Toward the end of summer in 1772, Joseph Priestley required help from his friend, Benjamin Franklin. Priestley was a scientist, theologian, and liberal political theorist.
His dilemma was deciding between the acceptance of a scientific opportunity that would provide him a full lab, and continuing his ministry within the Unitarian church. Priestley wrote Franklin, hoping for a clear response. Instead, of suggesting an answer, Franklin explained his weighted process for difficult decisions.
The process was a weighted version of what we consider today as a pro and con sheet.
Franklin instructed Priestley to fold a sheet of paper in half and write the word “Pros” on one side and “Cons” on the other. He was then to write down all pros and cons that came to mind over a four-day period.
The four days were important to Franklin because humans think in groupings (or chunks) of ideas. When one grouping is at the forefront of our minds, it blocks other thoughts from coming forward. Franklin explained that our minds never think about the pros and cons at the same time.
Once we write down the abbreviated central idea of each, we can forget about it and move on to other ideas worth capturing.
Franklin also suggested Priestley weigh each item based on the impact of purpose.
At the end of the four-day process, Franklin recommended a review of the two lists. If there were similar items across from other items, Priestley was to strike through the words.
It’s important to use a single line to strike the words so they are still readable.
Franklin explained that if there was a single similar, yet more heavily weighted item in one column, across from two lesser weighted items, all three can be struck at the same time. Any combination of similar items that equates to a balance of weighting can be marked at the same time.
By following this pattern, Priestley quickly reduced the complex decision down to a couple of key factors. This made his decision simple. He left the ministry and opened up an incredible science lab.
This decision led Priestley to discover a process that creates Oxygen used by first responders and hospitals ever since. Priestley described the O2 as being “five to six times better than common air.”
I have a friend who dreams of finding the right guy. She longs to be part of a team that helps others and makes a difference in life. It’s her lifelong goal to be half of a power couple.
This is a common desire for both men and women in the early stages of healthy dating. We always want to dream of our future and picture our teammate helping to make sure our dreams come true. And most of us want to reciprocate.
But in many marriages, one of the two individuals bring a critical eye to the relationship. Most of the time the couple takes turns being critical of the other.
For instance, one might be a neat freak and the other sloppy. The sloppy person gets criticized in hopes that they will one day mature and pick up after themselves. But alas, that person has a mental aversion to putting things away.
The table turns on the couple when it comes to finances. The person that leaves their socks on the floor happens to be great at investments and has doubled the couple’s money every seven years. But, the neat freak spends every extra dollar they get.
If you want to turn your marriage into a power couple or dream team, consider these four steps to empower a healthy marriage.
Affirm Away the Critical
We can never change the other person. But the more we affirm the right actions, the more likely they will choose to do similar things in the future. When we’re critical of each other, we want to spend less time together. But when we hear our spouse praise our actions that make the marriage work, we tend to repeat those behaviors more often.
I did something similar with my kids as they grew up. I’d keep a keen eye on them so the moment they did something helpful for the family, I’d bath them in praise. That positive affirmation improved our family. Everyone wanted to see the family succeed.
This team atmosphere empowered us to do some remarkable things. We made a radio drama that aired on WGN Radio as a part of a family competition. where we received an all-expenses-paid vacation to Disneyland. We made an animated cartoon and our family story got published in a Chicago newspaper. We also did more local things including building a cardboard boat and competed in a boat regatta. And, we took first place for most original float one fourth of July.
Brag on Your Spouse in Public
Every time you praise your spouse in public, you strengthen your marriage. That positive energy lifts our spouse and solidifies in everyone’s mind that you two are a team. This works even better when your spouse overhears your comments.
Great compliments are about your spouse’s character traits, actions, and giftings. The key is to be authentic and not force the topic. The positive comment must fit the conversation. If it comes out of the blue, it seems disingenuous.
Back when I was married, my wife had a goal of writing a magazine article for a major magazine. She was a wonderful writer and the competition was intense. When she got her breakthrough, I understood what a joyous moment that was.
I couldn’t help but share it with friends and throw her a surprise autograph party. I got enough copies of the national magazine featuring her article so she could sign a copy for everyone. While she didn’t like being in the spotlight, everyone knew that I was proud of her.
Care for Your Spouse’s Overzealous Strengths
I was once taught that our giftings are both a blessing and a curse. For instance, the person gifted with perseverance might come across as stubborn. We love that their perseverance will help us all to succeed, but we can’t stand it when they won’t take a break at times.
Some of my friends love my diverse background and eclectic knowledge. But there are times when they can see my mental wheels turning and wish that I’d turn off my brain for a time. Some have gotten upset to the point of calling me a know-it-all.
