Congruence has become quite frankly, the Achilles’ heel of this generation. We produce some of the brightest people on the planet, but, unfortunately, too many of them are incongruent. They preach one message but practice another or, as was said over 2,000 years ago, “Why do you see the piece of sawdust in another’s eye, but not notice the wooden beam in your own?” This shows up especially in our roles as parents. You’ll hear people say, “Kids today just don’t listen,” but that’s because “They’re too busy watching.” We found that if you live a congruent life, when what you say consistently corresponds to what you do, a funny thing happens: Kids not only listen but, as they get older, they actually seek your insight and counsel.
At the end of the day, people want to know your motivations. Are you leading me for my benefit or yours? We see this show up all the time in the political arena, where the candidates only rub shoulders with average Americans during the election cycle. A classic example of the violation of this principle is the parent who grabs the unruly child by the arm and hisses, “Stop that, you’re embarrassing me!” and the child goes, “Okay I get it, as long as we keep up a façade in public you’re happy!”
You must take a genuine interest in the personal and professional development of the people under your care, help them become the people they are capable of and achieve success beyond their wildest imaginings and they will follow you to the ends of the earth. Does this mean the leader succeeds also? Of course it does, but that’s not the focus. The focus is on each individual and their own unique journey.
According to Dr. Carl Larson, one of the top three researchers on the functionality and performance of teams, “The single greatest predictor of a relationship’s long-term viability is a concept called “openness.” He defined “openness” as, “the ability to talk about any issue without fear.” It has a 94% predictive capability in a business relationship. What this means is that if you have the ability to talk about any issue with a colleague or client without fear, there’s a 94% chance that relationship is solid and goes the distance. Between spouses it goes to 98%. Here’s the kicker, between a parent and child it goes to over 99%. It is THE predictor! If your child feels they can come to you with any issue, to seek your guidance without fear, you’re going to be fine. However, if they can’t, they will seek their counsel elsewhere.
We’ve added the concept of “institutionalized” to Carl’s openness model. How have you “institutionalized” a culture and environment that fosters open, honest and candid conversations? Tell us about the structure of your team meetings [for more in-depth discussion of this topic, go to our Constructing a Synergistic Team Module], your family game night or your weekly date night with your spouse. Have you “institutionalized” a platform that fosters relationship and openness? If you think of the tone, tenor and quality of any relationship, it simply reflects the tone, tenor and quality of the conversations or, as Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations said so concisely and eloquently, “The relationship is the conversation!”
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