"Let's go for coffee."
Those with ‘Relator’ in their top 5 Strengthsfinder results have an innate motivation to go deep in any relationship. Intuitively, they understand that anyone can be an acquaintance but deep lasting friendships take commitment from both sides. Once they decide there is someone they want to invest in, they open up themselves incrementally, choosing to be vulnerable. In such contexts, being genuine and authentic is second nature. This is also how they test if the friendship is reciprocated. Those who do, end up in their inner circle. These friendships tend to be intimate and enduring. Those who do not, on the other hand, run the risk of losing the trust of a Relator over time.
Relators seek deep friendships regardless of setting. Deep friendships with fellow colleagues can keep a Relator very engaged in the workplace. “I am happy to go the extra mile for a friend who happens to be a colleague”. This statement might not resonate for everyone, but Relators will probably agree.
Conversely, Relators may struggle to meet new people. At their infancy stage, Relators tend to be labelled cliquish. Newcomers may find Relators unwelcoming, especially in big group settings. It is not difficult to figure out why. Their tendency to group with familiar faces means that it takes a lot more for new people to break into their circle. Relators usually take a longer time to warm up to people. This challenge needs to be overcome, especially at the leadership level, where there is an increasing need to build relationships quickly and to make team members or business partners feel cared for. One way for Relators to widen their circle of trust is to schedule 1-to-1 time with individual team members. Another way they are likely to be more comfortable meeting new people is through introductions by their close friends.
How can a Relator grow this unique talent into a Strength? Here are some suggestions.
1. CAPITALIZE ON 1-TO-1 TIME.
For a Relator, 1-to-1 time is when his/her emotional tank gets topped up. This is a safe environment that is critical for Relators to open up and have deep meaningful conversations.
This is also how the relationship progresses naturally for a Relator: the more 1-to-1 time a Relator has with his/her family members, colleagues or friends, the more productive a Relator becomes. A deep desire to hang out or to do things together with these close friends mean that lunch and dinner schedules are often filled with these meet-ups. Managers who are Relators can become more productive with regular 1-to-1 schedules with team members. Trust deepens and transparent and honest conversations can take place. I have witnessed how mature Relators lead teams built on mutual trust and transparency. The manager becomes more than a boss to the team. He is a trusted aide and friend.
2. LEARN OTHERS' LOVE LANGUAGES
It is not a given that Relators understand how to build a deep relationship with someone even though they naturally desire to. It will be extremely helpful if they pay close attention to discovering how the person they desire to build a deep relationship with receives love.
"The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman provides some handy tools for the Relator. In a nutshell, different people have their love tanks filled up differently. It is very important to communicate in the love language that makes them feel greatly appreciated. Some enjoy quality time together. Others feel very loved whenever they receive words of affirmation. An act of service by a close friend may just be what some others need. Some feel greatly appreciated when they received gifts. And there are those who feel valued by a simple physical touch such as a hug or a pat on the back.
A Relator who is able to understand and appropriately 'speak' the love language of others effectively will grow in his/her ability to build depth and trust in relationships. This approach ultimately leads to greater personal productivity for Relators. When the innate desire to create a genuine relationship with someone else is satisfied, the self-motivation within Relators grows.
My wife, Michelle, is a Relator. She shares with me one of the best way to recharge is to spend time with her close friends during a weekend. Because of that, I make an intentional effort to have us schedule time with some of her close friends to hang out. Sometimes I will make arrangements to take care of the kids while she has her Relator time. She now enjoys her weekends so much more.
3. SEEK OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTNER TRUSTED ONES
Relators are most productive in environments where they can work with trusted partners. Often, they are more productive when they work closely with a trusted boss or colleague compared to working independently. Relators should intentionally seek out opportunities at work to partner trusted colleagues. At home, Relators can do the same. Instead of merely being in each other’s presence, actively partner your spouse (or loved ones). This can include hosting a gathering for close friends, planning outings for the family or signing up for courses together. The more quality time is spent with close ones, the more Relators increase their personal productivity.
4. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIP
Partner those with Woo
People strong in Woo are people who are energized in engaging new people and forming new relationships. By contrast, Relators take a longer time to warm up to new people and they prefer to continue to build stronger ties with their current circle of friends. In a collaborative work setting, those with Woo are stronger in networking and are always on the lookout to build relationships with potential new clients. Relators are considerably stronger in follow-up and are often better in the client relationship manager role. Such a partnership is powerful in a work setting, particularly in client facing kind of roles.
Partner those with Includer
People strong in the Includer theme are always looking to expand the circle. They enjoy engaging those who are left out and inviting them into the different groups and communities. Relators usually operate in the exact opposite fashion, preferring to keep the circle small to build deeper and more genuine relationships with those in the group. While including new people into communities is a powerful way to engage newcomers, it is also equally important not to cause the existing group dynamics to be disrupted or potentially weakened. Such a partnership between the Includer and Relator is very helpful in providing perspectives that are contrasting in nature and leads to more robust decision making.
Partner those with Focus
People with Focus prefers to zoom in and focus on prioritising the important tasks as work demands often portray most tasks to be urgent and important. People with Focus prefer to filter out the not so important tasks in order to quickly complete the important ones and achieve the desired outcome. Relators are more attuned towards the wellbeing of an individual amidst the tight timelines and stressful targets to reach. They believe that slowing down to show care and show concern for a close teammate is a very important aspect of work partnerships. Such a partnership helps to balance the priorities in a work team and brings a greater overall effectiveness.
Ending note: Relators do not necessary relate well to everyone. But they do have an ability to go very deep in those relationships that matter to them and build loyal and trusting friendships. "Good friends know stories about you. Great friends live these stories with you."
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup Certified Singapore Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com). He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.