I deal with lots of people. I see lots of relationships. I have many relationships. Some are deep. Some are superficial. Some are for a short time. While others are for many years. I also have a very clear view of what it looks like for people to have a relationship with an organization. As I assess all of these relationships, I see the same things show up in those that are healthy and those that are not. I am learning some things from this. Healthy relationships are not an accident. With the right habits and disciplines any relationship can be awesome. It does not matter if this relationship is with a spouse, a friend, a sibling, or a business or church. If you want any relationship to work, it is built on certain principles.
- give up the right to be right – Learning to let go of having to win the argument or just win that point can stop the erosion of any relationship. Being willing to say “I am laying my right down” and just learning to not care about winning in each moment is so powerful. This is most necessary when you are right. Let the person process the discussion and kept to that conclusion.
- sacrifice things that you like – Too many people are just flat out selfish with others and the groups they are connected to. I do not want to watch that movie. I do not want to eat there. I am not a fan of that event. Men’s retreats are no fun. I would rather go to this park. Etc. Etc. Suck it up and go to something you do not like. Eat a food or watch a movie you would not choose. Give up working out to go on the walk.
- run to their pain – Any relationship is going to have a time with the other party is suffering. Your company or your church or your spouse or your friend will be broken and down. Run to the mess, not from it. Help them. Do not be absent when things are hard. Be willing to get involved with things are the most ugly.
- admit failures – We will all make mistakes in our relationships. Admit them. Say it out loud – “I screwed up.” This will have a much greater potential of making things right then denying the truth.
- have the talk – Communication is what makes any relationship work. But too many folks are not willing to just talk. I am annoyed or I am excited…just say it. I was hurt. I am confused. I am so proud of you…go talk. Be the person who will go and share, not just hide in the corner. (Note: when we share, we should do it appropriately.)
- laugh together – Too many relationships are breaking down because they are no fun. Find ways to inject humor into any relationship whether it is an individual relationship or a corporate one. Humor unites. Be intentional to make this happen.
- have their back in public – There is a time for disagreement and for critique. Do it in private. I do not like this decision or do not like how you handled that. Fine…but do not share that with others or in public. In public, you are champion for that person or organization. Keep your negative thoughts confined to the appropriate place.