7 Principles for Making Relationships Work at Work
Whether you’re married or not, you can apply some marriage relationship advice to your work relationships. Like marriage relationships, work relationships take nurturing to be most satisfying and productive.
My last post, 6 Signs of Bad Conversational Habits that Kill Relationships, was based on Dr. John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. This post will introduce the seven marriage principles in the book and my recasting of the concepts for business relationships. The next seven posts will go into more depth about the applications of each of the business principles.
Business Principle 1: Learn What Makes Them Tick
Marriage Principle: Enhance Your Love Maps
Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other’s world. They have a richly detailed love map (that part of your brain where you store information about your partner’s life). Because emotionally intelligent couples know each other’s goals in life, each other’s worries, and each other’s hopes, they are far better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflict.
Business Principle 2: Give Honor and Respect
Marriage Principle: Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
People who are happily married like each other. Even when the other person is driving them crazy, they still feel that the person is worthy of honor and respect. By simply remembering your spouse’s positive qualities, you can prevent a happy marriage from deteriorating.
Business Principle 3: Create Moments of Connection
Marriage Principle: Turn toward Each Other Instead of Away.
This just means that the couple connects with each other in lots of chit chat and other moments of connection. Partners who characteristically turn toward each other rather than away are putting money in their “emotional bank account,” building up emotional savings that can serve as a cushion when times get rough.
Business Principle 4: Share Power
Marriage Principle: Let Your Partner Influence You.
This is typically much more of a challenge for men in a marriage. Statistically speaking, when a man is not willing to share power with his partner, there is an 81 percent chance that his marriage will self-destruct. Emotionally intelligent husbands have figured out the one big thing: how to convey honor and respect.
Business Principle 5: Cope with Problems Strategically
Marriage Principle: Solve Your Solvable Problems.
All marital conflicts fall into one of two categories: Either they can be resolved, or they are perpetual (which means they will be a part of your lives forever, in some form or another). Happy couples learn to keep a perpetual problem in its place and to have a sense of humor about it. You many not love the problem, but you are able to cope with it, to avoid situations that worsen it and to develop strategies to deal with it. You need a willingness to explore the hidden issues that are really causing the gridlock.
Business Principle 6: Move from Gridlock to Dialogue
Marriage Principle: Overcome Gridlock
The goal in ending gridlock is not to solve the problem, but rather to move from gridlock to dialogue. You will learn to live with the problem. To navigate your way out of gridlock, you have to first understand its cause. Gridlock is a sign that you have dreams (hopes, aspirations, and wishes that are part of your identity) for your life that aren’t being addressed or respected by each other.
Business Principle 7: Create a rich “Work Culture”
Marriage Principle: Create Shared Meaning
Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love. It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together—your own “marriage culture” with symbols, traditions and rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you.
Stay tuned for the 7 principles applications. Next post: Business Principle 1: Learn What Makes Them Tick