The Three Pillars of Relationship (Part 2) – Assess Your Relationships

We are talking recently about the three pillars of relationship.

To recap our last blog post, wherever you are there are relationships. At work, at home. Everywhere. Not only that, but most of what you want involves a relationship with someone. Relationships are a big deal! And they work best if we consciously build and maintain them.

From our last relationship blog post was this homework:

“Honestly assess – how are these relationships doing? One way to assess is ask yourself if you are getting the results you want from the relationship. Another way may be to go through the pillars and assess your level of trust, communication and commitment in the relationship.”

The first question then is what results you want from the relationship.

Let’s say you want your assistant to be on time, 9AM, to work every day. Also, you want him to be engaged in his work, inventive and enthusiastic and with a good attitude. Finally, you want him to anticipate what you need.

Let’s imagine the results are as follows: (1) Your assistant is on time an average of 4 days a week and when he is late it is only by about 5 minutes; (2) He seems engaged sometimes but also to have a lack of enthusiasm sometimes. You assess this at around 50%.  (3) He rarely, if ever, anticipates what you need.

You can then go through the three pillars and ask (1) How is our communication? (2) What is the level of commitment in this relationship? (3) What is the level of trust in this relationship?

If one pillar jumps out at you as more obvious than the rest, go there first. For example, you may rarely have meetings with your assistant which might indicate a lack of communication. Or, you may have meetings with your assistant and feel that he does not listen or understand what you are saying. Both of those things may indicate a problem with the communication pillar. Since this one seems obvious to you, this is a good place to start your work.

Or, you may wish to come at this from a different direction and ask yourself what commitment to this relationship looks like for both of you. What do you expect from him in the way of commitment? It may be that showing up on time and having a good attitude indicate commitment to you. Or it may be that he has been with you for 5 years and is good with clients and this indicates commitment to you. It will be different for different people. You might then ask yourself what your being committed to the relationship looks like. This question can be challenging and so your definition of commitment will be a good place to start.

What about trust? Trust is also something that is fairly subjective. And you can trust in different ways. For example, you may trust your assistant to show up on time 4 out of 5 days and if he doesn’t, that he will not be very late. On the other hand, you may not trust him to show initiative. It will be useful also to look at the other side of the equation and ask do you think he trusts you?

As you go through each pillar, it may assist you to rate the level of each quality (trust, communication, commitment) on a scale from 0 to 10. Then you can begin with the one with the lowest score. Just making the assessment can be one of the most valuable things you do. Because we are encouraging you to not only assign a number to each concept, but to articulate why you assigned that number, you will learn more about the relationship and where the work needs to be done. You will learn about your expectations, how important they are to you and where they are or are not being met. This is a much more proactive approach than to say, “John is unreliable and I don’t know what to do about that.”

And so, your homework for this week is to choose one relationship and articulate the specific results you want from it. Next, ask if one particular quality of the relationship (communication, commitment, trust) is obviously not working. Alternatively, go through each quality and assess each one on a scale from 0 to 10, clearly specifying why you assign that number.

Next week we will go through the pillars individually.

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