Just What is a "Meaningful Partnership"?

Recently, Seth R. Silver and Timothy M. Franz published a book entitled Meaningful Partnership at Work: How The Workplace Covenant Ensures Mutual Accountability and Success between Leaders and Teams -- It tackles some tough questions, such as: Why are some work partnerships exceptional while most are not? How can we establish and sustain an enhanced level of cohesion, connection, and collaboration in the most important work relationship, the one between a manager and team? What could remedy the high levels of isolation and anxiety so many feel at work these days?

When I spoke with Seth and Tim this past week, I asked them, "What is 'Meaningful Partnership' and how does it benefit organizations? Here is their complete answer:

In our book, we explore the concept of ‘meaningful partnership’ in the workplace.  We present meaningful partnership as a mindset where both leaders and their teams are fully committed to ensuring the support and success of the other.  Next, we describe a model called ‘ERTAP’, which stands for Empathy, Respect, Trust, Alignment, and Partnership, which are the key elements required for meaningful partnership.  Finally, we detail a practical yet transformative relationship-building process referred to as a workplace covenant.  This process enables leaders and teams to create mutual commitments with obligatory weight that help them to feel equally accountable for the success of the working relationship. These covenants, when reviewed routinely and used as the basis of mutual appreciation, helpful feedback, and adjustment, enhance ERTAP and create meaningful partnership. 

We define meaningful partnership as an elevated state of connection, cohesion, coordination, and collaboration.  It requires that all partners in a professional relationship feel fully supported, able to achieve, and accountable for the key goals and health of that relationship. 

Why is all this a big deal?  Because over time, workplace covenants have a way of improving mutual empathy, respect, trust, alignment, and partnership.  When these factors get stronger, the partnership becomes more satisfying and successful.  Further, managers become better leaders for their team because they are better attuned to the needs and feedback of their team. Teams become more self-correcting because they are frequently assessing themselves relative to their covenant/relationship with their manager. And the work culture improves because people are routinely exchanging helpful feedback, praise, and encouragement, and are focused on how to concretely support colleagues and help them achieve. When all of this is happening, partnerships will indeed become meaningful and the results to the organization will be extraordinary.

What do you think of Seth and Tim's view of a "meaningful partnership"? How do you define "meaningful partnership" in your organization?