A healthcare CEO sometimes asks other executives to examine how fast they move to quash disagreement and other kinds of relational discomforts.
“Do you sacrifice reconciliation for resolution?” —Curt Nonomaque
I thought of Curt and this question as I read a thread about networking on LinkedIn this week.
“I have received very positive responses even from cold contacts,” the writer said. “However, most offer to help via email first and plan a meeting [later] in case their help via email isn’t clear enough. How do I convince a cold contact for a meeting when he offers help via email first?”
I reflexively bristled at the idea that contacts need convincing to fit our expectations of how best to connect.
I also understand the LinkedIn writer’s uncertainty. It can be so easy to privilege what I want from an interaction and to insist on it right now rather than consider what others in relationship with me might want or what our relationship needs to evolve and flourish long term. We might shoot for the immediate goal, whether that’s securing their agreement, locking down a hire, or resting in the simple satisfaction of completing a planned process.
It’s a lot harder to acknowledge the demands of those immediate goals and still hold the relationship with the gentle neutrality of a gardener whether or not those short-term goals are met.
Ultimately, there’s no need at all to rush or manipulate connection. And more: the desire to control what happens between two parties today can be the thing that most limits what could emerge between them tomorrow.
Seeking to control not only limits our ability to listen to what another person might be saying to us through word or action; it also stymies our ability to receive life’s surprises. Opportunities and experiences we couldn’t have developed on our own can meet short- and long-term goals when we’re willing to back up enough to let them bubble up to the surface.
Managers and leaders and teachers and mentees and partners and workers and friends—all of us navigate this question in some way. We all experience temptations to try to over-determine how things unfold.
Value your relationships more than you value getting your own way in relationships, and see how much room life makes for you. My bet? More room than you could have planned.