Four principles for enhanced relationships

Highlights of this information update:
00.00     Introduction
00.15     Understanding what motivates ourself and others
00.44     We operate in two separate ways in relationships
01.14     Overdone or misapplied strengths can become weaknesses
01.43     We see others through our own values system
02.42     Negotiate how to deal with each other
02.58     Conflict escalation stages
03.52     Emotional Intelligence
04.30     Summary of post

Hello I’m Alan Patching and I’d like to share with you some concepts about human behaviour that can be very, very helpful improving your relationships at home and of course in business.

What motivates?
The first one is to understand a little bit about what motivates people, and primarily we do what we do in life to feel good about ourselves.  That’s basic motivation theory – we do what we do to feel good about ourselves, and we must keep in mind that those we’re in relationships with do exactly the same thing. But maybe different things make them feel good than make us feel good, and recognition of that fact is essential to a good relationship.

Secondly, we tend to operate in two basic modes in relationships.  One, when everything’s going well, and secondly, when we feel in conflict or under some sort of opposition.

Under pressure, we tend to change from one to the other, and of course, our relationship partner does exactly the same thing.  But what becomes a pressure for us may not be for them, so these differences come in once again, and differences we must learn to respect, to become better at relationships.

Third, once we have strengths that support us in a relationship, if we overdo those strengths, or apply them in the wrong context, they can actually become a weakness.  That’s correct – the overdoing of strengths or the misapplying of strengths, in any relationship – business or personal, can quickly become a weakness, and sometimes we don’t recognise that.

That principle, of course, is from eastern philosophy.

Now there’s one which is pretty much obvious I guess, but it comes from Relationship Awareness Theory – we always tend to see other people through our own values system.

If we have a values system, let’s say on a point of morality, we’ll judge other people based on what we think is the moral thing to do in a particular circumstance, and that will apply whether it’s business morality, relationship morality, or any kind of morality.  So we tend to judge other people through our own motivational value system.

Dealing with others of different background

Now of course there are any number of things that contribute to a value system, culture, family, nationality, previous upbringings, different parents etc., and sometimes for relationships at the personal level to be bought back on track we need to analyse our upbringing and understand why we think the way we do, and why our partner thinks the way they do, and get some sort of acceptance and understanding and negotiation about how we will deal with each other notwithstanding our different and respective pasts.

It’s the same in business

The same applies in business.  Sometimes we need to sit down and negotiate with our clients, not about a product or a price, but about the way we’re going to deal with each other to establish (or re-establish) that all-important respect base.

Conflict stages in relationships

Let’s look at what else we can do here, conflict can very, very quickly get out of control in any sort of relationship, and when it does it moves through some stages.

In the first stage of conflict I tend to want to resolve it, there’s me and my issues, there’s you and your issues, and in fact there’s the problem that we need to consider.  Very quickly we start saying ‘well, hang on a second, this conflict should be resolved, but you’re not seeing my point of view’.

So now I’m concerned about me and the issue, and getting what I want out of the debate, and at this point we won’t be concerned so much about the other party.

Finally, if the problem’s not resolved, we tend to focus just on ourself, and the issue becomes secondary almost.  We’ve just got to win this conflict and move on.

Now different types of people handle that different progression through those stages in different ways, but that’s a subject for another blog in a future time.

Emotional Intelligence

I think it’s very, very important to understand that the key thing I guess I’m trying to say among all these points, is they all contribute to a body of knowledge known as Emotional Intelligence – once again a topic for another post.

In overview, emotional intelligence is about being aware of our own feelings and how to regulate them, and aware of a sense at least, of what another person’s feeling in a context and being able to do something to help them adjust the way they feel about the topic of conversation so they can achieve a more productive outcome to the conversation that’s taking place.

We’ll be investigating each of these things in future posts in more detail, but for now let’s just summarise.

There are four points:

  • we do what we do to feel good about ourselves
  • basically, we operate two basic different ways -when things are going well and when we’re under conflict
  • misapply or overdo a strength and it can become a weakness, and
  • we see other people through the way that we see the world

Generally speaking when conflict occurs it can get out of hand quickly so we need to keep it where we have a focus on our point of view, the other person’s point of view and the issue at stake in order to resolve the conflict.

Conflict can seldom be resolved at that higher level (where the focus is on ourself and not the issue or the other person) without intervention and facilitation.

Nothing helps us more in relationships than emotional intelligence – being aware of our own feelings, keeping them appropriate to the discussion, and being aware of when what we’re saying might be having an effect on the other and knowing when to withdraw to keep everything on a relationship basis and a communication basis that’s assertive but leads to a outcome that’s beneficially acceptable to both people.

This is Alan Patching, thank you for being involved.

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