In the last column, I challenged you to honestly answer Do You REALLY Care? As we worked through that idea, my goal was to share a simple approach for making sure each friend or family member interacting with you would be just as certain about your response as you were. Here’s the challenge I’ve seen in so many scenarios: healthy relationships aren’t built on care alone!
Make no mistake here, I’m not a marriage or relationship counselor and I have no interest whatsoever in becoming one! I have, however, helped individuals and teams across the country create solid working relationships that continue to achieve outstanding results. I believe a major misconception is believing that an effective approach in a specific part of our lives is limited to just that part of our life… Hogwash!
The best results I’ve seen from any relationship have been from dealing with one common denominator: the people involved! And the combination I’ve seen produce the best and longest lasting relationships has included a fair mix of care, candor, and clear expectations.
Consider this idea as it relates to our kids… Even when we’re very intentional about explaining how much we love them, they still need (and I’d even suggest WANT) boundaries. Truth be told, I believe that’s part of caring for them. And I’d guess that even those few folks reading this who raised kids with halos still probably had to reel them in here and there! The key lies in finding the right balance.
I’ve heard John Maxwell share that “Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships. Candor without care creates distant relationships. But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships.” If we’re going to have the slightest chance of achieving that balance, we’ve got to have clear expectations.
But those expectations can’t be one-sided; whether it’s with a child, a family member, or any friend we interact with, unrealistic expectations can spiral out of control quickly. I have no doubt that you could come up with as many examples of how you’ve seen this happen as I have so I’ll skip that for now. When expectations aren’t clear, or even when there’s a mild misunderstanding, the limits of even the best relationships can be pushed. Times like that are when the balance between care and candor becomes even more critical.
A friend of ours recently told Cindy that “Caring values the person while candor values the person’s potential.” I’ll take that one step further by saying that establishing clear expectations values the entire relationship’s potential!
If we want our communication to yield great relationships, I can’t think of three more important ingredients than care, candor, and clear expectations. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with one final question: can you think of a relationship that you could improve with a better balance of these three?
Prior to founding Dove Development & Consulting, Wes and Cindy Dove developed strong professional resumes while working in both large corporations and small, family-owned businesses. In addition to extensive work in behavior-based safety throughout North America,