It’s interesting to work and be around younger people. There are always new things to learn. Their primary modes of communication are email, text, messaging apps, and social media. All modes are single facing. There is no direct, real-time interaction with someone else.
These forms of communication all are centered around the sender’s agenda, personality, and world. All of the focus is on the sender. With measures like opens, likes, follows, and comments giving the sender a feeling of engagement. Confirming in a different modern way that there is a relationship between the sender and receiver.
When one believes in the power of relationships, this new world seems very strange and shallow. For there are many components to building and sustaining relationships that appear to be losing visibility in the worlds of our next generation. (The focus on selfies makes me question whether using a camera on ourselves was a wise innovation.)
At its core, a relationship is an interaction. Not a one-sided communication generated by only a sender. Relationships are rarely built asynchronously. They are discovered, built, and sustained in real time involving two or more individuals. Teams are a great example of the real-time nature of building relationships between individuals in a group. Two people in love, needing to be with each other every minute of the day, qualifies at the other end of the relationship spectrum in terms of intensity.
The dynamics of building and sustaining relationships contain many building blocks necessary for them to flourish. You need active listening to either discover common ground or new ground where we learn new things from each other. Be it knowledge, experience, example, attitude, or a perspective we never knew existed. It’s in these types of discovery that we find interest in each other.
Real-time feedback on what is said and heard allows us to explore further, and learn more in a short amount of time about another person. Patience and acceptance are far different skills necessary than passing judgment when building relationships. Relationships focus on who the other person is and not who we are.
Magically, while focusing on others we begin to learn more about ourselves through our many conversations and learnings exposed to us by others. The same holds true for those we build relationships with. Creating an invisible glue that strengthens our relationships, for both sides, over time.
Time plays a big role in building relationships. They never happen in a day. Requiring the building of relationships to need an investment of your time to accomplish. Much slower than a quick email or text or posting of a picture on social media.
Time exposes the unevenness of our personal traits across many days. None of us are perfect. We are not always “on top of our game”. Carrying with us our troubles and worries that change over time. Making us more authentic and real to the other person we are building a relationship with. Creating fertile ground for trust to be built.
Time also requires us to be proactive. To build a relationship you must reach out to the other person on a regular basis to affirm that you both care and that the relationship is meaningful. Relationships die when there is no interest in pursuing them over time.
Leadership can only be built by building relationships and not by sending emails or texts. Personal growth occurs best when there is real-time feedback giving us an immediate chance to ask further questions and explore. The intensity of our laughter and tears is best experienced and most meaningful in the presence of relationships, friendship, or regular interaction with others.
Making using old school relationship building blocks to deepen and broaden our lives (with many) a timeless process whose effectiveness is proven. None of us are meant to be alone with only emails, texts, and social media. Remember never to be trapped by them.