Friday, February 17, 2017

First the heart...

During the past week many articles, blogs, and social media focused their posts on the heart as we neared Valentine’s Day.  I previewed a few, casting away others, but one article caught my eye as the relationship between “Happy Couples” and successful teams was strikingly similar as I compared the two.  The author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie, identified “7 secrets of happy couples”. As I read through them I couldn’t help but to see the connection between a good marriage and a good leader…consider the 7 “secrets”:

1.       Trust: Suspicion and jealousy are the death knell of any relationship. If the other is going to cheat or otherwise dishonor the relationship, suspicion and jealousy will not prevent it, and such a relationship is fatally flawed in any case. Unwarranted suspicion and jealousy create misery in a surprising number of relationships. If you want to live happily, trust your partner completely. If they dishonor your trust, deal with the situation then. In the meanwhile, you will have been happy.

Organizations without trust cannot move forward effectively. Leaders must be trusted, which is earned by “walking the talk”…mean what you say and say what you mean…

2. Open Communication: Tell the truth, tell the whole truth. If you didn't want to share your whole life with your partner, why are you together? If you make a mistake, admit it. If you have doubts, talk about them. Secrets and lies kill a relationship. With truth and openness anything is possible. Even if something is unforgivable, it is better to deal with it quickly.

The truth will set you free…be honest with yourself and the people you serve…it will help build trust.

3Honoring the other's point-of-view: People disagree, couples disagree. Understanding that the two partners in a couple remain individuals is crucial to a happy relationship. Why would you expect that you and your partner should agree on everything? Honor that one of you is a Republican and the other a Democrat. Honor that one of you is a vegetarian and the other loves a great steak.

This one hit home for me personally as my wife IS a vegetarian, and I DO enjoy a good steak…respecting various points of view helps us all grow beyond what it is we are.

4. Self-Confidence: Co-dependence is another frequent cause of failed relationships. Happy couples know that they don't need each other. Each partner is a completely whole and valid individual who has entered into a voluntary partnership. Neither "owns" the other, nor "can't live without" the other. Each has their own interests and friends, as well as having mutual interests and friends.

A synergistic view of our teams where the sum is greater than its parts sets the foundation for growth.

5Generosity: Greed and selfishness kill relationships. True love is generous in spirit. Mostly, generosity is not about material things, although that is also important. To have a happy relationship, be generous of your time, your love, and your attention.

Servant leadership demands that we are generous of our time, our empathetic ear, and our attention.

6. Forgiveness: Resentments and thoughts of revenge and vengeance have no place in a happy relationship. Happy couples forgive each other completely for everything the other has ever done or failed to do - no exceptions.

“Let he without sin cast the first stone.” We ALL screw up…forgive and LEARN from the mistake…together.

7Gratitude: Happy couples are continuously grateful for each other. Every day there are a myriad of reasons to be grateful for your partner. Find those reasons each day, and thank your partner every day.

Leaders who take an attitude of gratitude can lift themselves as well as others when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thoughts and cultivate counting our many blessings.

So my friends, I hope you took a moment to appreciate those who encourage you, who support you, who love you this past Valentine’s Day and that you’re able to lead your followers with an open heart…1st the heart…then the mind…

Be good to yourself…

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