I recently posted a piece on some effective ways I’ve learned to get people on your side, win their respect and loyalty, and bring them onboard to help with your tasks, projects, and goals.
Many of you complimented me on those ideas, and asked for more. As a result, I did some thinking and came up with the following:
Pay More Attention
Most people crave attention and appreciation. We not only want to be liked, we want to be appreciated and involved in appropriate work and life activities. If you can help us feel this way, we will respond to you with greater enthusiasm, effort, and loyalty. We will also contribute as much creativity as we can to your activities, projects, and goals.
Techniques for paying more attention to others include:
- Active Listening: While the other person is talking, don’t just wait until you can find an opening to say what’s on your mind. Think about what they’re saying, and not saying. Try to observe their body language and absorb what they are feeling, too. Dig into these thoughts and feelings to capture a deeper understanding of this person, what s/he cares about, and the contributions s/he might be able to make to your current activity, project, or goal.
- Focus: Forget multitasking and give your undivided attention to the other person. Make eye contact. Mirror their body language. Use your own body language and verbal cues to provide positive feedback and to indicate you’re following their thoughts and feelings.
- Take Notes: Whether mental, written, or recorded, try to keep track of what you learn about the other person’s values, priorities, interests, and situation – both professional and personal. Remembering such details and bringing them up again in a later conversation is a great way to make clear that s/he is important to you.
Suspend Judgment for a While
One of the best ways to be better with people is to tamp down your tendency to be right and take charge. Even if you are right and you are in charge, slapping people in the face with your genius and your authority is going to dampen their enthusiasm for helping you succeed. Why should they help you when you appear to be entirely self-sufficient?
You’ll get more help from other people if you:
- Stay Humble: Instead of blowing your own horn or pulling rank on people, give others more room to involve themselves in your activities, projects, and goals. You won’t lose any authority and your good ideas will still float to the top. But the people in your work and your life will somehow find ways to contribute more of themselves to what you are trying to achieve.
- Share Credit: It’s rare that anyone can be productive and successful entirely on their own. Each of us nearly always needs a good deal of continuing support and cooperation from others. Sharing credit with them is merely acknowledging this truth. What’s more, it’s a strategy that often supercharges productivity and results. One of my favorite expressions is: “It’s amazing how much people can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.”
Say “Yes” More Often
Positive responses are far more likely to bring a person into closer cooperation with you than negative ones. So it’s helpful to say “yes” as often as you can to:
- Requests: If you can give them permission or help them accomplish something they care about, s/he will feel more in your debt when the shoe is on the other foot and you need help.
- Ideas and Suggestions: An idea or suggestion doesn’t have to be perfect in order to have some value. What’s more, saying “yes” doesn’t mean you have to accept the idea or suggestion and put it into practice. You’ll also earn a measure of appreciation when you simply say “Yes, we should look into that,” or “Yes, you might be right,” or “Yes, and we could also…,” or even “Yes, that’s interesting.”
As I suggested last time, learning to be good with people, and win them to your causes in these and other ways, is a life-long learning challenge that’s very beneficial. The sooner you turn your attention to these and other related techniques, the sooner you will be able to improve other people’s involvement in your work and your life.
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