What the Marriage Experts Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership

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What the Marriage Experts Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership

“There are many reasons why relationships fail, but if you look at what drives the deterioration of many relationships, it’s often a breakdown of kindness.”

This sums up 4 decades of research by John and Julie Gottman, the renowned experts on marital stability who run The Gottman Institute, which is devoted to helping couples build and maintain loving, healthy relationships based on scientific studies.

So what does this have to do with leadership?

The ability to forge strong and lasting relationships is a fundamental for today’s leaders, especially in what is being called a “relationship economy.” Consider that the same fundamental ingredient that makes a marriage work is also essential to effectively leading others – kindness.

Random Acts of Leadership was founded based on a fundamental inquiry: what if committing an act of leadership could be as simple as committing an act of kindness?

[Tweet “Could it actually be that a kindness mindset is also a key to effective, sustainable #leadership?”]

The Gottmans refer to those couples that have many years of a successful and satisfying marriage as the “masters,” and have this to say about them:

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have which is this: they are scanning the social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes. It’s not just scanning the environment. It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

Leaders too create the culture by what they listen for and give attention to consistently over time.

What would be possible if you embraced this same habit of mind that makes a marriage work in your mindset as a leader – scanning your environment for what you can appreciate, and catching people doing something right?


Image Credit: mizina / 123RF Stock Photo


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