Ask Alignor

What is the best way to handle the tension between maintaining relationships and getting good substantive outcomes?

This is a difficult question to answer. Perhaps the most significant thing is that you remain aware of the inherent tension between maintaining relationships and getting enough substance for yourself out of those relationships. There is no “one size fits all” approach for handling every relationship. Instead, you will have to determine on a case-by-case basis how to manage that tension. If you would like to improve a relationship without giving in on substance, you can consider finding creative ways to meet the needs of the other person. On the other hand, if you want to improve your substantive outcomes from your dealings with others, you should look for creative ways to meet your own needs. Either way, you can see that the key to improving both relationships and substantive outcomes is to understand both the needs of others and your own needs, and then find creative ways to satisfy each other’s needs.