December 13, 2017

Archives for May 2010

Post-election developments highlight importance of getting on with people

Whatever the final outcome of all the negotiations, some skill in relating well to other people and some care to do this over time has put David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the position where they seem to have the best chance of forming a stable government, whereas those that have taken less care over their relationships are leaving the stage. There are lessons in that for us all.

I was very struck by Nick Robinson saying that David Cameron and Nick Clegg get on better with each other than either gets on with Gordon Brown. I suspect it’s all going to turn on that. Relationships are that significant. If Gordon Brown had taken more care over these things, the outcome might have been different.

650 copies of my book Relationships Made Easy to go to Westminster?

Are private comments ever really private – radio mics or not?

Events of the last week where Gordon Brown’s comments intended to be private were heard in public (to understate things more than a little) would seem to highlight the dangers of using radio microphones.  But they highlight more than that.  Are private comments ever really private?  A radio mic can make them spectacularly public, but even without a radio mic what we say can be passed around with nearly as damaging, if not so instant, effects.  Were we actually surprised by what we heard last week?

We don’t need a blunder with a radio mic for our comments to find their way back to their subject.   In life, it’s remarkably like we do have a radio mic on all the time and everybody hears everything we say.   How come?  Well, for starters, people gossip, even when they say they’ll be discreet.  Secondly, our critical attitude comes across in our non-verbal communication and, when we talk critically of someone in private, we’re programming ourselves to ‘leak’ our true feelings through our body language and our voice when we are face-to-face with the person or with others close to them.

Here’s a challenge, and it is a challenge (I know I don’t live up to it all the time, with consequences I regret):  Act as if everything you say (or write) is heard by everybody.  It’s funny how life is really like that.  The only way to be sure we keep our relationships good is to assume anything we say will find its way back to the subject of our comments.  Sure, it’s a relief sometimes to sound off about someone ‘in private’, but it can be expensive in the long run, when our comments spread through the ether.

I’m setting out to remember my virtual ‘radio mic’ is on.  Will you remember about yours?

Research suggests health outcomes could be improved by working on relationship skills

Professor Phil Hanlon, expert in public health at Glasgow University, quoted in an article by Helen Puttick in The Herald newspaper (22 March 2010), says that the ‘best shot’ at an explanation for the chronic ill-health in the Glasgow is ‘a series of factors to do with the social, cultural, political history of the city which manifests itself in chronic stress, relationship issues, attitudinal issues and behavioural issues. These biological, relational, environmental and cultural things are combining in a particularly toxic way for Glasgow.’  Comparisons with other cities (particularly Liverpool and Manchester) unexpectedly showed that levels of deprivation did not alone account for the poor health stats in Glasgow.

Interesting that ‘relationship issues’ are seen by Professor Hanlon as potentially part of the explanation.  We might conclude that working on our skilfulness in relationships could contribute to improving health, in Glasgow, at least.  This might ring true with on-the-ground experience of a city in which talking about something bad that’s happened, like an accident, is commonly employed as a means of establishing common ground with other people.  Focusing on the good things instead might help more than our state of mind.

To read the Herald article go to http://bit.ly/dhT1IN.