Relationships are a blessing and you can enjoy the benefit(s) if it is properly defined. For example, is the person I am relating to a senior, a colleague or a junior? Levels of relationship have different protocols”- Stephen Ofori-Abedi’s Facebook post on 11/13/2019
Last week, we looked at strategic relationships, and today we want to focus on relationship protocol.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary has four definitions and the third line of definition reads, “a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette and precedence.” Words associated with protocol are formality, manners…
It is important to talk about this because too many people miss out on the blessing of relationships because of poor relational ethics. Like I alluded last week, everyone needs a mentor, colleague and a protégé, but how do you relate to these different kinds of relationships? I want to share a few of my thoughts and observations on this.
1. How do I relate with a mentor?
Mentors are like coaches in a sense, so you don’t relate to them like you are having a talk with your home buddy. Mentors are discerning and very wise; they can easily tell who is not worth their cup of tea by looking at certain signs. Go there as a student with questions to inquire and to know. That is the basis of the relationship in the first place. You don’t go to your mentor too, to display your wealth of knowledge and boast about your achievements. They truly are not interested. Be humble and be like a sponge soaking in all the experiences you see around when in the presence of one. One of the bad signs is for your mentor to ask, “any questions?!”, then you reply, “No!”. I am not saying you should ALWAYS ask questions, but an attitude of learning, flexibility and implementing your sessions with your mentor are great key strengths in enhancing the relationship. Most mentors will gravitate towards you and have a personal relationship, others will want to keep it strictly official. Which ever way, the purpose for the relationship in the first place is what should hold premium.
2. How do I relate with a contemporary?
You relate on equal standing. There should be parity in this kind of relationship. When one sees himself as superior than the other, it mars the relationship. This relationship thrives on networking and collaborating. When each of you know something that is beneficial, share it with each other. Be genuinely happy at the success of your partner, even if yours hasn’t happened yet. This kind of relationship easily becomes personal when both parties treat each other with respect. They end up getting to know their families and might even plan vacation get away with their families together.
3. How do I relate with a protégé?
“…but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12
This is a very powerful advice to every leader in any kind of setting. To get the best out of this kind of relationship is all about modeling. The best form of tutelage is in deed more than words. Unfortunately, many protégés have been disappointed, because they just hear a bunch of talk and little or no action. It is also important that mentors should relate with their protégés as the relationship defines; don’t relate to your protégé like you relate with a contemporary. Most times, it breeds familiarity and once the respect factor is lost in that relationship, it is over. I think of Jesus Christ who was a great mentor to his disciples and later became their friends, but you should know it took years before it gravitated towards that. Don’t be in a hurry to be friends. Let the relationship take its course and determine its pace. Most mentors have felt betrayed because they shared some personal, intimate secrets of their lives which later becomes a weapon against them, when the relationship is fractured. That ought not to be so! As a mentor, you will be honored, but please make sure, you don’t take advantage of that and abuse your liberty. Protégés are highly sensitive to that when they feel you just want to take them on a ride. They respect you, but they are not stupid. Reciprocate by also showing them honor. It will minister to them a great deal and keep the relationship binding.
I end on this note that let us observe the proper formalities in each of the relationships we are involved for our benefit. Relationships are a blessing when we relate right.
I thank you for making time to read today’s post. It will be nice if you can also share your perspective on this as well. I will love to read your comments.
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Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love