When did it become more important to look after and worry about other people and ignore the people that are the closest to us? Why is it ok to complain about our family members business colleagues and partners?
If we said half of those awful things about the mums at school or about our friends, we would be awfully lonely, wouldn’t we? Imagine if we directed those complaints to someone on facebook. I could see a big fat unfriend-along coming on.
I see business owners spend no time with their staff, and people ignoring their business partners because it seems too hard to fix the problems they have. I see coaches and mentors spend inordinate amounts of time fixing their clients’ issues and ignoring their own.
Why do we do it? I think it’s twofold.
Firstly it is because we can. The people we work and live with often don’t have a choice. We’re stuck with them and they with us. Being half a million dollars in debt tends to help people stick together (trust me, I have been there!).
Secondly it is because the closer (and tighter) we get tied to others, the more flaws are reflected back at us.
Mother Theresa said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” And businesses.
In life, when something smells bad, we check the bottom of our shoes, don’t we? In business and in relationships bad smells don’t come from below us, they come above us. Managers that consistently complain about bad staff need to look at the person that is leading them.
And don’t get me started on families!
Interconnectedness and relationships via social media and the internet can be a massive distraction from the problems with relationships that are right under our noses.
If you are complaining about someone close to you stop and have a listen to yourself. Consider that you could better use your energy to ask smarter questions, like
- Who can I meet to help me see why this relationship problem is hurting me/us
- What do I need to read to shine light on this situation
- What is MY job in this relationship?
The role of a leader in any relationship is to nurture the relationship the people around them. Customer service 101 teaches us that relationships with customers are supported by asking questions and finding out what both parties want.
Bring it closer. Think of the people you spend the most time with as your internal customers and ask yourself if you, as the leader, are spending enough time nurturing the relationship.
Where are you directing your relationship energies?