12 Relationship Management Truths for Students
“Relationship management” is a term you hear a lot in the marketing world. (Particularly, CRM, or “customer relationship management.”) But there is quite a bit of truth packed into the concept that students can learn and grow from.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing what these truths are and how you can make them work for you. So let’s not waste any more time. These are the dozen principles to learn and put into practice immediately, even if your “workplace” is the classroom. Let’s begin!
1. The People Under You May One Day Be Over You
This is all the incentive you ever need to be kind to people. Having a chip on your shoulder and then taking it out on the people you can take it out on will only a) make you a jerk, and b) put you at risk of reciprocal behaviors down the line.
Police and military environments are a good example of this reality in motion. The “testing for promotion” process can see young Officers leaping over their seniors in a span of a few years. You can literally go from taking orders from someone to being their boss overnight. It’s best to treat every person like they may one day be your superior.
That doesn’t mean do everything they say. It means you treat them with respect when in a position of power so that if that does ever happen, they’ll remember you with the same respect and kindness.
2. The People Over You May One Day Be Under You
How you react to this largely depends on what kind of person you are. Try not to remember every little injustice you might have experienced when you were not in a position of power.
Just as soon as you do — and you try to get retribution for it on the same person or someone else — you’ll slip right back down the ladder with a lot of bad will coming your way.
Keeping a good attitude will serve you well. It’ll keep you from making enemies. And it will put you into the position for better things down the road.
3. People Have Short Attention Spans
This is a bit of a double-edged sword, particularly when it comes to relationship management. We’ll get into why that is in the next part. But for now, what you need to know about attention spans with regards to RM is this: bad things can happen and act as a cloud over you for a time. But the effects will subside sooner than you think.
Of course, the major drawback of this is that it makes for a much dumber society. And if you’re not part of that dumbness, you’ve got to live with the fact that you’ll forever be maneuvering around it. Not fun, but it is what it is. You do You. And be the best version of You possible.
Now for the other edge of the sword…
4. The Good News Does Not Last Either
When we do something good, we’d like to get credit for it. We’d also like for that credit to last a long, long time. Doesn’t happen.
Today, we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of world, and thanks to those short attention spans, we doubt there’s any getting past it. It does make you continually try to improve and better yourself. But that type of lifestyle can be exhausting.
Our recommendation: give yourself a chance to enjoy your victories. But always be looking ahead. Always be figuring out what you can do to improve on what you’ve built, even if it’s just by increments. Doing so becomes very important in the next section.
5. Your Work Says More Than Your Words
There is a lot of noise with social media. But it goes beyond what people are posting on Facebook and Instagram. You get bombarded with a 24/7 news cycle. Any jackass with a domain name can call himself part of the media (even if he doesn’t really do media things.)
People don’t have a lot of time to listen to you any more. They pay much closer attention to what you’re doing because it’s from what you do that results happen. And results, everyone can share in.
So as a student, you have to start thinking about what your contribution can/will be to the world. And you’ve got to start thinking about it early because there’s a global marketplace out there you’ll have to partake in. How are you going to stand out when you’re not just competing with your classmates but competing against the best talent from other countries?
6. But Your Words Can Do You In
Even though your actions are more important with regard to relationship management, words are important, too. Case-in-point: professions like teaching can be completely closed off after years of training and certification if a teacher says one wrong-headed thing and it ends up in front of the right people.
Be careful of the things you say. Not only are others listening to you, but their devices are as well. That’s a lot of chances to go wrong.
7. The Need to Be Noticed Is Not a Long-Term Plan
In this sea of competing humanity, people will go to great lengths to be noticed. But being noticed can get you into trouble. And while it may garner some early surges of attention, it also can create in you someone who tries harder and harder — and in unhealthy ways — to be noticed by other people.
The harder you try to force it, the bigger you’ll mess up. And that’s not an “if” scenario. We all make mistakes. And mistakes usually happen because we’re trying to replicate a previous success and miss one vital component that causes us to stumble and fall.
These bigger and bigger attempts at being noticed will only amplify your failures when they eventually happen.
8. Sometimes the Best You Can Do Is Nothing at All
Have you ever been attacked by someone verbally? How did it make you feel? Perhaps they did it behind your back, and now you want to confront them about it. It might be temporarily satisfying to see them squirm or “get one back.” But ultimately, it’s a losing proposition for the following reasons:
- It gives them credibility: as in, you’re telling them their opinion matters enough to you for a response. Obscurity and irrelevancy is a better outcome for them as far as you’re concerned. This does nothing to take them there.
- It makes you angry: losing your cool is never cool because it can affect your enjoyment of life as well as the positivity of the people who love and support you. It’s far better if you and your tribe can sweep the lies aside and kill it with indifference.
By taking the “high road,” you’ll set yourself apart as someone who’s “above it all.” You’ll be the gracious winner people will want to be around, and that’ll cut your enemies down where they stand.
9. You Are the Company You Keep…
Growing up, did your parents always tell you that bad company corrupts good morals, or something along those lines? While parents can be annoying in many ways when you’re growing up, this bit of advice is dead-on. Only thing is: who decides what “bad company” means?
Society has a few widely accepted “norms.” Heavy illegal drug users, gossips, violent criminals … these are outside of the norms. If you’re hanging with these types of people, don’t expect to avoid the fallout.
The good news: if you make a concerted effort to make friends who are kind, respectful of individuals and society, and driven to make something of their lives, you’ll probably end up in the same boat.
10. …And the Value You Add
One way to set yourself apart in a crowded marketing environment/job market, is to add value to the lives of your customers/employers before they ever pay you. You have to show them you’re there for the right reasons, and the easiest way to do that is to be useful.
Adding value will be the currency of our generation for many years to come. And with the help of technology and more access to knowledge, we’ll be able to produce more of it than we ever have before.
Bottom line: if you want to have good relationships with people, then you’ll need to find ways you can be of value to them in life. But more than that, you’ll need to follow through.
11. Listen More Than You Speak
When you listen, you absorb and process information. That ultimately shapes and molds you into a better worker, friend, spouse, etc. When you speak, you’re sending what’s inside of you out into the world. Without listening skills, there isn’t anything of substance to put out there.
Why is that, you ask? Because you’ve spent no time feeding your mind. You’ve only consumed what was there until it was gone. If you keep talking after that, then you’re just regurgitating stomach acid.
12. Commit to Getting Better
We should probably abolish the Ph.D distinction, or at least qualify it a little better than we do. That’s because when people see the Ph.D label, they think, “There’s a guy/girl who knows everything they need to know about their field of expertise. They are the pinnacle.”
Wrong. There is no pinnacle. That’s because the world is always changing. Even the world we think we know inside-and-out. If we just allow those changes to occur for a decade or longer without any follow-up, any continuing education, we’re just going to end up 10 years behind the ones who didn’t.
So make sure you’re always committing to excellence, or at least the pursuit of it. However close you land will be far better than where you were.
Relationship Management May Be the Most Valuable Skill
There are many valuable hard skills and soft skills that you can learn, whether you go to a university or trade school. But your relationships are, and always have been, the key to future success.
Without effective relationship management skills, the future is a scary place. Embrace these truths today, so it doesn’t get to be.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]