My friend Dr. Karen, with a radio show on relationships, recently wrote and asked me if my Simple Leadership Life CycleTM could help her audience when their relationships got stuck, as much as it helped leaders and managers in business. Since many of us have just celebrated Valentines Day, I thought I’d share my reply to Karen, below.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
I think the process applies very well to relationships and how to unstick them. Let’s see if you agree…
Why do relationships get stuck?
Because we lose track of what’s important and why we are in the relationship? Then step one of my Simple Leadership Life CycleTM (SLLC) will help: Clarify your strategic intent.
Are you there to prove the point that you are arguing about, or because you can’t imagine going through life without your partner by your side to share the joys and the hardships?
Because we get caught up in the details and lose track of what’s important for us to do? Then step two of the SLLC will help: Prioritization and time management.
Are you too busy running errands and doing little things that please you, and not giving enough time and attention to showing your significant other how important they are to you?
Because we try to do it all ourselves and don’t involve our spouses and other resources? Or expect our spouses to do it all and don’t delegate to others on their behalf? Step three: Delegation.
Is one of the reasons you don’t have enough time, as above, because you do too many things that you can get others to do for you? Like yard work or small fix-it projects around the house? Or how about leaving too many tasks to your spouse, like paying bills, reconciling the finances, or cleaning the bathrooms?
Because people don’t meet our expectations? Step four: Create conditions of accountability.
Are you really clear about your expectations, or are you both expecting the other to “just know” what each of you wants and expects from the other? And clarity requires that you understand what you mean the same way, not just the words you use. That usually requires conversation…
Because we don’t let our spouses clearly know what’s working and not working and how we feel about the way things are going? Step five – Performance management.
Are you providing constructive and caring feedback when things go right as well as when things go wrong? Are you doing it a little bit each day or every few days? Or are you waiting until your emotions are running high? Are you talking about what they are doing that is causing discomfort, or are you judging who they are as a person?
Because we don’t communicate very well? Step six – Communication.
Are you making the mistake of thinking that communication is the message that you want to send? And forgetting that effective communication requires that you start with clarity about what you want to be different, then understand what the other person currently believes, then you need to address their beliefs with your message?
Those are several of the ways that the practices described in the Simple Leadership Life Cycle help people day in and day out keep their relationships working smoothly.
Of course, if both members of the relationship apply the six simple processes in the Simple Leadership Life Cycle, that will more than double the benefits for both parties.
My points are not theoretical. They reflect what many of my leadership coaching clients have told me about how they are using the SLLC tools at home with their spouses and with their kids, to improve their relationships.
It makes perfect sense, when we stop to realize that one primary key to effective leadership is to maximize the strength of our relationships with people at work. The tools in the SLLC help us better engage with all types of people under a broad range of circumstances. It helps us manage up and across, as much as it helps us manage down. So why wouldn’t it help us build better relationships at home as well?
Can you see using your “Leadership Skills” to improve your relationships? Share your thoughts below…
PS – If you haven’t already picked up a free copy of my book “Shatter Your Leadership Limits,” please sign up in the box on the right and get your copy today!