviewed Reading People, Building Rapport, Finesse and Conflict Resolution. This month is Support and Cooperation in regards to Relationship Building. Support and Cooperation Relationships may begin with just two people, but more people eventually become involved. Work friends and associates, family members, old school friends and various other assorted persons interact daily, so gaining the support and cooperation in working towards a common goal is a plus in relationship building. Cooperation is the process of working together to the same end. It is assistance, especially by ready compliance with requests. Support is “give assistance to; enable to function or to act.” How do we build trusting relationships through support and cooperation?
- Show openness and be transparent: Share what you know, but also what you do not know
- Honor your promises: Do what you say you are going to do
- Speak your feelings: Don’t just focus on facts, inject how you feel
- Volunteer information: Don’t hold back information or make people pull information from you
- Keep other people’s secrets: Don’t gossip
- Be objective/fair: Consider other people before taking action or making decisions
- Listen more than speak: Be other-centric
If you desire more support and genuine cooperation in your relationships then you’re ready to venture down these five paths. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers when necessary. Path 1 – INTENTION Are you clear about your intentions? Do you know the difference between a strategy and an intention? Knowing this difference is essential. Without this you tend to get stuck wanting other people to agree with your strategies. This can leave people feeling closed and defensive. Even worse, being attached to one particular strategy dramatically limits your opportunities to be satisfied. Path 2 – ALIGNMENT Is everyone on the same page? Do you have a shared intention and want similar results? Establishing alignment is the second path to the power of “us.” The fact is that our interdependence puts limits on how far we can get in achieving any result we want without cooperation. Path 3 – NEGOTIATION Will your plans take everyone’s needs into consideration? Will you keep at it until everyone is satisfied? Understanding the difference between compromise and collaboration will play a big part in everyone’s willingness and ability to stick with the process. Path 4 – AGREEMENT What’s the plan? What needs to happen and who’s willing to do what to make it so? After everyone’s had their say and acknowledge they’ve been heard, people often people think they’ve made agreements. In reality they’ve only expressed vague understandings of what they want and how they would like that to happen. Genuine cooperation relies on your ability to make clear, doable requests that lead to definite agreements. Powerful agreements are specific about who, what, when, where, and how. They include a positive confirmation of each person’s willingness to do their part. Path 5 – ACCOUNTABILITY Will your agreements continue to work for everyone and create the results you want? Without accountability you can’t know. If you wait too long to find out they aren’t working, you may already have built up dangerous levels of frustration, resentment, and resignation. You create accountability by setting specific times to review how well your agreements are working and to discuss what changes might be needed. These accountability meetings are opportunities to continue practicing the 5 paths of genuine cooperation. 1 – Do you still have a clear INTENTION? 2 – Are you still in ALIGNMENT? 3 – Do you need further NEGOTIATION? 4 – Is it time to make new AGREEMENTS? 5 – How will you ensure ongoing ACCOUNTABILITY? In summary, by learning to use more of these “nuts and bolts” of relationship building, focusing on some of these basic techniques can help build and grow relationships. More can be learned about each technique by simply heading to the local library or typing in the technique into your favorite search engine. If you have been utilizing these techniques over the past couple of weeks, you should start to feel more comfortable with your relationships. Congratulations! Don’t forget to be alert to possible problem areas, and take action every day to improve your life.