How are your people skills? Six Steps to More Effective “Connecting”

People won’t go along with you if they can’t get along with you.  Every day we have opportunity to support and inspire family members, co-workers, friends and even total strangers.  Build your influence and your leadership through connecting with people in ways that truly make a difference.  Really connecting with people and with the intent of making a difference in the lives of others and being significant can have a powerful impact on your own professional growth.  Perhaps, if you’re like me, somewhat introverted, you may struggle to really “network” and truly make lasting connections that are meaningful especially in larger groups.   The number one understanding is that everyone wants and needs affirmation.   It is innate.   We have a desire to be affirmed in our work, in our personal relationships and in our business life or career.   We seek affirmation for our decisions.  We like assurance for our actions.  Here are six important principles to help encourage others.  Modeling these behaviors in our workplace and with our family and in our business and personal relationships will yield amazing results in establishing positive culture at the office and at home.  

1)  Begin with encouragement.  People who know we will encourage them will be happy to work with us.  Not against us.  Let people know they have special gifts and talents.  You respect them.  Follow up with them and show appreciation.

2)  Expect of others only what you expect of yourself.  People will resist being held to unfair standards.  Model the behavior you want to see.  It is difficult to expect others to have and to establish goals; live a goal driven life, pursue dreams if we as leaders don’t put it into practice ourselves.  Encourage learning by being a life-long learner yourself.   If you want people involved in personal and professional growth, then you must engage in it yourself.  Gain congruence with others by setting the example.

3) Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity and experience.   As leaders we are attempting to “grow” people.  You must start by meeting people where they are.   Expectations based on your own level of maturity may not get positive outcome because there are some who just can’t see it yet.  It certainly does not mean they never will.  Be persistent over time.  People will reflect or fail to meet expectations that do not “fit” them.  Goals should be achievable.  Be patient with distracted or slow learners or learners who do not learn in the same way as you do.  Be more considerate of personality profiles and styles of learning and communication.

4)  Monitor your expectations of others.  Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations if only for a short time.   Respect the learning curve and allow time for up ramp and adaptation to change.  Continue to move forward however.  

5)  Clarify your expectations with others.  People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified.  Most people dream too small and hit their dream.  Encourage a “big dream” coupled with partnership.  You become valued when you become a part of their dream even if only for a moment.    Dreams are emotional.  Attach emotion to encourage reduction in the “gap” between dreams and action steps.  Clear and simple actions over time even if small can yield huge results.  Reduce to the ridiculous the action steps required so they are simple.  Mirror the expectations back in order to gain understanding by asking questions beginning with the words “It sounds like” or “It seems like” and avoid using the word “I”.  This will help to insure that our clarity message is congruent and completely understood.  Emotional transference leads to big changes in the lives of people.  One of my favorite sayings is ‘People will not take action unless sufficiently disturbed enough to do something.”  It is always based on emotions and not on logic.   Attach expectations to the emotional quotient.  

6) End with encouragement.  People love to be thanked for a job well done.  Be sincere and genuine and perhaps have gratitude more often.  Seek out unique ways to complement by complementing the actions that got the required results and not the results themselves.  Now we are complementing the behavior.  

Remember, if you think you leading but no one is following, then you are not leading you are only taking a walk.

“Go not where the path may lead but go and leave a trail.”  Henry David Thoreau 

Ignite Change in People and In Organizations

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