Relationship management skills may seem like something that only customer service people need. It also gets boxed in careers that deal with people like sales agents, social workers, and nurses.
After all, if you’re a computer systems analyst or programmer, why would you need relationship management in your job, right? Wrong. Relationships are everywhere, even if your work does not deal with customers or clients.
Why are good work relationships important?
You may not notice it, but you do have a working relationship with your boss, your company, and all the other people you work with. Improving your relationship management skills will make work a lot smoother for you and may even grant you favors in your career.
Just imagine that all of your colleagues are equally skilled and competent. If you want to get a raise or promotion, you need to have at least a decent working relationship with your peers, superiors, and even your juniors.
Effective Social Skills for the Workplace
Here are ten relationship management skills you need to have if you want to advance in your career.
Relationships hinge a lot on communication. In fact, it is probably the most important skill to master in order to manage good relationships. It does not necessarily mean that you have to be a good speaker. Communication comprises not just words but also facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.
If you practice business communication principles, you can convey your message clearly so that you are easily understood. On top of that, good communication lets you convey the right thoughts and emotions to make your message more effective.
Negotiation skills are highly useful in the field of sales. Striking business deals, forming partnerships, making agreements, and closing sales all require extensive negotiation.
However, if you are not in a position that makes a lot of negotiation, do these skills still create an impact on your career development? The answer is yes. There are micro-instances where we use negotiation skills in order to achieve our work goals.
Negotiating your salary is one important instance where this skill comes in handy. Also, advocating for yourself in terms of workload and work environment is a type of negotiation that can impact your work in the long term.
One of the relationship management skills that you will need almost every day is teamwork. This is your ability to cooperate and collaborate with people within your sphere and beyond to reach your goals.
Even if you are a one-man team, or a specialist or consultant working alone in most of your tasks, there will still be instances where you need to deal with other people to get things done. It could be budgeting, management approval, or quality checks.
To build better teamwork in the workplace, company offsites or team retreats could be a great option. These activities improve communication, increase alignment, and build better company culture.
Leadership is not exclusively for management. There are several reasons why you need leadership skills even as a non-manager. One of them is self-stewardship.
If you don’t have the opportunity to lead your peers or spearhead a project, you still need to be able to lead yourself. That means that you need to take the initiative when needed and determine when you need to take action without supervision.
It also means taking control of the things under your responsibility, such as organizing your workplace or managing your time wisely.
When you are marketing a product or a brand, you’re not just trying to get people to buy your product. You are trying to form a relationship with them so that they like and remember you.
They need to be able to relate to how you market your product. You need to reflect on other people’s needs and show your eagerness to address their concerns through your product. It should not just be something that you earn from but rather something that gives meaning and practical solutions to others.
6. Customer Service
The most obvious application of relationship management skills is in customer service. You might encounter important clients of the business in your line of work. You must know how to deal with customers so that they appreciate the company more and bring in more to the business.
Excellent customer service means that you have to be sensitive to your customers’ needs. You also have to address those needs as best as you can. Customer service is at the heart of every company’s efforts in sustaining customer loyalty.
7. Connecting with strangers
Networking turns total strangers into acquaintances. The acquaintances you form during your networking efforts will flourish into good friendships or business relationships if done right.
To make sure that it happens, you need to be able to establish connections that are not only superficial. Knowing someone by name and occupation is only the first step. If you want a fruitful relationship with someone, you need to learn more about them, what they need as individuals, and how you can help their careers and their businesses thrive.
Learn more about building relationships with Build Healthy Relationships Using Emotional Intelligence online course from Skill Success.
8. Being friendly and approachable
Sometimes relationship management skills just boil down to being amicable. After all, if other people find you friendly and approachable, you would not have to do much to establish good relationships.
Even if you are not the most sociable person out there, there are still ways you can practice to achieve this. All you have to do is to be kind and courteous to everyone you meet. You don’t really need to create a grand impression or be loud to be noticeable. Doing so might just make you less likable.
It is possible and equally important that people perceive you as someone who will listen and won’t pass harsh judgments on them.
None of the things mentioned above is possible without self-awareness. It all starts with this. If you know the relationship management skills you need improvement on, you will easily get better as long as you are willing to learn.
Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses is the first and most important step to personal development.
10. CRM software
Finally, one more relationship management skill that can boost your career development is knowledge of CRM or customer relationship management software. It can be any tech that helps manage and communicate with past and present clients. One main CRM feature is the ability to integrate new customer service applications into your CRM, CRM integrations are really useful when you are looking to improve your customer service quality.
This can be especially useful if you are eyeing a position that involves customer relations. However, it won’t hurt to know a bit about it, even if you’re not directly part of the customer service team.
How to handle workplace rudeness using relationship management skills?
You have probably experienced rude behavior in a workplace at one time or another and it can range from minor to severe rudeness. Signs of rudeness can be displaying obscene manners, disrespectful behavior, telling crude jokes, cursing words, and verbal abuse.
Although avoiding rude people at work would be a nice idea, it’s impossible in some situations. Using some of the relationship management skills we have covered above can help you handle rude people and maintain your dignity.
For example, if the person is rude, you can show empathy by being friendly and offering extra kindness. If you keep your head high and set a good example, chances are the person will eventually calm down.
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