I’ve learned a lot about relationships over the last few months. In some cases, relationships that I thought were strong needed more space to grow, and in others, those I thought could not be cultivated were actually in very good health.
Why didn’t I recognize this at first?
Probably because though I focus strongly on relationships in all that I do, I may simply look at the surface of relationships to determine their health, when, in fact, I need to constantly make sure that I’m examining the roots to learn all that I can.
This is an important realization for me as I can’t be as strong a proponent of relationships as foundational to learning and leadership if I don’t further investigate the health and well-being of every relationship I have.
While I don’t take relationships for granted, I can make assumptions about their development and need for sustaining too quickly. These last few weeks have shown me that I need to consider every relationship as needing tending. In the worst case scenario, the relationships are perfectly healthy, and a little tending will only help them grow more. In the best, I’ll recognize those relationships that need much more growth, and I’ll be able to take care of them before they falter or become in need of repair.
Being a relational leader and learner isn’t just about forming the relationships themselves. It is about constant recognition of what each relationship needs. And to do that, I have to make sure that I give each relationship its due.