If you’re thinking the same thing as I would first think about this headline (if I were to be reading it from elsewhere), you may be justified to wonder what exactly has come over the writer. People should stop working and start relating? Where, on earth, is the correlation between them?
Works bring food to the table, not relationships.
Give me some seconds to flesh out what I mean and you’ll get a grip on my perspective. Let me share a recent experience with you.
A Forced Wait
I had an appointment for 10am with one of the managers of a company. In order for me to beat the often frustrating Lagos traffic, I left home early and I got to the place before 9am. So I had to wait. Unfortunately though, I didn’t wait for an hour. I waited for more than four hours because the manager I went to see got his hands full with business appointments to keep. He later told me that he didn’t anticipate those emergencies.
My wait wasn’t a total waste in the end. Three persons taught me three business lessons – for free. Each lesson is tied to a distinct personality. For no fee, I’ll briefly pin each of the lessons to this screen.
I told you I was there before it was 9am? OK. My take on the front office lady isn’t pleasant. She seemed to just be waiting for the clock to do its routine round so that she could get out of her cubicle. She was definitely just working. She cared less about how we (visitors) felt. I was lucky I didn’t have much course to relate with her because the person I came to see had phoned her ahead about my coming. It was a relief!
She wore a permanent frown. She responded to questions and enquiries with a grudge. The only set of people she related to with some measure of cordiality are a few of her colleagues. A middle-aged man who was visibly pained by the lady’s reaction to him sat beside me, muttering God knew what. I couldn’t help thinking nostalgically about the guy that mans the front office at where I work. How he always warms visitors to himself. How he attends to requests with smiles.
The dissimilarity between him and the lady I was lucky to observe teaches me the difference between working and relating.
The Deal Broker
I didn’t know the man I went to visit before. A guy connected me with him. Now that guy that connected me is another bagful of pleasant surprises. To ensure I didn’t get discouraged by the unplanned wait, he took me round the company. He explained what took place in each department, who was in charge of what and he gave me a brief history of the organization. To cap it all, he took me to their restaurant and bought me a good meal.
He isn’t just a worker. He relates.
The Relationship Manager
The man that kept me waiting is a man you can hardly get angry with, even if you have every reason to. During my waiting moment, he came to me every five or ten minutes to express his regrets at keeping me waiting and to explain why he had to attend to those visitors. In spite of the fact that we were meeting for the first time, he related with me as if we had known each other for years. “Taiwo, I’m very sorry”, he kept saying with an expression that flawlessly mixed smiles with concerns.
That’s who I call a relationship manager par excellence. He made me fall in love with his company and I honestly wished every other person there were like him.
Do You Match?
I can’t stress it too much. What every organization needs at this time are relationship managers. In any capacity we find ourselves, we need to add people skills to our expertise. That you are good at what you do may not be in doubt but many people don’t give a damn about your skills if you don’t care about their feelings.
Too many organizations offer what we offer (or even better than what we offer). What makes the difference is how we are able to appeal to their emotions. Every organization values people who are adept at relating with customers in pleasant manners, not just people that are eager to do the work and leave the scene.
To up your value where you are, stop working and start relating.
Talk to you soon.Stop Working; Start Relating by Taiwo Adeyemi