You may have several “Partners” in your life and at any given time and let us just stop here first and say: Hey-get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not the kind of multiple partners we’re talking about. We’re referring to those pivotal people in your life with whom you choose to do big things with. From your life partner relationship to your best-friend-turned-business-partner the kinds of partnerships we’re talking about are the ones where we endeavor together to achieve shared goals. Whether it’s having kids together or launching a new brand we’ve learned that there are certain rules that when followed set up the partnership for success.
5 Rules for Positive Partnerships:
As our mentor, John Maxwell teaches in the Law of the Inner Circle who you become is most easily predicted by the people you surround yourself with. If you’ve never heard of this before, or haven’t considered it in awhile it might make you feel a little uncomfortable. Good. Who you hang out with matters- a LOT and if the thought of being the people that you most hang out with makes you cringe then it’s time to get a new circle. Consider the below evidence:
Did you know there are tiny mirrors in your brain that mimic other people’s intentions and emotions? For instance, when you’re eating cereal on the couch and watching the real housewives get into a full-blown screaming match you’re likely feeling one of two ways. You’re either inflamed like the two ladies yelling or cringing like the poor observers at the restaurant. That’s because you have a little network in your brain filled with “mirror neurons.” This means that who you surround yourself with the most are the people those neurons reflect the most. So who’s in your mirror?
Talk about your talking
No, we’re not getting crazy meta on your here, what we’re referring to is addressing the structure of your communication. You know why most people don’t communicate effectively? They don’t talk about their communication! Not talking about communication will almost always lead to miscommunication. Be open about how you communicate and be receptive to how other people communicate. This means that body language matters. And tone matters. And it means that you have to agree on who owns what subjects and what boundaries are uncrossable. If something is coming across from the other person in a way that gives you a negative feeling ask why they delivered the message in the way they did. You may think crossed arms meant he was mad but really he forgot a sweater and was cold. Also, communicating openly about who takes what responsibility and leadership in certain areas. Talk about the talking!
Be Brave and have the tough talks
You know how every relationship expert ever says “communication is key” they don’t just mean communicating about the kids’ soccer schedule or encouraging your business partner. They mean the WHOLE communication pie. This means asking questions you don’t want to ask and sometimes it means having the conversations you don’t want to have. It’s tough to sit down with your partner and say “I am not happy in our current arrangement” and it can be even tougher to sit down and talk about a behavior the other person is displaying that you don’t agree with or that rubs you the wrong way. If the message is hard to deliver, then you know it needs attention- nothing good ever comes from ignoring the tough talks.
Protect the trust tree at all costs
The most positive partnerships are created under the comfortable shade of the trust tree, that’s why it is so important to protect! The trust tree has a lot of branches, and similarly to a tree, if a branch gets broken, it takes a long time to grow back. Put simply, this means never divulging what your partner tells you, not berating them for any reason, not trash talking them behind their back or EVER in front of other people (venting frustration to another trusted partner is one thing, trash talking is another). The trust tree means you both are engaging in a safe bubble for communications, opinions, and expectations.
Present a United Front
Communicate well enough with one another that you present the same message as a partnership to other people whether it be your kids, employees, or an audience of any kind. Nothing is worse than when Mom says “No you can’t have a cookie” and Dad says “yes you can.” Communicate often and thoroughly so that you’re united in the communication you offer to other people. It may mean that you have to bite your tongue sometimes and address it privately and it does not mean you always agree! The message can be “We still haven’t come to an agreement yet, but we are working on it!” Or “We’re working on getting the right solution.”
Partnerships take work. Working with someone who communicates, thinks and reacts differently than you do is challenging at times. Combining two people’s strengths and thoughts can produce amazing results, more amazing than the effort and thinking of only one person. We want you to have positive partnerships being in business or in life, which is why we’ve focused on this important topic for our next blog and podcast.
We don’t want to leave you hanging!
Learn more about what John Maxwell has to say about the importance of your inner circle here
Feeling shame or feel like you’re shaming your partner? (come on, be honest) listen to “Shame: Turning Self Loathing Into Self Loving” here
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