There are only four reasons we have relationship problems with anyone. The first is that we do not speak our truth. The second is we do not set appropriate boundaries. This week I’m talking about the third cause of all relationship problems:
Lesson #3: Thinking You are Responsible for Other People
Am I my brother’s keeper or not? This is a difficult one. Most of us swing between two unhealthy perspectives: Rescuing and persecuting. The key to balance is to understand your intention and motive. Is the intention to make them feel good, help them grow, or get revenge?
When your intention is to make other people comfortable at the risk of helping them avoid personal responsibility, you end up taking on their emotional work. The result is that you inhibit their growth. This is an example of rescuing.
If the intention is to show them how incompetent they are, or to get revenge for past wrongs, the other person will experience your feedback as persecution, even if you claim the feedback is for their own good, they will feel your energy.
When someone gives overly harsh feedback while justifying their behavior with “I’m not responsible for their emotional sensitivity,” this is an indicator that they have not done their own emotional work and may not be completely competent or emotionally mature enough to lead.
When the intention is to help someone grow, it may still hurt their feelings, and they may still try manipulation tactics to get you to rescue, but your response will be balanced and solid.
Enlightened leaders use wisdom and timing to speak truth and set boundaries. Only when you have cleared up your own emotional drama, let go of resentments and fully understand your own intentions can you speak the truth kindly and give clear feedback and instruction.
Points to Ponder
1. What is your motive when you must discipline?
2. What is your motive when you hold back honest feedback?
3. How can you promote empowerment in others?
In the next article I will talk about the fourth reason for relationship problems.
Marlene Chism is a consultant, national speaker and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). Marlene’s passion is developing wise leaders and helping people to discover, develop and deliver their gifts to the world.
Marlene’s message is spreading across the country at association meetings, corporate retreats, universities and other venues. If interested in exploring speaking or training opportunities please call 1.888.434.9085