Relationship management

Working with others: relationship management

Our aim is to support you in a broad range of relationship management skills.

Once you hone your relationship management skills, you should be able to demonstrate personal skills in:

  • Assertive behaviour
  • Negotiation techniques
  • Written, verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Handling emotion and conflict with others
  • Networking
  • Liaising with customers
  • Listening and demonstrating empathy
  • Diagnosing elements of effective teams and implement positive team-working

Active listening skills

Given all the listening we do, you might think that we should be good at it, but in fact we are not. According to studies, we only remember 25-50 per cent of what we hear. That means that when you speak with one of your colleagues for instance for 10 minutes, they only hear two-and-a-half to five minutes of your conversation.

By becoming a better listener, you should improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. You should also avoid conflict and misunderstandings.

Here are four categories of listening (Hargie et Al):

  • Comprehension listening - where you listen to established facts in a meeting/interview or learning about new ideas during a FlexiJobs workshop
  • Evaluative listening  - this type of listening is used when listening to a persuasive argument where you listen to what is being said and evaluate the message by considering the strengths and weaknesses of the argument
  • Empathetic listening - this type of listening involves listening to, and attending to another person's thoughts, emotions and beliefs and communicating our understanding of this back to the speaker
  • Appreciative listening - this is the type of listening used for pleasure such as listening to music, poetry etc

Mastering effective verbal communication

Communication is the exchange of information, ideas or feelings and is essential to organisational life and teamwork. There are a numbe of steps in the communication process:

1. The sender or initiator has three main things which must be achieved for the communication to be deemed successful (to be received, to be understood, to initiate the correct action)

2. Task and time. The information or instruction itself will influence the rest of the communication process. Another key influence is time, ie the likely time the action will take or a deadline will dictate the method of transmission.

3. Medium. This is the channel used to transmit the message. The sender must ensure that the medium will lead to the required action. For example, a group email is not a suitable way to relay bad news.

4. Receiver. It is important to approach communication in a proactive manner. You can, for instance, introduce check mechanisms to ensure the right message has been received. This easiest way to accomplish this is to ask for feedback.

5. Action. The crucial test of good communication is whether it has elicited the required action. There are four likely outcomes from the communication process (desired action, delayed action, undesired action, undone action).

Written and non-verbal communication

Effective communication is not confined to verbal skills.  A large part of communication is non verbal skills.

To be effective, the language of formal writing should be concise, unambiguous and professional.

A few language indicators



Opening a phrase First of all, firstly, to begin with, at the outset
Adding a point Furthermore, moreover, in addition
Emphasising a point However, nevertheless, indeed, not only...but also
Reinforcing a point Similarly, likewise, also, besides, in addition, as well as, furthermore, moreover, indeed
Providing examples For instance, for example, namely, particularly, notably, including
Listing different points Firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally, in conclusion
Presenting alternatives It might be argued that, on the one hand...on the other hand, by contrast, alternatively, despite, even though
Dealing with contrast Although, in fact, by contrast
Expressing a consequence Hence, therefore, as a result, consequently
Concluding In conclusion, so we can see

Handling conflict

Conflict management style

When to use

When not to use

Collaborating When issues are complex and require input and information from others When time is critical
Accommodating When the issues are unimportant to you When others are unethical or wrong
Competing When time is critical When issues are complex and require input and information from others
Avoiding When issues are trivial When a long-term solution is needed
Compromising When goals are clearly incompatible When an imbalance in power is present

Coming soon:

  • Emotions at work
  • Empathy
  • The importance of networking
  • Effective negotiation
  • Effective teams and team-working