·                How do you relate at work with your colleagues; at home with your spouse, children, domestic staff, neighbors etc?
·                Workplace acrimony builds cracks in the walls of corporate growth, lessens productivity, and lowers employees’ performance. How can employees increase their interactive and relationship skills so as to bolster productivity in the workplace?
·                How can employees key into the vision of the organization, and achieve career fulfillment while working for others?
·                Is it advisable to save all your money in a joint account with your spouse?
·                Is it proper to take care of all your children’s needs before taking care of yours as parent?
·                What role has native laws and customs got to play in relationship enhancement?
These and many more are among the issues discussed at the training and coaching class organized by Spaces for Change on Leadership, Relationship Intelligence and Workplace Productivity held in Lagos on March 27, 2013.
Conflict erupts in our day-to-day engagement, experiences and events. How such conflict is managed and effectively contained before it snowballs into an uncontrollable conflagration was the main thrust of the training. Relationship Intelligence, also known as Relationship Enhancement (RE) is one way to strategically and effectively handle conflicts, especially when it is unplanned. RE involves better communication and showing understanding. In a more specific level, RE entails listening; paying attention to words and body language; putting yourself in the other person’s place; describing what you have come to understand by naming thoughts feelings, concerns and desires; accepting and making corrections graciously.
The aim of the workshop was not only to inform, but to train participants in ways relationships can be strategically sustained at work, at home and the society at large. Through short dramas, practical exercises, simulations, experience-sharing and power-point presentations, participants learned the benefit of dialogue and personal responsibility; and developed new skills for avoiding workplace acrimony, domestic violence and unnecessary anger.
The facilitator, United States-based Mr. Martin Okpareke employed various teaching methods and exercises which aroused and sustained the participation of all the trainees throughout the program. For instance:

  • Perspective exercise – Two people stood side by side facing different directions, but with the back of their heads put together. They were then asked to describe what they saw. The exercise was used to buttress the fact that each person sees  things differently and from their point of view. No one is totally wrong or right.

  •  Take a stand activity – the facilitator, in this instance, asked series of questions, and each participant took a stand whether to agree or disagree, giving reasons for their positions. This explained that we all have choices and the power over the decisions we make.

BASIC TIPS FOR ENHANCED RELATIONSHIP

  • Avoid trigger words. What you say matters, but the way you say it matters most.

  • Maintain a personal vision that fits in with your religious teaching, moral upbringing, family life and employer’s vision.
  • Take time out by paying attention to yourself.

  • Don’t slide through situations but make decisions by calculative and constructive reasoning

  • The end game is moving our relationships forward through the choices we make. 

  • To be on top of one’s expression skills, start engaging in arguments by remembering what is good; speak from one’s own point of view rather than what is good or normal; be specific by talking about particular behaviors ,events and concerns; talk about your feelings; ask for what you want.

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