What is Two-Way Relationships?
Having two-way, or reciprocal, relationships has long been considered a ‘gold standard’ for assessing the strength of relationships. Relationships can be one-way or two-way. A two-way relationship is formed when two people mutually interact with each other. For example:
- Mary posts a message and Sunil replies. Mary replies back to Sunil.
- Greta likes Sunil's reply. The next day Sunil replies to another post made by Greta.
One-way relationships are weaker. Example: The CEO posts a message. The post gets lots of replies, but the CEO doesn't reply back. Here we only have one-way relationships.
The Two-Way Relationship report provides the percentage of all the relationships that are two-way. On the Personal dashboard it looks at the number of people you are directly connected with, and then calculates how many of these are two-way relationships. On the the other dashboards where Two-Way Relationships it looks at all the relationships formed by the people who interact with each other.
SWOOP research has show that communities and teams with high percentage of two-way relationships also are more tightly connected. This is often referred to as having high level of 'cohesion'.
How to use Two-Way Relationships
As mentioned we have sufficient empirical evidence suggesting that a strong Two-Way Relationship score is consistent with high cohesion and thus collaborative performance. The best place to start is to look at your own personal Two-Way score. While it is not necessarily a goal to have a 100% score, have a look at your personal network map. Are there some one-way connections that should be two-way connections for you? Have a look at the Two-Way Relationship scores for some of the communities you belong to. Are they very different? Communities with higher levels of Two-Way relationships are typically more networked, information exchanges flow better and people say that they feel these communities provide more value.
To improve the score will require interventions aimed at creating more Two-Way relationships. While you are in control of who you interact with you cannot easily control who interacts with you. Having said that SWOOP research as found that if you react to a message then it is 3 x more likely that this person will react to yours compared to if you didn't react to that person's message. Relationship-building is therefore about giving before receiving. Strategies to build more Two-Way relationship therefore starts with encouraging people to respond to each other, reacting and @ mentioning.
A popular way of remembering this is to aim to be 'interested' rather than 'interesting'. Focus posts and replies on stimulating conversation and participation.
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