Transactions are always about relationships—be they good, bad, neglected, important, casual, or professional. The list of adjectives could go on forever. Our lifetime of relationships weaves the fabric of our approach to life. In reality, our personal rules for how we conduct ourselves in relation to others is a key behavioral red line. To cross the red line is a phrase used worldwide to mean a figurative point of no return or line in the sand, or a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.
In relationships, the red line is simple – how do I choose to interact with other people? What is my intention? What actions do I take? Which behaviors do I choose? Your intentions, actions, and goals show up in every relationship and create the style others experience when dealing with you. This TripleWin Relationship Model™ captures some of the most typical relationship styles.
Over time, the styles of the individuals, including the top leaders, accumulate and become the culture of the core unit – be it a family, social, or professional organization.
The Point of No Return or Line in the Sand. The Limit Past Which Safety Can No Longer Be Guaranteed.
The bridge from a confronting, combative, adversarial relationship style to a more cooperative, collaborative, supportive relationship style is trust. When TRUST is compromised, the red line is crossed. Five important elements are trust are truth, respect, understanding, support, and trustworthiness.
T: Telling the TRUTH. Being honest and full of integrity.
R: Showing RESPECT. Not just in agreement, but in disagreement.
U: Being UNDERSTANDING and seeking to be understood. Finding areas of agreement and isolating areas of disagreement.
S: Giving SUPPORT so that others can be their best selves.
T: Being TRUSTWORTHY. All of the time. And acknowledging mistakes. Being accountable.
Without trust, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have win-win, supportive relationships. We must know how to grow and maintain important relationships. The challenge is to manage the demands on our time—time needed to invest in building and maintaining strong relationships with our family, colleagues, customers, and the world at large. Every day we have to fight for time for these all important relationships against the pull and tug of the hundreds of other priority tasks.
We must find the time, discipline, and skills to:
- Resolve conflicts before they become roaring infernos
- Solve problems at the lowest possible level
- Communicate effectively in the full range of situations
- Work collaboratively instead of at odds or in competition
- Remove barriers to teamwork
- Treat the relationship as important as any other task at hand
- Stay aware and sensitive to the human dynamics at play
- Coach and mentor others to build a stronger future
- Lead with responsibility and care
- Manage the impact of change and engage the affected stakeholders
The process of human interaction is one that seems mysterious but can be defined and understood. We need to invest in refining our relationship skills to clearly understand the red line of relationships and have the necessary tools and skills to be effective every day.
Nancy Brown-Johnston is the owner and co-founder of TripleWin, www.triplewintraining.com.