Have you ever thought about your family as a team? Probably not. We always say that we can’t choose family; we are born to our parents that become our ‘managers', siblings that automatically receive the status of 'colleagues’, and later we are being promoted to a ‘managerial’ role when we have our own kids. We do get to choose our partners for life, but also this partnership might no longer be relevant if we don’t take the right steps to keep it fully supportive to our personal (and professional) development.
Think about the power and amount of energies we can all gain if we really invest in our family and build it as the next best team. The sharing of so many experiences together creates plenty of stories and challenging moments to learn from for the future. However, If we’ll not know how to nurture these relationships with our parents, partners, and kids, it will bring us down rather than take us up.
When reflecting on myself, the challenging part of having the family as my best team is that nobody taught me how to be a good parent, behave responsibly to help my parents as an adult, or be a good husband to fully support my wife.
As a father, I want my kids to receive everything they need to have a fulfilling journey in life. I believe in providing constructive feedback to enhance learning, but when they act like small kids (because they are) the feedback is not always very constructive and sometimes emotional.
As a husband, if I want to truly support my wife, the communication should be flawless, where context, shared brainstorming, and proper analysis, are all part of the decision-making process we do together. However, when we are both tired and hesitant to discuss struggles, we take shortcuts in the communication and create the opposite effect in getting to the ideal conclusions.
And for the parents…let me ask you, who doesn’t think at times that our parents don’t understand the full context of things and therefore it is more difficult to consult with them on challenges we experience? Sometimes, we rather not share the struggles we experience as we are afraid our parents will prejudge the situation and let us feel like children again - and not in a good way…
Not working as a team within the family can happen when we spend less time in analysing and reflecting on our behaviours or reactions, and postponing difficult and necessary discussions for months, or even years. We can have an argument and let the time “heal the wounds”, and while above the surface it seems all smooth under it the baggage only piles up and might burst in the worst moments. Sometimes, we have a more attentive and open relationship with others outside our family and the reason for it is simple: with other circles we have more control on our relationships, while we can decide to focus on practicalities and keep the level of deepness and emotions to the right doses. With family, it is much more challenging to put emotions aside, but also not necessary.
As a father to my kids, life-partner to my wife, and a child to my parents, there are so many dynamics I should play to become the best team-player in each of these interactions. And let’s not forget to be a good brother. I just try to do my very best according to my values, knowledge, and experiences. In simple words, sensing the ground and acting accordingly in each one of these roles. We should never forget that it all starts with who we are, and how we decide to approach the situation. If we’ll be open, listen, and not be afraid to have the more difficult conversations, we can gain so much. We shouldn’t be hiding from others, because by doing that we are only hiding from ourselves.
The shift to the positive side will only work if all the members in the team we call ‘family’ understand that listening, sharing, and constantly self-reflecting can engage all members to have the best team ever! But be careful; you can put all the energies you have to motivate everybody else, but if there is no cooperation from others you will give up, experiencing great disappointment. The best ‘call for action’ in these tricky situations is to say what you believe in, and by your daily actions and attitude you can signal the ones you care about on which direction you would like to head to. And of course, lots of unconditional love ;-)
The same goes for the group or team we are part of in our professional life. You should act in a way that will get you and your team to good places. By following the same approach of being open, listen, and not be afraid to have the more difficult conversations, you can make your professional team to become the second best in our life. Why only second best? Because ‘first place’ is already taken by your family.