Vital Work Skills that Can Kill Relationships

Chances are if you’ve been in your career for any length of time you have acquired a set of skills. Those skills have made you pretty good at your job.

Every job requires a certain skill set (I know that sounds obvious but stay with me) and the more you master those skills the more you advance.

The problem is that those same skills can be the undoing of the relationships you value the most. I’m not talking about bringing projects home, I’m talking about bringing work skills home. When you begin applying those unique job specific skill sets in your home the consequences can become disastrous.

For example…

If you work in sales you probably excel at the art of communication and persuasion. When you lean in to those skills too much at home your spouse or children can feel like they weren’t heard because you can talk circles around them. Maybe they feel like you are always trying to sell them on a preformed decision instead of letting them persuade you to their idea.

If you’re in the health care industry you are probably pretty good at diagnosing problems. You know which choices predispose someone to being at a higher risk for painful health challenges later on. When you lean in to that knowledge with your loved ones you can sound preachy and maybe condescending. Sure you mean well and you’re just trying to help but your family doesn’t want you to look at them like a patient. Remember that little look you gave when they asked for the dessert menu?

If you’re in the insurance business you have seen it all. You understand risk and liabilities. You have a story about motorcycles, boats, cars, and homes. Anything you cover you know not what could go wrong but what has gone wrong. Fun is just another way to spell death.

If you’re a lawyer you excel at interviewing people, listening for inconsistencies, and imagining worst case scenarios. A handshake and a smile are never enough. Those are necessary skills if you hope to become partner, but your children and spouse resent being cross-examined.

If you’re a leader you show up to work and try to make things better. You constantly look for areas where things can improve. You’re trying to increase productivity, efficiencies, and profitability. All great things that will put you in the C–suite. But when you lean in to that too much at home you’ll quickly learn people resent your efforts to make them better, more productive, or more efficient. No matter how well intentioned, labeling your spouse as “underperforming” will never get you in any suite.

It’s your turn.

Think for a moment about your job. What are the skills that are necessary for you to excel? Which skills if you leaned into them too much at home would damage your closest relationships?

Could this be the reason for some of the recent conflicts?

I can’t think of a single career this doesn’t apply to.

I’m not encouraging you to abandon the skills you’ve worked hard to acquire. I’m just encouraging you to leave them at work – the unique environment that values a highly specialized and refined skill set. When you’re at home you only need a basic level of those same skills to be happy.

Your spouse or your child isn’t looking for the same things your employer, customers, or clients are. Your home is an equally unique environment that values a different set of skills than work.

The good news is you already know what those skills are…Treating others the way you want to be treated. Start leaning in to that a little more at home.