Can You And Your Partner Approach Life As a Team?

“I feel small admitting this, Charlie, but the truth is, I resented you – your money, your power, your prominence.”  Hal wondered if he should proceed so openly. But if I don’t, we’re still playing games.  It’s risky, but it’s the only way we’ll get to bedrock.

Charlie scoffed.  “Your attitude put me off, to put it mildly.  Especially after the investment I made to become a partner in the company . . . It was your attitude and the way you kept information  to yourself that made me wonder if you had something to hide.”

Hal closed his eyes.  He’d never imagined his lack of communication could have such a consequence.  Although it was difficult to listen to Charlie, Hal knew he was telling him the truth.  At least it was Charlie’s truth and needed to be expressed.

– from The Hero’s Choice by Roger K. AllenEven if you haven’t read The Hero’s Choice, you can feel the pain in the scene above.  Hal’s refusal to listen to the people around him did a lot of damage.  He lost his job, hurt his wife, and damaged long-standing business relationships before he finally was able to understand that he needed work on his communication skills and started his journey toward self actualization.

As you took the partnership quiz in my blog a few days ago, you may have discovered some issues that need to be addressed in your partnership.  This will involve communication.  Half of communication – maybe more than half – is the ability to listen – and nearly all of us could use some help with this.

  • Be alert to pride. Pride is a sneaky flaw that can creep into the most innocuous of situations and the sweetest of personalities.  If you find yourself being resistant to someone’s words, you should look inward to see if your pride is feeling bruised.  If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t want to hear it!” it might be because you don’t want to realize that you’re wrong, or even partly wrong.
  • Stop preparing your rebuttal. When your partner is speaking, are you listening – really listening?  Or are you thinking about what you want to say, how you want to respond?  Make sure you’re really understanding what your partner is saying.  Reflect the words back if you need to (making sure it doesn’t mocking).
  • Be tolerant. As the two of you discuss sensitive issues, your partner may speak with a raised voice, use exaggeration, or cry.  This may make you feel defensive or unfairly accused.  Be mindful of your goal – to strengthen your alliance.  Listen for what your partner is actually trying to express instead of calling foul because it was expressed imperfectly.
  • Try again. Your partner talks to you at length.  You hear, “I feel like you abandon me at all of the most critical points of my life.”  This is a very upsetting idea.  But when you play it back, your partner denies that that’s what he or she meant.  Now your emotions are aroused.  It’s a moment of decision – a Key Moment.  React to the apparent condemnation with anger or defensiveness, or cling to your commitment to self actualization and try again to understand what your partner is really trying to say.

You may have found that you aren’t satisfied with some areas of your relationship with your partner.  The stronger your relationship is, the more powerfully you’ll move toward self actualization.  Now that we’ve talked about how to listen, come back tomorrow and I’ll give you some tips for communicating your concerns and strengthening the weak areas.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit


1 Comment

  1. Jalen

    Superior thinking demonstrated above. Thanks!


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