Four Reasons For Any Relationship Problem: Lesson #1

Since most of us think about relationships during February due to Valentines day, I’m going to dedicate this article for the month to a four part series: The Four Reasons For Any Relationship Problem.

No matter what your relationship, whether it be with a boss, an employee, a co-worker, your spouse or your neighbor, there’s only four reasons that contribute to relationship drama.

Lesson #1: Failure to speak your truth
You let your co-worker get by with her sarcasm because she’s had a hard year.  You let your neighbor tie you up on the phone complaining about her life because you feel sorry for her. You walk on egg shells and keep secrets from your spouse to avoid an upset.Wherever you go, there you are. You keep getting the lesson if you don’t learn the lesson. This is equally true whether the person in question is your boss, spouse, relative or in-law.

Here is something to remember: You can only be as honest as your level of self-awareness. If you don’t first tell yourself the truth you won’t be able to speak your truth.

Another question to consider if you are a leader: Do you provide a safe atmosphere for others to share their truth? Most employees do not have the courage to speak truthfully to their boss due to the fear of retribution. According to Doc Childre, founder of Heart Math Institute, 70% of people are afraid to speak up at work.

Signs you are failing to speak your truth:
1. You complain about someone behind their back.
2. You are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings so you withhold information.
3. You feel resentment and anger that is unresolved.
4. You continue to focus on someone else’s shortcomings.

Points to Ponder
1. With whom do you need to have a difficult conversation?
2. What are you withholding from yourself or someone else?
3. What is the worst that could happen to speak from truth?
4. Do others feel safe enough with you to speak their truth?

Next week we will talk about the second reason for all 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