Helping leaders emerge



When my husband Brad tells me he is listening to something called “Touchy-Feely” for the third time, I pause and ask myself, “What the hell is going on here? And why would Brad, who rarely listens to anything more than once and has limited patience for discussing feelings be listening to something called Touchy-Feely?” We order the book. Next thing I witness is Brad quoting to me from the book, talking about something called an AFOG – short for “another f**king opportunity for growth.”

The book is called Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and is by David Bradford, PhD and Carole Robin, PhD, colleagues who teach the most popular course Interpersonal Dynamics and affectionately coined “Touchy-Feely” by students at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

The authors share their passion for creating exceptional relationships, that is relationships where you feel seen, known, supported, affirmed, and appreciated for who you really are – not an edited (or Facebook) version of yourself. They discuss a process based on their years of experience to cultivate exceptional relationships.

Bradford and Robin believe that the best way to learn to be more interpersonally effective is to engage with others in real life situations and in real time rather than through lectures, readings, case studies, or yes, even their book and offer specific suggestions.

They even share their own personal struggles – at home and in their co-authoring partnership– modeling that mistakes and misunderstandings are part of the process. Mistakes happen, and repair and recovery are possible. In fact, challenges are opportunities to learn and deepen relationships.

Bradford and Robin explain that exceptional relationships have six distinct hallmarks:

1.  You can be more fully yourself, and so can the other person.

2.  Both of you are willing to be vulnerable.

3.  You trust that self-disclosures will not be used against you.

4.  You can be honest with each other.

5.  You deal with conflict productively.

6.  Both of you are committed to each other’s growth and development.

The six hallmarks represent important soft skills including self-disclosure, offering and receiving feedback, and managing conflict. There’s no easy way around cultivating exceptional relationships: it is not something you can delegate as a leader, and it requires a lot of hard work! Simple concepts, not easy to do, yet, well worth the effort!

For more information on Touchy-Feely

  • Click here for their website where you can learn more about the concept, order the book, and take their assessment.
  • Click here to purchase the book on Amazon.
  • Click here to hear the Podcast talk (the one my husband Brad loves!) The Awesome Power of “Touchy-Feely” with Carole Robin and David Bradford on Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris.