Principles of a Powerful Partnership
I love learning. It is a thrill when I find a book/blog/author that provides a different perspective. It’s even more exciting when the information is backed with empirical research. No one does better research than ‘Gallup Press’. ‘Gallup has studied human nature and behaviour for more than 75 years. Gallup’s reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world’s leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioural economic indicators worldwide’.
They are responsible for the ground breaking ‘Strengths Based Leadership’ approach now adopted by countless organizations. The theory stating that contrary to popular belief, we do not need to be well rounded individuals. The more we can focus on individual strengths, the more chance we have of achieving excellence. Gallup Press exists to educate and inform the people who govern, manage, teach, and lead the world’s six billion citizens.
Knowing I can rely on them as a very substantial source of ‘this is how it is’, is a rare find in our complex, multi dimensional world. My latest Gallup Press treasure, ‘The Power of 2: How to make the most of your partnerships at work and in life’. This particular book is not looking specifically at romantic partners but a couple is EXACTLY the same. It’s a partnership between two individuals who also happen to desire each other. Chemistry/romantic love is the outstanding element for spouses.
Here’s the breakdown of 8 crucial elements for a powerful partnership:
- A Common mission-A shared goal or vision. As with my ‘Architecture of Relationship’, there needs to be a bigger picture or plan of what the partners are aspiring to create from their union. Raising a family, building a home, sharing a life together as companions, these are common goals of life partners. A lifelong goal between partners that can outlive the children leaving home: to challenge, inspire and encourage each other to become the best-versions-of-themselves.
- Complementary Strengths – (notice not complimentary) Two people who recognize their own exceptional abilities as well as their weaknesses make the best teams. One of the most powerful reasons for teaming up is to work with someone who is weak where you are strong and visa versa. The more different you are, the greater the potential for peak performance.
- Fairness– We are hardwired with a need for fairness. In a partnership its not what’s smart or logical that matters, but what’s equitable. It can be taken for granted when present, but its absence will destroy your relationship. Fairness is as much an emotional conclusion as a rational one.
- Trust– The Linchpin of a partnership. With trust, both people can concentrate their energies on their separate responsibilities, confident the other will come through. Without trust, it’s better to work alone. If one of you is not trustworthy, it’s better that you never even try to collaborate. Generally, humans reflect what they receive i.e. reciprocity (aka Tit for Tat). The word you inhabit is the world you make.
- Acceptance– The best collaborators understand they are no more going to get a perfect partner than they are going to be one, and they can make accommodations for each other’s human failings. ‘Active acceptance’ means acknowledging a negative, difficult quality/trait/situation and dealing with it in a constructive way. Acceptance is a tactic of focussing on your partner’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.
- Forgiveness – People make mistakes. And the human mind admires a good payback or ‘poetic justice’. Vengeful feelings fracture partnerships. A central problem in escalating feuds is that both parties use different arithmetic’s to calculate the balance. In many cases, whether a person forgives says less about the seriousness of the wrong doing than about the personality of the partner whose trust was abused.
- Communication – Open communication implies a level of trust between partners. Too much recursion and too little discussion inevitably leads to wrong assumptions. Assuming without verifying is dangerous. We are not mind readers; we are mind guessers. Good communicators rarely misunderstand each other, are good listeners for each other and show appreciation for what the other does.
- Unselfishness – In the best relationships, partners are equally satisfied seeing their partner succeed as they would be with their own success. Unselfish partners are willing to take a significant risk for their partner and take on the view that “I might want to treat them like I might want them to treat me”.
Conclusion: Being a great partner is hard work. If you want to have great partnerships, you need to be a great partner.