Think back to these three questions I challenged you to consider last time; Am I listening? Am I learning? Am I leading? For our communication to have a lasting positive impact on our most cherished relationships, I believe we need to be able to answer each of those questions with a resounding YES…
Let’s face it, we all find ourselves in situations where getting our message across with someone we care is hard – and situations that could quickly become far worse if we don’t send the right message. Those are the ones that really depend on the upfront investments we’ve made into the relationship!
In a lesson Cindy wrote a while back called How Leaders Improve Results by Balancing Candor with Care, she shared a few quotes she had picked up from John Maxwell on the topic:
“Care without candor creates dysfunctional relationships. Candor without care creates distant relationships. But care balanced with candor creates developing relationships!”
“Caring establishes the relationship and candor expands the relationship.”
Each of those grabbed my attention when I first heard her share them with the group we were working with! I’ve seen quite a few of those dysfunctional relationships with all care and no candor, and I’ve also seen my share of the distant relationships that were heavy on the candor and way too light on the care. And honestly, I don’t think I need to give specifics because I’m quite sure you’re picturing examples of each as you read this…
So what can each of us do to establish the proper balance of care and candor so we’re truly expanding the relationships that are most important to us?
The first question we really need to consider is whether we’ve invested enough into the relationship to be candid. I’ve met more than a few people who seem to believe their sole purpose in life is pointing out the flaws in each person they come into contact with. They view this as doing that person a favor, kinda like swatting a pesky fly. However, their approach to swatting that fly can seem like they’ve used a hammer – and the fly was on our forehead – especially if they’ve never invested enough time with us to establish a strong relationship. Their candor may be well intended but is rarely received that way. In most cases, we tune it out completely because we don’t value the source or it just plain hurts!
With that in mind, one of the best ways I’ve ever seen someone show they value a relationship is through the time they invest into it. When we give someone our most precious commodity, our time, that investment shows that we care. And with that foundation of care, we begin earning the right to be candid, especially if that candor is focused on building the person rather than tearing them down. Our friend Mark Cole said it this way, “Caring values the person while candor values the person’s potential.” But to be sure even candor that’s meant to build someone up is received well, there’s another question we’ll need to consider and that’s what we’ll dig into next time!