Today I received some feedback from one of my clients asking me to change "Relationship Management" on her resume to "Relationships Builder." Four years ago, I might have disagreed and argued that the term I used was an accepted industry standard, but I like to think that I'm a little bit wiser now (which really just means that "the more you know, the more you know you don't know").
I let my curiosity lead me down the rabbit hole of defining what "relationship management" means to the majority and the overwhelming response of the internet was along the lines of “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM, anyone?). On the surface, at least, I still feel like that fits my client’s experience so, what is it exactly that my client is getting at? Why did she ask to change the language? I could (and will) ask her, but meanwhile, I'm realizing that I need to rethink what the term means to me.
With over four decades on the planet, I qualify as a Traditionalist (see article) and have subscribed to the philosophy of keeping multiple boxes in which I put my emotions before I go to work. By nature, I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP) which is great for writing because: empathy. But this tactic hasn't always been so great in practice because shoving my emotions in a box and pounding away at the keyboard has caused me significant health issues. The kind accolades from my boss regarding my ‘dedication’ and ‘commitment’ were really warning signs that my emotional state was seriously amiss.
I thought that by locking it all down, I’d be more present and after two failed marriages my default position has been that emotions cloud your judgment, when in fact, handled correctly, emotions can actually inform your judgment in really positive ways…or negative ways if we don’t acknowledge them and understand how to use them.
I can see where I have missed a lot of crucial emotional responses from my coworkers in the past. I can also see where both my biggest strength and biggest weakness lie within my empathic nature. No, you don’t ever want to use the ‘my greatest weakness is also my strength’ tactic in an interview, but often, in real life, this is the case. Tropes don’t materialize out of thin air after all…
Dr. Alan Zimmerman used a great quote by the TV commentator, Hugh Downs, in which it’s stated, “To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, ‘Your end of the boat is sinking.’” If I had a brick-and-mortar company, this would be my motto. Yes, there are folks that are just plain difficult and even manipulative (even dangerous) in the workplace, but most of the time people are just trying to get by and be happy and if there’s a grievance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing anything wrong, but you also might not be doing a thing in the best way possible for the situation and persons involved.
Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Management are slightly different things, but you can’t be great at building relationships without having both skills firmly in hand. I don’t think “Emotional Intelligence” isn't an extremely hot keyword (yet), but perhaps it should be because you certainly can’t build long-lasting relationships without it.
From here, I’ll piggy-back on Dr. Zimmerman’s article and let you find your own meaning.