The Theory of Relationship AwarenessSince I was introduced to the Theory of Relationship Awareness in 2008, I have found it valuable in my project management and coaching work. After receiving training to facilitate workshops, I now help people improve relationships using the SDI®, (Strengths Deployment Inventory®).
To apply the Relationship Awareness Theory® in your life and career, you need to know the terminology. I use these terms in my writing and here is an introduction / quick reference to keep us on the same page.
- The first premise of the theory and the most important thing to remember is that "We take actions to improve our feelings of self-worth." If you remember nothing else, then this is the one thing to remember.
In your daily life, this means that you will prefer to take actions that make you feel good about yourself. I like to work independently and analyze new information on my own time, before taking a decision. I am happiest when I have the luxury of this time to think before making decisions. It increases my feeling of self-worth. When I am forced to rush into taking a decision, then I get frustrated. You may or may not have the same motivation and our different styles will cause conflict if you are someone who likes to take decisions quickly, without any details. Who is right and who is wrong when making decisions? I don't know, but I do know that we are both trying to protect our feelings of self-worth and our differences.
Therefore, take note, the driver for our actions is our feeling of self-worth. Attacks on your self-worth will generate conflict in you.
- The theory identifies three primary categories of behavior, and four hybrids of these three categories. This is a simple way to identify probable motivational systems and use this knowledge to improve your relationships. Here is the very basic introduction to the categories of motivational systems.
Our motivation and behavior changes when we go into conflict. This means that while I normally want details before I make a decision (when things are going well), I am willing to be assertive and directive when forced into deep conflict. We all act differently in various stages of conflict, and it helps to know this when dealing with other people.
- Green: Analytic-Autonomizing. Think of an auditor / engineer or accountant.
- Red: Assertive-Directing. Think of a forceful dictator.
- Blue: Altruistic-Nurturing. Think of Mother Theresa.
We all display behaviors in each category, however we tend to exhibit some of the behaviors more frequently than others.
Prolonged denial of situations that allow people to pursue their needs of self-worth, will lead to illness, and good talent leaving your company. For example, when I am forced to work in a team, all day, every day and never able to work independently, it takes a toll on my mental and physical health. The pursuit for self-worth is more than just a "nice to have." I have found that it causes my body to become ill. Therefore, it is important to work towards avoiding conflict in yourself and others.
Finding ways to improve your relationships starts with an understanding of your own strengths. This is accomplished through an easy assessment, and I have found that the assessment is accurate most of the time. (I have not experienced an inaccurate result from the assessment yet.) Once you know what your own strengths are, and you understand the relationship awareness theory, you can appreciate that other people have different ways to pursue increasing their own self-worth. Conflict arises when you pursuit of self-worth causes an attack on the self-worth of another person which hinders harmonious and productive relationships.
I have tried to apply personality theories in my daily work, but found them too complicated for real-world benefit. I can't figure out where I fit in the framework of Judging/Perceiving type assessments, and also can't place other people in such a framework, let alone take steps to improve our relationship while in conversation.
However, I have found Relationship Awareness Theory® to have pragmatic benefit in my daily work. I am trained and became certified to facilitate workshops, because of the value that I have obtained from Relationship Awareness Theory® . I apply the theory to help project managers deliver projects, teams work better together and as part of management development programs, because it works.
This article only touches on the tiniest tip of the iceberg, to provide a basic reference for you. You will learn more as you continue reading my articles, as I focus on helping you to apply this theory to improve your work, family and career relationships.