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Sustainable Relationships at Work and at Home


About 20 years ago, I was visiting one of my mentors, Robert Tannenbaum (RIP). As we engaged in our conversation, a simple to understand model to describe the relationship that exists between employers and employees started to emerge. As we discussed the model further, we came to realize that it was valid for any relationship—boss to subordinate, friend to friend, parent to child, husband to wife, etc. Last week, as I sat in my office, that conversation came to mind. Something about what I see around me in the way most people or most of us deal with the current financial crisis made me bring this model into the present day. I’d like to share this simple model and reflect with you on what it means in our current turbulent times.

In any relationship, there is an exchange between the parties. One party asks and the other party gives. No matter what, there is always an exchange. The balance or the reciprocity defines the quality of the relationship and also the long-term sustainability of it. Four different dynamics of exchange take place: Read More