I received a strange call one day many years ago. It was strange because it was from the wife of an executive client. She told me that if her husband was going to be successful working with me she had to work with me as well.
Uh oh, couples counseling? I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.
Basically, she pointed out that her husband was not realizing his full potential because he wasn’t utilizing her talent and was keeping his business issues bottled up. Even though she wasn’t on the payroll she knew that with her extensive business background she could be an asset to her husband if he let her.
He had the life balance syndrome (I believe it’s a real disease) where he thought he had to keep work and home life exclusive. Once he discovered that he had a great resource he could share thoughts with about work and that it was a problem that he didn’t, his work life and home life flourished.
You may know my wife Holly. She runs a great deal of our business. She truly is a partner in every sense of the word. When we co-teach other professionals regarding how we run our business and our office we always hear – “How do I get a Holly?” I joke that in this business it’s important to marry well.
We’ve been married 28 years but I remember when we first started dating I was invited to a football game with my company executives. It was a rite of passage and it was made clear that I was being evaluated at this social event. Holly was baby-sitting for a friend so she couldn’t go. I actually recruited someone to babysit for her so she could go to the game with me. I knew early on that she was a partner in business as well. It matters.
Well apparently it is unique that a couple can work well together on a full-time basis. It is important though that as a leader your significant other is a resource to you. Like the couple mentioned above both parties must understand the importance for it to work.
What role does your personal partner have in your leadership approach?
It’s a lonely job. A leader needs to share the most vulnerable thoughts with someone who truly cares. It’s important that your partner is involved enough to understand.
It’s reciprocal. You have to give support to get support. Recognizing and appreciating the value and providing that support in a partnership is crucial.
It’s team. The best bonus I ever received from a boss was a trip with my spouse. This acknowledged that she was part of the team as well. Michael Hyatt wrote recently about taking his team on a reward vacation and how important it was for them to bring their spouses as well.
It’s family. Your team can be much more successful if the people important to team members are also on board with the vision.
It’s holistic. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Your leadership and your company don’t either.
Remember, the personal is professional.
To do this week: Explore your partner relationship and how it affects your leadership. Any changes needed?
Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.