Women and men appreciate humour differently, we all intuitively know that, but what does it mean for doing business. What does it mean for building partnerships and preserving trust?
In my experience the topic of trust and loyalty comes up after several rounds of team coaching with gender diverse executive teams. Why? There is this expectations that when you grow-up you are not allowed to mix fun with work. ‘In business we are not boys and girls, we are business professionals. ‘ That’s what our Inner critique would say. When you surrender to gender neutrality you loose your secret weapons, your super power, the strengths that made you the responsible grown-up that you are right now.
When you were six year old and playing in the school yard you were sometimes given the task to choose the team for your next play. What an honour, that was. But who would you choose? Did you ask for the school statistics on who was the fastest runner? No, you first looked at your group of friends and you choose some of them, because…you had fun with them. Then, you looked around and you chose some kids who could run or catch well. It was all a’ fast think’ type decision, full of biases, but …real.
We don’t have the luxury to choose our team like this anymore, but that innate desire to have fun and experience joy with your team is still in us. Let’s not ignore it just because we are now doing virtual working. The Sage part of your brain, the one who brings creativity and innovation is stimulated by positive emotions not by ‘must do’ commandments.
Why is humour important in building partnerships?
Well, imagine eating your favourite omelette without salt and pepper.
Beyond, written contractual terms, partnerships are no less than human interactions based on the trust that together you can achieve more than alone. However trust is quite subjective to the one who offers it, so how does someone knows how to trust that you are not going to ‘stab him in the back’. Well, in middle ages you left the sword and knifes at their feet. Now you need to show vulnerability through your choice of humour. It is risky, they might not like it but that’s exactly the point. You are taking a risk to be vulnerable and that’s what creates trust, both with men and women.
‘It takes two to tango’ – Why partnerships?
How many times have you struggled on your own with a project when it would to partner? How many times have you done an extra chore in the house when you knew well that it was your partner’s turn?
I must confess I was guilty of both and that’s what triggered me to write this. You only need to watch two tango dancers to realise the beauty of partnership between a man and woman. The complimentary traits that build harmony, power and beauty. That’s why, study after study show that diverse teams perform so much better than homogeneous teams.
What are the secret tips for successful partnerships at home and at work?
There are many business books on building partnerships and as a young Business graduate I went through all those trainings while in University. Still, the wisdom of ones who spent more than 10,000 hours on a skill is what we should be looking for. I interviewed a business expert on deal making and partnerships and this is what we came up with.
Five Key Ingredients
- SEEK TRANSPARENCY – What does this partnership mean to each of you? Are you the small fish or the big one?
- DON’ T ASSUME – How can you keep the lines of communication open all the time?
- MAKE SURE YOU BOTH HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME – What does she/has to loose if this fails? How about you?
- UNDERSTAND EACH OTHERS MOTIVATION – What drives you to succeed in this partnership? Is it different?
- DON’T CROSS THE LINE – What are partner most important values? How do you make sure you don’t cross the line?
As I wrote this five ingredients down I couldn’t stop thinking about my own family and how do I partner with my husband or even with my 10 year daughter or 6 year old son on some projects. What I find is that with the kids is much easier to know when you crossed the line.
Unfortunately we adults tend to bottle the important emotions and that’s what makes partnership more cumbersome.
Turning the tables
Let’s take an important partnership you would want to improve now. How would you go about it?
- What are the top 3 Factors impacting it ?
- What are you Assuming about each factor?
- What is the one thing you would do now to unlock it?
About the author: Steliana Economu is an executive leadership coach specialised in positive intelligence. If like this article and you want to enjoy more of this type of resources follow mothersasleaders.com