Nicola Roark wrote a great piece about the difficulties of working together as spouses or partners titled – Why My Husband and I Won’t Work Together. I found the piece to be a super insightful read. It is always interesting to understand the person behind the professional. I have seen family members work amazingly well together. However, I have also witnessed family businesses fail and marriages ruined.
As I was reading Nicola’s post, it reminded me of a recent workshop I attended that was led by Steve Gutzler, author, speaker, and executive coach. The workshop was titled Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership. If you have not invested time in emotional intelligence or EQ, I definitely recommend it.
Ok, back to Nicola’s great topic and how EQ plays a role in making it a success between spouses or partners at work… I have worked together twice with my wife. The first time it was a new thing. It was odd and fun to have her a few cubes down from me. The fun part was having lunch together daily and to see her in her work environment. I definitely gained a new level of respect for her.
The odd part was that in the past, work was work and family time was family time. As we worked together, I noticed that they started to intermix. As they intermixed, I started to see that our work personas were showing up at home, and our home personas were showing up at work. This created a new type of conflict and confusion. Our lives became homogenous, and our positions in each place changed. My wife and I definitely had some bumps in the road when we first started working together, but she helped me gain a new perspective. From her observation and feedback, I learned that I was not very self-aware and did not truly understand how people think and act. I was able to make changes in my behavior, which advanced my career. In turn, I was able to help her network and give her advice on business practices and relationships. Overall, it was a win-win situation. We both learned a lot from each other and were successful business partners.
A short time later I attended Steve Gutzler’s workshop (noted above). It was like a light bulb went off for me. Better stated, the IQ side of my head finally understood the EQ importance. Perhaps it was because I am an introvert, perhaps it is because I placed a lot of emphasis on results instead of relationships, or perhaps it just took a hard headed guy a while to get it. Whatever it was, it helped me truly understand the value of relationships and people. A friend of mine once said, “people do business with people.” This phrase stuck with me then and stays with me today.
So now you may be wondering what happened the second time we worked together? Overall, it was great. We had very little conflict or confusion. We were able to keep different parts of our lives in their proper area. We were also able to intermix our different personas much more effectively. This time I felt like it was a great success.
What was different? I credit it to better understanding the Emotional Intelligent side of me and allowing my EQ to become more influential in my professional life.
I personally believe that if we all let our true selves out a bit more and understand other people’s true selves, we will always work better together. We will be kinder to one another, work harder for one another, better support each other, and ensure success for each other as a team. Whether it is a family member at home or a colleague at work, I believe treating everyone with a good measure of emotional intelligence can make all the difference for the company to succeed!