Relationships always involve managing tensions. In a continuous stream of situations, many involve forces pulling in opposite directions.
Caring for the relationship requires adapting to the situation and the tensions.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean doing what the other person desires. While it could be seen as an expression of caring for the other person, caring for someone else is more than doing what the person is desiring or asking for. It sometimes means leaning into the tension and leading by choosing a different option.
Caring for the relationship is different from caring for the other. The relationship is the place where people meet, establish a connection, build trust in one another, and develop activities that are meaningful to all. It also is the place where all involved will, at times, take the lead.
Taking the lead is the act of being proactive.
The act of leadership can be very subtle. Sharing or not sharing something are both acts of leadership.
At times it will make everyone happy, at times it will hurt individuals in the relationship.
The existence of tensions, of forces pulling in opposite directions, automatically leads to the necessity of making decisions. But the tension can also be the result of decisions that have been made previously. Whatever decision, and there is no difference there if the decision serves an individual or the relationship, it impacts the individuals, the team, and the relationship.
There is no way to always satisfy everyone, in so far decisions and consequently leading may hurt individuals in the relationship.
However, when the decisions serve the relationship and its shared mission, they are built on the idea of moving toward the greater good of those involved in the relationship. This allows everyone involved to find a path to accept the decision and commit to it. And often, the decision isn’t the most dreadful element in this process, it is the way the decision is made and communicated.
All of this describes how caring and leading also find themselves in tension.
The work of belonging and leading is continuously figuring out how to deal with this tension in the present moment.