Editor’s Note: We’ve featured relationship coach Blair Glaser’s posts about using leadership/business skills in relationships a couple of times. Here is another of Blair’s follow-up articles illustrating how that can work. — Amanda
By Blair Glaser
Title inspired by Terri Garr in Mel Brook’s film, “Young Frankenstein”
These days, much has been said about bringing love, awareness and compassion into leadership in the workplace. I like to think it works the other way, too: many of the leadership skills we hone at work are also effective in personal relationships.
Relationship and organizational coach Blair Glaser.
Whether you think about it this way or not, you are leading in your personal relationships all the time. When, as parents, you create the rules of the house and enforce them; when as an older sibling you teach a younger one a new skill; when in relationships you bring your vulnerability and or in romantic partnership you initiate sex — these are all, albeit usually unconscious, forms of leadership.
Why, if we are already doing it all the time anyway, is it important and useful to think about leadership in the context of relationship? Because bringing conscious leadership roles into your relationships can be a creative and fantastic way to increase intimacy, reduce unnecessary drama and conflict, and help you take things less personally. This, in turn will reduce the type of sensitivity that keeps you ensnared and increase the type of sensitivity that will serve your loving. How?
Traditional “Leadership” in Love
Let’s say you begin to realize that you are the one in a romantic partnership who mostly initiates sex; you are in the role of initiator. And it’s starting to bother you: You want more balance. Normal and healthy advice would suggest that you talk with your partner about this. Witnessing the issue and bringing up the conversation in and of itself is a form of leadership. You would be taking a stand for the sexual life of the relationship, even though it may make waves.
And, unless you are with a very evolved person who takes in what you say, digests it, and starts initiating, this conversation will likely make waves. Even if you bring it up gently, your partner may feel attacked and try to prove that he or she initiates, too. “Remember that time in Jamaica?” Then you can both avoid the issue by going back and forth about who’s right. Or, your partner may like it that way and say, “I’m sorry, I am just not an initiator –tough!” And leave you alone in your desire for change and feeling powerless in having to make peace with it. Or, your partner may feel “caught” in his or her avoidance behavior and fall into a big pile of shame, leaving you feeling burdened and regretful about having brought the whole thing up.
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