Relationship Rhythms

Relationship Rhythms

I’m going to miss the rhythms of summer: the long days, breaking of waves and sounds of crickets. They remind me of growing up in the South and cause me to feel centered, relaxed, and renewed.

Thinking about these rhythms of summer made me realize that relationships have rhythms too. I head them this morning during a business call. It was the easy give and take, the willingness to deal directly on tough issues, and the authenticity of the person on the other end that created the rhythm.

There was no posturing or sugar coating; just two people in sync, working together to resolve a complex business issue. Because of the rhythm of that relationship, following that call I felt acknowledged, connected and energized. The first day back from my vacation was off to a great start!

Unfortunately, not all business calls (or days back from vacation) go so smoothly. Some days the relationship rhythms are not so soothing. They pierce rather than soothe. In those relationships there’s more talking than listening, insistence on being right rather than learning, or conflict rather than collaboration. On those days, I leave work drained or exhausted.

The next time you’re at work on a call or in a meeting, listen for the rhythms of the relationships. What do you hear? If there is something that feels “off” to you, it probably is. Check it out. Find out what gives.

  • Is it just a bad day for someone else?
  • Is there something you or others are doing that is impacting the meeting?  
  • Is there something you can do to alter the rhythm of the relationship to make the process and the outcome more productive?

If there is, for heavens sake, do it. Make a move. Take a risk. Ask a question. Listen more closely. Alter your tone.

Do whatever it takes to make the relationship rhythm as productive as possible. Your colleagues, customers, families and friends will thank you for it!  (And vacation won’t seem nearly so far away.)

-Sallie Sherman, CEO, S4 Consulting
Sallie Sherman is the CEO of S4 Consulting. She is an expert in helping organizational leaders transform the way they approach critical B2B relationships and implement the complex changes needed to manage those relationships as strategic assets. Sallie has written two books.