As my husband John and I worked together to plan our annual 4th of July celebration (which is also his birthday), I was overcome with thoughts of thankfulness, both for living in the land of the free, and also for the freedom in the relationship I have with John, which has deepened over time.
John and I are both highly-dominant and independent thinkers who have striven to live out William Faulkner’s famous axiom that “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” Dominant personalities in particular must practice working together in order to be successful at it. And when we work together to achieve the same goal, we also create the same sense of independence we would have had if we were doing it ourselves.
Our many personal and business mentors, including our life coaches Julie and Greg Gorman (authors of the book “Two are Better than One”) have taught us to rely on others in order to gain their trust. More trust means more freedom from things others can help us with that contribute to more getting done with time. We have learned to communicate with and teach others to free our time to build on relationships and other areas of our careers and business for mutual success. In order to do so, we needed to overcome misconceptions such as:
- It is faster if I do it myself.
- If I don’t do it, it may be wrong.
- They don’t care as much as I or we do.
- In the past he, she or they failed.
We learned our costly failures with employees who did not arise from a lack of a desire to succeed. When we hire a qualified and focused person, and they struggle in the job, this is usually because of a lack of planning and/or accountability on our part. As a result, we are now learning to better hold others accountable through measurable and specific processes.
Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.” Trust is confidence, belief, and faith–free of suspicion or doubt.
So how do we create that assurance in a working relationship?
- Communicate expectations and “over-communicate” with one another, especially in the beginning.
- Set aside time to map out who will take the lead with a task or ongoing responsibility, as well as who will be the back-up in case the original person is unable to complete the task.
- Ask questions along the way if you are concerned with the status of an ongoing project or task.
- Communicate your deadlines earlier than needed to give yourself time to coach, train or amend the project as necessary.
- Set specific consequences for undesirable actions.
There are still many tasks at the office that require me to be hands-on, as there may be also with you. The goal is to create independence by aligning yourself with the right people who can responsibly remove from your plate tasks that can be completed by others. The right people will be prudent in this regard.
We will be watching the fireworks at Founder’s Park in the Florida Keys, eating cake to celebrate John’s firecracker birthday. When we return to the office next Monday, we will continue to create more independence through the dependence and trust in others. Are you free to do the same?