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  • Writer's pictureBelinda M

Relationships and the Four Horsemen

Does the word ‘relationships’ resonate for you in the workplace? I hate to admit it, but during my corporate career, this word only seemed relevant in my personal life. Fortunately, time has passed, I have grown and now I am deeply aware that ‘relationships’ are everywhere including the workplace and at home.

In terms of relationships, are you aware of Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? If not, then you need to read on as you are at a disadvantage. Drs John* and Julie Gottman, founders of The Gottman Institute, coined these terms after many years of research.

1. Criticism

2. Contempt (the biggie)

3. Defensiveness

4. Stonewalling

Workplaces are hives of criticism, be it overt or more likely covert. When we are criticised we become defensive and the conversation gets stuck (often in the dreaded circle of doom).

· Coaching focuses on what is working.

· Coaching encourages acknowledgement.

· Coaching explores useful ways to deliver feedback.

As a coach, a colleague, a friend and a step-parent, I encourage YOU to explore these Horsemen and, if need be, hire a professional to assist you in observing your behaviours and focusing on what works.

* Remarkably Dr. John Gottman can predict whether a couple will divorce with an average of over 90% accuracy.


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