I remember watching an entertainer juggling multiple balls at once. Up in the air goes one ball as another falls and still there’s another ball somewhere in-between. Over and over again, the entertainer would keep the balls in the air. All while making the skill of juggling look simple.
But juggling isn’t simple. Juggling takes coordination and practice. Which I found out after I tried my hand at juggling (you don’t want to see any videos of that!).
The older I got, the more I realized relationships were much like the juggling entertainer. You have to work at keeping the different relationships (balls) moving (the air) all while dealing with what’s going on around you. Tack on the duties of a leader and you really have a show.
The Various Relationships A Leader Must Juggle
Leaders juggle various relationships. They’re deep and complicated or sometimes they’re simple and shallow. Whatever they are, leaders are juggling relationships.
But what kinds of relationships are leaders juggling? Leaders are juggling:
Professional relationships are easy to recognize. These are the relationships you build within your organization and over the course of your career. Professional relationships include your team members, upper management, salespeople from other organizations, and more.
The professional relationships you form mostly happen in the office or during the course of business from golf outings to business meetings to conferences. You’re meeting new people and building relationships that revolve around your work.
And these professional relationships are important. They get you noticed in other organizations and help new opportunities to present themselves.
Peer relationships (I’m including family in this group) are the close friends you have and the friendships you’ve formed with people over the years. These peer relationships could be old college classmates or a buddy you met while playing disc golf at the local course.
Your peer relationships are different from your professional relationships because they’re more for your enjoyment than for your career advancement. These are the people you want to relax with on the weekend or catch a movie with Friday night.
Peer relationships are vital to your mental well-being. They provide moral and mental support as you trudge through the muck of life.
Church relationships are the relationships you form in your religious community. From fellow churchgoers to people who believe like you.
You’ll make church relationships during Sunday morning service or while working on a community project together.
Church relationships may seem unimportant but they are almost as important as your peer relationships. Why?
Because your church relationships will help mold what you believe. They’ll also call you out when you’re stepping outside of your moral tenants (or they should).
Last, and certainly not least, are the community relationships you will form over time. Community relationships include relationships formed while at social functions such as a non-profit gala.
These relationships are formed in the community. With members of the Rotary Club or the Young Urban Professionals groups.
Community relationships could be considered a mix of the three previously mentioned types of relationships. This is because community relationships happen within your organization, at your church, and within your peer group.
Consider community relationships that melting pot of relationships.
What These Relationships Do
It can be easy to write off peer relationships as having little to no value because you’re not profiting off of them. Or maybe you think your church relationships don’t matter because faith is something you do on the side.
You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you wrote off any of the 4 above-mentioned types of relationships. Each relationship plays an important part in your life, even if you struggle to see the value the relationship type brings.
Work at keeping each of the 4 relationships in the air, moving, changing, evolving. You need relationships with your peers, within your professional circle, in your faith community, and in your community.
Each one will have their benefits and drawbacks. This is why you will have to work and continue to juggle your relationships.
Professional relationships will help you move your career forward. You’ll build relationships and see new opportunities because of the connections you’ve made inside and outside of your organization.
Peer relationships give you time to unwind and enjoy life with other people. You’ll learn about and grow with people you like, know, and trust.
Church relationships allow you to be around people with a similar belief system. You’ll strengthen your faith in God and help others do the same.
Community relationships join all the others together. You’ll see how each of the other three combine (like Voltron) to form a bigger and better relationship circle.
Relationships aren’t easy. They’re difficult and you’re going to feel stretched trying to keep everything going. The truth is, somedays you may drop a relationship or two. You’ll have to stoop down and pick it back up.
It’s okay. As long as you’re not neglecting the important relationships in your life.