On my flight down to San Francisco this past weekend, I was reading an interesting article all about how most married couples could not fathom the concept of working together day in and day out. As I read it I had to chuckle as my husband and I have successfully ran a business together every day for the past ten years and have grown closer and have been able to build a stronger business because of our partnership.
Although we are married there are certain principles we follow that have helped us to shape a strong, productive professional partnership that hasn’t broken down despite the immense amount of challenges we have faced. These six signs of great partnerships have become very apparent to me over the past few years and I hope they help you become a better partner to your partner (whether spouse or otherwise).
- They trust each other: When Dan makes a plan, I trust that he has my best interests at heart and that he has the capacity to do a great job inside his role without my interference. I don’t second-guess his choices nor question every move that he makes.
- The respect each other: I don’t tell him how to do his job (unless I can share some helpful input) and he doesn’t tell me how to do my job. I verbally honor him in front of our colleagues and regularly express my gratitude to him for what he brings to the partnership.
- They give each other the freedom to mess up: Neither of us is perfect and both of us have made some big mistakes in the history of running our business but we are committed to letting the mistakes stay in the past and to not let them interfere with the organization’s future. We don’t blame, judge or criticize but work together to pick up the pieces and move forward.
- They play to their strengths. I don’t try to do his job and he doesn’t try to do mine. We give each other lots of space and don’t attempt to manage each other. I accept who he is and the limitations he has as a leader and he does the same for me. We meet in the middle and work as a unit instead of looking at it like a who-is-the-best contest.
- They are honest with each other: Because we trust each other, we can be honest with each other when it comes to making difficult decisions. We share our doubts, fears and apprehensions with each other and don’t worry about looking weak. The communication is open and we both accept that sometimes we may see things differently and have the permission to talk about it.