One of issues that is most difficult for people to deal with is the duration of a relationship, whether personal or work related.
Some of it has to do with the paradigm in which we view the relationship, here are some examples:
As children, we are brought up to never be a quitter, so when we decide to no longer participate in something, even in a relationship, we sometimes feel badly because we fell like we are quitting and that’s worse than the results we perceive the relationship is yielding.
We believe that we can somehow rescue this person, and if we don’t, who will?
We believe that somehow our patience, love and understanding needs more development and this relationship will help us do that.
We believe that we made a commitment to someone in an employment situation and we feel we have to hold up our end of the deal, whether they do or not.
Let’s start with “being a quitter” first. People who move from relationship to relationship do little more than pack up their own baggage and move down the road to the next relationship. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a situation where you’ve given your best effort toward the relationship, and no progress is being made and you are sticking out to avoid the feeling of being a quitter. If you have given your very best effort to make things work in the job and decide to move on, that is not being a quitter, that is avoiding what is called the insanity of trying the same thing again and again with no better result.
In regards to rescuing people, it depends on your belief system. In various seminars, when I ask this particular question, the answer is always the same. The question: Do you believe that people should have a chance to succeed or fail on their own? The answer is always: Yes. If we believe that, then we must create an accountability environment to allow them to do just that. There’s nothing like the feeling of succeeding at something on your own. Remember the time you rode the bike for the first time without the training wheels? It was great! There was also a chance of failure in it, I know, I failed and skinned my knee a couple of times before getting the great sensation of success of doing it on my own. Sometimes, we want to remove those chances of failing, when we do, we’re not helping, we’re enabling.
Everyone has immense worth as individual human beings. Love, mercy and compassion are tools that need to be exercised by everyone. When we turn things inward and put the entire responsibility on ourselves for delivering those components to a relationship, after a time the situation could turn abusive. The abuse isn’t all happening from the other person, we’re creating it. Keep this in mind, abusive people who are unwilling to budge in their behavior seldom change. Everyone knows a great story about an exception to this, and at the same time, that is what it is, an exception, not the rule. Everyone has free will and choices and when a person habitually decides to use their free will for destructive purposes, you can not change them. Believing you can is setting yourself up to have more more power over them than they do, and that is not the case. Only in the case where both parties are willing to give it their all in this area can real relationship transformation occur.
Lastly, taking more responsibility than you should is common in employment situations. We were having a consultative session with a client where the business was in critical condition and the client brought up the fact that one of his employees was better at handling store issues and customer service questions than his appointed manager. “Why don’t you drop your manager and give your better employee a chance to make the store better?”, I asked. He responded “I couldn’t do that, where else would my manager go to get a job or make the kind of money I pay them?” We all want employers who care about employees, that is for sure, and my client was definately in that camp. At the same time, he was putting his entire company at risk by taking too much responsibility for the employee who was not delivering on the job required as the results were the evidence. If the store failed, not only would the manager be looking for another job, so would all the other employees and the owners themselves. Both sides of the deal have to be held up, not just the one side. Performance standards and measures are the real sign of whether we are being effective or not and regular touches and conversations about the plans to deliver on those results help keep everyone accountable, not just one side.