Can you think of someone key to your results who is just not the best of leaders or not up to the challenge of their critical role? Do you feel frustration and maybe anger that the person is such a problem? Or, do you fear that he or she has too much power over you?
Relationships are like a dance. Each person moves, either in-step or out-of-step with the other. When the dance is in sync, we sometimes don’t even notice. However, when our feet are getting stepped on, many of us yelp and give a harsh look to our partner.
Here’s the reality: It takes two to dance well. Each dancer has to take responsibility for considering his or her moves, anticipating the moves of the partner. What happens when we look to the other person’s faults?
- An aggressive move or look creates an equally aggressive response–or worse, a passive one.
- Our awkwardness on the floor unnerves our team.
- We complain about our partner, which makes other potential partners wonder if we complain about them.
- Worst of all, our emotional reaction clouds our thinking about possible moves.
The solution is to pay attention to the “dance,” our partner’s steps, and, mostly importantly, our own steps.
- What moves can we make that will bring our partner into sync with us (not, what move can we get them to make)?
- Can we take a break and talk about the dance?
- Can we get someone else to take our place on the floor (maybe their is a better partner for the person on your team)?
Our personal power can be figuring out what, if anything, we can do to change the dance. Changing our dance or the pace will likely require the other person to notice and adjust.
This may not be a good analogy for everyone, including me. I’m not a great dancer. In my teen years, no one needed to learn to dance, we just moved on the floor. So, I would likely apologize if dancing now, regardless of whose feet got trampled. This is true for some people in relationships–there are people who always take the blame if it’s not going well. That’s the flip side of my point today.
So, notice the critical dances you participate in today. If the dance is problematic, make some new observations and change your dance. See what happens.