Relationships are the most important aspect of leadership. If we cannot "do" relationships well, we will suffer a lonely life. One of my mentors, Brian Klemmer, created one of the most powerful relationship tools. I learned it at one of his Personal Mastery Seminars. He cals it the 3 R's and they are responsible for divorce, destroying teamwork, causing physical illness and they cost millions of dollars each year. Unfortunately, when we are not aware of the 3 R thought process, it sabotages our relationships.
The one thing I have learned about human behavior is that individuals do not change their way of being until they see a major cost or price caused by their behavior. Rather than changing people will justify and rationalize their behaviors and as a result they dig deeper into the 3 R's.
So what are the 3 R's?
1. Resentment is any negative emotional reaction to what we think has been said or done. Common emotions include anger, frustration, sadness, jealousy and hate. Unfortunately we can never really escape resentment. On a day to day basis resentment may look like:
Your child talking back to you.
Someone cutting you off in traffic.
When an employee does not follow through or shows up late to work.
When the company restructures and you lose your job.
When you show up to a meeting on time and it starts 10 minutes late.
Resentment is a natural part of life. The key is become aware of that we are in resentment so that we avoid going deeper into the 3 R's.
2. Resistance is the cutting off of communication or putting up a wall. We can resist others in many ways.
Refusing to talk when have a disagreement with your spouse or team member.
When a manger hides behind a closed door to avoid his staff.
When a business owner refuses to call a upset customer.
When we are faced with a problem but ignore it by burying ourselves in our work.
One of the tell-tale signs of being in resistance is when we have to be right. The most important thing to be aware of when in resistance is to ask yourself, "What price will I pay if I stay in resistance?" Unfortunately, there is always a price that has to be paid. Although I may think that the other person is being hurt by my resistance the truth is that I am the one who is paying the price (i.e. lack of intimacy, no forward solution, other person seeks revenge, I feel miserable or guilty, etc.).
If I am not aware of my thought process and behavior when I am in resistance than I will move to the third R - Revenge.
3. Revenge is the attempt to get even or to settle the score.
The key word here is attempt. You cannot get even with another individual. It is a perpetual circle of resentment, resistance and revenge that keeps going until one person eventually stops the process. Here are some ways people seek revenge on a daily basis:
Employees may take more time at lunch because they feel it is owed to them based on the way they are treated.
A team member may slow down their work.
Participate in negative gossip.
Manager may schedule people on "certain" days.
Teenager breaks curfew.
Retail therapy or running up the credit card.
Although the 3 R's are destructive behaviors, the most important thing to remember to recognize is our thought process. We cannot "win" when we are in the 3 R's. It is a lose/lose situation. Once we begin recognizing it in ourselves allows us to be able to recognize it in others. When we are aware of our behavior or the behavior of others we can approach the situation with wisdom and engage in a solution-focused conversation.