A great spouse and team player would signal me when my sharing gets over the top. After all, I can get caught up in the moment and over-share at times. A good teammate can help us navigate our zealousness.
Divvy-up Bad Chores
In all relationships, we learn that both individuals hate certain chores. At that point, we have to discuss who will take on what issues so our couple-ness can prosper.
I remember a time when I was married, my wife made it clear that she was not able to pick up after the dog barfed. She could handle dirty diapers, but animal vomit that turned her green.
At that moment, we decided that I’d be the primary cleaner when one of our dogs got sick. In turn, she wanted to be the primary diaper changer. Over our 23-year marriage, we both handle both types of clean-up. When we were both available, we took care of our primary functions to keep us moving forward.
Build Your Power Couple Dream Team
Keep an eye out to find your spouse doing something right and give them praise. When given an open door in conversation, take time to brag about your spouse in public.
Don’t let your spouse’s overzealous passions separate you. Instead, keep them in a healthy zone using signals. And, learn what chores your spouse can’t stand and lighten their load by picking up what you can handle.
By focusing on these things daily, you’ll guide your couple’s dream team into a new world of leadership. Many people are desperate for a healthy marriage role model couple. It’s time for you to practice these steps and help those around you do the same.
Leadership is all about making a choice, while management is about following orders or a process. A leader comes along side of their team to inspire, motivate, and care for them. A manager broods over their team with a critical and analytical eye. These perspectives are not taught per se, but they are driven by two distinct cultures and how each addresses responsibility.
In a leadership culture, the individual leading a team chooses to be responsible. It is their choice. No one forces them to be responsible. They know what it takes for their team to be productive and effective—Productive work is work that matters for someone who cares. It requires some form of inspiration, the proper motivational environment, and the team of workers to care about the customer.
In a management culture, managers choose to do what is required, not necessarily taking on any responsibility. In some cases, a manager is forced by various pressures to meet a measurement and they funnel the same pressures and expectations to their team. The atmosphere is charged with critical and analytical business views that rise above any personal attention or care for a customer. Regardless of the process, hitting the final required numbers are the end-all and be-all of the job.
When a new family comes into play with a child’s birth, the parents must immediately act as a manager to protect their kid from danger. For some it means baby-proofing the house and setting strict rules such as do not cross the street without holding a parent’s hand. As the child grows and learns the differences between right and wrong, the parent must shift from being a manager and become a leader to guide the child through future years as a teacher, then coach, and finally as a friend.
The transition from manager to leader is critical to the success of the family structure and the emotional and mental wellbeing of the child. In households where the parents never transition, the children become cynical and rarely take responsibility for their actions. The kids grow into adulthood without ever understanding who is responsible for their life. This drives an entitlement that expects others, or the government, to take care of them—Welcome Generation Z.
The key is that management is ideal during a crisis or major market shift, while leadership is best for the remaining 95% of the time.
When the COVID crisis hit, government officials stepped up as managers in the name of saving millions of lives. Once the actual death toll (not accounting for inflated numbers and numbers never reported) became known as a fraction of the original concerns, the officials should have transitioned from managing the people to leading them.
Thanks to politics and the officials who loved their new-found power, the transition back to leadership did not happen. The officials did not want the responsibility of the health or financial issues of the people. In fact, most pushed the responsibility down to local small businesses stating that all future deaths are on the businesses that chose to stay open during the pandemic.
Regardless of the bad choices of others, or who wins the battle of survival between government officials trying to save lives by shutting down businesses and small businesses trying to stay open to care for their numerous employee families, each individual needs to decide to be a manager or a leader. Both are the right thing to do at the right times, and also the wrong thing to do at the wrong times.
Difficult decisions like that require us to take on the responsibility to make the right decision for such a time as this. The thing that makes this decision easier is knowing that 95% of the time taking the responsibility and leading your team or family forward is the right choice. We just need to be careful to switch to a management style during the onset of a crisis, and purposefully shift back to a leadership style when the initial wave of the crisis has been abated.
To be a leader we must take responsibility for our actions and decisions. Also, we must never expect anyone else to take care of us, especially if they don’t have our best interest at heart. Here is where Generation Z struggles, thinking that government has their best interest at heart—but that topic is for another day.
Take responsibility for your choices and actions. Manage when you must, to get out of crisis, but get back to leading again as quickly as possible. And, don’t be a follower only, for all too often you might wake up to the realization that you are following the wrong person, plan, or politics. It’s your life, so go after being the best you that you can be by taking the risk of being responsible for you.