News & Events
GUEST BLOG: Work Ready relationships
By Siobhan Baillie, Policy Manager, OnePlusOne
In this digital age, we are far more likely to interact with people over the phone than we are in person, and indeed many of our relationships are built almost entirely over email. And yet to be relationally capable, and adept at building bonds with real-life people, is recognised as an extremely valuable skill. If mastered, it really can set you apart from the crowd, and work wonders for your career.
Relationships are a fundamental part of being human. Not limited to romantic couplings: parents, siblings, friends, teachers, colleagues, bosses and acquaintances are all incredibly important people in our lives. We thrive when those relationships are meaningful and effective, and connectedness makes us feel valued and competent.
Learning to identify a good relationship also helps us to discriminate between healthy and unhealthy, or exploitative, situations.
In my role as policy adviser for charity OnePlusOne, which specialises in helping individuals develop the skills to strengthen relationships, I have studied the decades of scientific research that exists about strengthening relationships, and the tonnes of advice that is out there about creating good-quality relationships.
I think there are two skills that we all need to pay more attention to.
The first is listening. People will often remember feeling heard by you, more than they will remember what you actually had to say. Empathetic listening skills do not mean turning into an agony aunt, so avoid offering advice, but always take the time to hear what a new acquaintance has to say.
Secondly, focus. When you meet someone for the first time, keep the conversation on track and feel confident to politely close down anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or is leading into unrelated subjects. Always bringing people back to the shared topic is an extremely strong basis for a productive professional relationship.
Committing to paying attention to just two things in your relationships may seem overly simplistic, or even easy. Sometimes these skills come naturally from our families, or they are taught at school, but many people grow up without ever learning them. They are important though. Relationship education will soon be taught in all schools as part of the national curriculum because its value is receiving widespread recognition, and practice makes perfect.
Siobhan Baillie was the Conservative candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark in the 2017 General Election, and is a qualified lawyer. To find out more about OnePlusOne, visit www.OnePlusOne.space.