Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things. First, get to know yourself. Use this self knowledge to better understand others. Second, build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life. Third, resolve conflict positively and in a manner that enhances, not detracts from your relationships.
I am in Phoenix for some business this week. The other day, I did something that I do too seldom. I put on my bathing suit, took my iPod and did nothing but sit by the pool listening to music for an hour.
I have several Eagles songs on my iPod. I know that it’s become fashionable to bash the Eagles these days, but I was a fan years ago and am still a fan today. “Desperado” is my favorite Eagles song. It came up on the shuffle. As I was listening, I was struck by the following words…
“And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone.”
These lyrics are right on. You are putting yourself into a self imposed prison if you choose to go it alone. We all need other people in our lives if we’re going to grow, flourish and succeed. This is true in your personal life, as well as your career and professional life. That’s why building and nurturing strong relationships is one of the keys to becoming interpersonally competent.
How do you build strong relationships? Simple. Give with no expectation of return.
I am a contributing author to a book that will be coming out later this year: 42 Rules for Creating WE. One of my chapters is called “There is No Quid Pro Quo in WE.” This chapter is based on the idea of giving with no expectation of return. Take a look…
WE is built on relationships; the idea that we are all connected, and that through a WE-centric, rather than a traditional I-centric approach, our collective wisdom grows and evolves. This kind of thinking creates stronger organizations and societies. It fosters mutual shared respect for the unique contribution every person is capable of making. Solid, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are at the core of WE. Giving with no expectation of return is a great way to create these types of relationships.
This is a quid pro quo world: you do for me and I’ll do for you. While there is nothing wrong in reciprocating a good deed or a favor, there is a fundamental problem with quid pro quo. It is reactive not proactive. Too many people wait for others to go first. They adopt the attitude, “When and if you do for me, I’ll do for you.” This scarcity mentality is not conducive to creating WE. When you come from a scarcity mentality, you focus on holding on to what you already have. This can prevent you from receiving what you might possibly get.
On the other hand, giving with no expectation of return comes from a proactive abundance mentality. When you give with no expectation of return, you are acknowledging the abundance of the universe. You are demonstrating faith that the good you do will benefit others close to you and the world at large – and that good things will come back to you.
Giving with no expectation of return is ironic. I have found that the more I give, the more I receive; often from unlikely sources. But that’s not my reason for giving -- and I hope it is not yours. The best reason for giving is the basic joy of making a difference in other people’s lives and in creating a WE-centric world.
I believe this with all my heart.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people build and nurture strong relationships with the important people in their lives. Giving with no expectation of return is a great way to begin building relationships. Don’t think quid pro quo. Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Be willing to go first. Put yourself out there and do what you can for others. You’ll be demonstrating your relationship building skills and your interpersonal competence. Take the first step today. Find someone for whom you can do something – then do it. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll get from a selfless act.
That’s my take on becoming interpersonally competent by building relationships by giving with no expectations of return. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading.