- Relationship skills are the tactical qualities that you practice which make a relationship successful.
- Some of the key skills you will need to make a relationship successful include open communication, kindness, respect, openness, and honesty.
- Your weak times are equally if not more important than your strong ties. Therefore, be sure to invest in those relationships by practicing your relationship skills with them.
What are relationship skills?
Relationship skills are the qualities that make your relationships successful. Relationship skills are not innate- you have to learn them in order for them to work well with others, but it’s important to do so because without these relationship skills your chances of success decrease exponentially!
Relationships are important, and they’re also difficult to maintain sometimes. Relationship skills can be hard to come by, but luckily there is some scientific research that has studied what relationship skills work best in maintaining healthy relationships. These 5 relationship skills will make your relationships last longer!
The 5 key relationship skills to have
The five key relationship skills to cultivate and grow are open communication, kindness, respect, openness, and honesty. Growing these skills can help you elevate your relationships, both personally and professionally. Many of these skills feed into one another. For example, respect is necessary for achieving open communication. Below, we dive into each skill, discuss its importance, and provide tips on how to practice these skills in your relationship.
1. Open Communication
The most important skill for any type of relationship is communication. It’s the key to understanding each other’s needs and wants. Without this, a healthy relationship cannot exist.
In business, open communication can lead to more productive ways of working by having individuals be able to provide open and honest feedback. Kim Scott, ex-Googler, is well known for coining the concept of radical candor. Her concept, which focuses on grooming leaders to care personally for their team members while challenging directly, is known as an effective tool for providing feedback and is a form of open communication.
Open communication takes deliberate time to build. Additionally, being able to have open communication requires psychological safety among your team members. Take the time to build trust and make your work environment a safe space by showing your team members that you care about them and their well-being.
Relationship researcher John Gottman found that one of the best predictors of a successful relationship was how often each person showed kindness towards their significant other (Gottman & Silver, 1999). With that in mind, it isn’t a far jump to apply a similar approach to your professional relationships.
Compassionate people tend to have happier relationships than those who lack kindness. This makes sense because kindness comes naturally when you’re caring about someone else’s happiness too! Exercising kindness can help promote feelings of trust and security; your peers may feel more comfortable opening up about a mistake they made without you overreacting. This, in turn, helps promote open communication.
Respect has been shown to be an essential relationship skill. Being able to demonstrate respect for other individuals sets a foundation for other relationship skills, such as open communication. This is because regardless of what you are saying, the other individual recognizes that you acknowledge and care about them as an individual.
Having a respectful workplace is important because it fosters a community of trust. This can lead to better debates, discussions, and ideas, which can lead to better overall outcomes. Different ways you can demonstrate respect include acknowledging people’s feelings, exercising your manners, and being kind when someone makes a mistake. Practicing these will signal to an individual that you are taking the time to pay them the respect you would hope for.
Openness is the ability to hear out the other person and their perspectives, even if you may not agree with them. In some ways, openness is a skill that goes hand-in-hand with kindness. And that’s because openness requires one to react to those around them in a calm manner. This is an important relationship skill because it helps you actively hear the other individual out. You may even opt to be empathetic to their cause, which can help you develop a better understanding of their perspective.
Finally, honesty is huge in maintaining healthy relationships with your partner, friends, and colleagues. There are many places in business where you may feel pressured into being dishonest or stretching the truth. However, many times your team members, clients, and superiors would rather you be honest.
Dishonesty typically leads to having to juggle a bunch of storylines, which is emotionally draining and exhausting. It becomes even more important at work as dishonesty can lead to severe punishment, like being fired from your job.
Take our DISC personality assessment here to learn more about your personality and how to interact with different personality types!
Weak ties and relationship skills
Research reported by various articles demonstrates that your weak ties may be more important than your strong ties, especially when it comes to your professional network. A weak tie doesn’t mean you should not take the time to exercise your strong relationship skills with these individuals. Instead, making sure you exercise these skills with your weak ties becomes even more important. Weak ties are valuable for making introductions to companies or a referral to a job posting. Practicing strong relationship skills can help avoid the sense of opportunism when you reach out.
Investing in your weak ties is equally as important. Be sure to connect with individuals every so often. Schedule coffee chats on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to help you maintain your relationship. Another way to stay in touch is to share with your colleagues any news, articles, and or podcasts you think they will be interested in. Sharing such mediums can help you discover where are common interests and also spark conversation.