Professional relationships

March 29, 2007 § Leave a comment

Virgina Satir

Image via Wikipedia

This page is part of my appreciation for my colleague Lynne Azpeitia. Lynne has this wonderful ability to provide a bunch of anchors to jumpy people, and the courage to dive into the unknown with them.

Take a step back from your busy buzzed businesses, and check whether the relationships in your business/team/life meet the below quality connections.If not, hight time for some test-driven development until they do!

Test: Mutual respect

Do you have the impression people in your environment get where you are at and why?

Do you feel listened to (and not plopped or pushed) when you express not feeling comfortable with assigned roles and tasks?

The key here is that your role/assignments/tasks meet your authentic you, so you can live your own dreams (too). Respect means valuing who we are and understanding our boundaries, instead of challenging them.

Test: Trust

Do your actions often get misinterpreted, and do people freak out at you when that happens?

Emotions are natural and important signals, but a reactive environment is deadly. Instead of reacting, we can respond by using the received signals for asking sensible questions.

If you can, and your environment can’t, find another environment that is more trusting!

Test: Honesty

Did you ever catch people in your environment (or yourself) telling a blatant lie?

The next time these people tell you something, it will take you increasingly more effort to believe them, until you let go of your willingness to believe in good endings and trust goes out the door, closely followed by your self.

Test: Support

Do you feel supported in bad times as well as good times?

Some people avoid trouble and come to the party to take credit when the danger is over. And some people are great in emergencies, but fall apart as soon as the emergency is over. Like when the danger is over, they collapse and stop supporting you, while you continue to support their efforts.

With healthy relationships, we support each other in good and bad times and celebrate together when the going gets good!

Test: Fairness

Do you take turns with who gets the lousiest jobs and assignments?

When relations become a power struggle, things can go downhill really, really, fast when one or more people do anything they can to have his or her way all the time.

Most of the time, when a person can’t get their way by pushing you, they’ll attempt to play on your feelings to get their way. And if there is no change, no matter how many times you spoke up in all honesty, with intent to solve problems, leave!

The key here is give-and-take. We don’t have to necessarily keep track of the details or a running count to make sure things are exactly even, but your gut will tell you when things are uneven! Then, you can either use your two feet, or use value stream mapping, or … make it your problem (not recommended).

Test: Separate identities

Do you feel like you are (gradually) losing out on being yourself?

If your efforts go unnoticed while theirs are emphasized at every opportunity, that’s bad. If you invest in relationships that go out of whack this way, the whole relationship is out of whack.

When you entered this environment you already existed, with your own dreams and your own life. “We are not to let ourselves be defined by other people’s limited perceptions.” — Virginia Satir

With healthy relationships, everyone needs to invest and make compromises. We are to feel free to develop new talents or interests, make new friends, and move forward.

Test: Good communication

Do you feel communications are avoided by people in your environment?

We all know how many different meanings can be made of a single fact, and that different significances can be assigned to the same meaning.

What is important is to ask what’s happening, and to be asked what is going on for yourself, and other. To speak honestly and openly, and being given time and space to consider our replies, when we ask for that.

Lynne, thanks!


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