My wife prefers not to make any big decisions after 8:00 pm at night. It’s a reasonable request: she’s ready to relax at that time of day and doesn’t want any heavy discussions. That’s one example of relational clarity in my life. It leads to more effective communication with her.
I am not suggesting that I have it all figured out, but I know that by understanding and working to achieve relational clarity, it has become easier for me to give it as well as to get it from others.
At SM Advisors, we call it the proverbial “getting everyone in their underwear.” In our first planning session with a client, one of our key objectives is to create relational clarity for each planning team member. Each individual on the team has to define his or her do’s and don’ts of communication. They also point out any other rules of engagement to work more effectively with them. After we complete this intense but breakthrough process, there is not a single issue that cannot be resolved by the planning team through candid, honest and respectful communication.
You can create this same relational clarity with your leader, colleagues, spouse and all the other important people in your life. Sit down with the person you want to increase your relational clarity with and have both of you complete the exercise template available at www.stopsellingvanillaicecream.com.
Here are some fundamentals to get you started.
- Establish the Do’s and Don’ts of communication.
- Remember the first rule of engagement: Making statements creates judgments but asking questions create opportunities.
- Recognize their behavioral style and how to more effectively communicate with that style. (For example: introverted vs. extroverted)
- Set clear expectations. For example, my coach and I have agreed to respond to each other within 24 hours. It’s clear.
- Remember that accountability is considered a healthy part of a relationship.
- Recognizing you do not agree with each other on a specific topic is clarity.
- Establish techniques to address an issue in a non-emotional way with the person. If the conversation gets emotional exit the discussion gracefully and come back to revisit it at a better time for both of you.
- Agree on growth opportunities for your relationship. What can each of you work on to improve the effectiveness of your relationship?
There are so many benefits to creating relational clarity with the people you work with. First of all, it creates a culture and work environment that people really enjoy being a part of. In addition, you will gain an increased understanding of each other, and establish a more effective working relationship. You will gain respect for one another, experience less stress and accomplish more as a result of your relationship.
From my consulting experience, role and relational clarity are two of the biggest obstacles to optimizing individual, team and leadership performance. I assure you: there is a more fulfilling life out there when you work at making role and relational clarity a reality. Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!
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