151Quick Ideas toImprove YourPeople Skills
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151Quick Ideas toImprove YourPeople Skills     Bob Dittmer           and Stephanie McFarland      Franklin Lakes, NJ
Copyright © 2009 by Robert E. Dittmer and Stephanie McFarland     All rights reserved under the Pan-American and Internati...
Chapter Title Here Please               5                         ContentsHow to Use This Book                            ...
6       151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs14. Live by the Golden Rule                          3115. Practice the ...
Chapter Title Here Please             737. Practice Tolerance                            5438. Choose Words Carefully     ...
8       151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs61. Stretch Beyond Your Style                        7862. Embrace Diffe...
Chapter Title Here Please            9 85. Practice Good Listening                       102 86. Connect With People Throu...
10       151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs109. Find a Class Act to Follow                       130110. Take a “P...
Chapter Title Here Please       11131. He Who Keeps His Mouth Shut, Keeps His Life   155132. Dial Down the Volume         ...
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How to Use This Book     Every quick idea in this book is tested and true. The ideascome from the collected experiences an...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills    Remember, all of these ideas and concepts are proventechniques—proven by ...
Introduction     Have you ever found yourself saying, “Work would be great ifit weren’t for the darn people”? Yeah, we’ve ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillspowerful the Pygmalion Effect can be in working with people? Doyou approach p...
Quick Idea 1                              1       Why Interpersonal Skills Are              So Important     A full litany...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     People with solid interpersonal skills know how to build effec-tive rela...
Quick Ideas 1 to 3but are often not sure whether the professor really cares aboutthem or is just there to get the lecture ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     But it is the peopleskills—also known as social                 Assignme...
Quick Ideas 3 to 4                            Epilogue         Employers today want employees who are socially sensi-    t...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsmeet occasionally to have lunch and exchange life experiences. Orit could be ...
Quick Ideas 4 to 6                             Epilogue         Relationships are the social interactions that make societ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                            Epilogue         Knowing the nature of your key r...
Quick Ideas 6 to 8                             Epilogue         Set relationship goals that create a win-win for each part...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                            Epilogue         Securing relationships with peop...
Quick Ideas 8 to 10                           Epilogue         Service to others is the strongest binding force in     rel...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                             Epilogue           The ability to ingratiate you...
Quick Ideas 10 to 12    If you believe the best of people, you will treat them as if theyare the best. And, in turn, they ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsyou release yourself to think the best of people, and expect thebest from the...
Quick Ideas 12 to 14                             Epilogue         Giving others the benefit of the doubt allows them to do...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                           15        Practice the Platinum Rule     Now let’s...
Quick Ideas 15 to 16                          16    Always Look Toward Solutions     When it comes to rela-tionships, you ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                           17               Have Reasonable            Expect...
Quick Ideas 17 to 18                        18            Have Reasonable          Expectations of Others     It’s also im...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                          19              Be Principle-Centered     Here we d...
Quick Ideas 19 to 20                            20             Allow Others to Hold to                 Their Principles   ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                            Epilogue        Remember: Others’ principles may ...
Quick Ideas 20 to 22                            Epilogue          You should have boundaries to make your personal in-    ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                             Epilogue        Boundaries lead to predictabilit...
Quick Ideas 22 to 24                             Epilogue         Be genuine. People will respect you for it.             ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                              Epilogue           People like others with whom...
Quick Ideas 24 to 26                             Epilogue         Laughter is a universal magnet that binds people togethe...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                           Epilogue       People would much rather be around ...
Quick Ideas 26 to 28                           Epilogue        We all make goofs. The important point is to take re-    sp...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     Older generations need to continually learn about the rela-tionship rule...
Quick Ideas 28 to 30    “Say, aren’t you that guy who works with John in the account-ing office?” Ever hear something simi...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsform of false light, then you’re developing a false reality. In time,you’ll b...
Quick Ideas 30 to 32These principles are based onyour personal values. Your be-            Assignmenthaviors should, then,...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     You want to have otherstrust you. That means they               Assignme...
Quick Ideas 32 to 34     Sometimes this is painful,or time consuming, or difficult,           Assignmentor challenging, or...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     People actually appreciate honest, straightforward views, evenif they di...
Quick Ideas 34 to 36don’t know why. If you are truly discerning, you can sense theirmotivations. The ability to do this co...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills     This doesn’t mean we should ignore problems, overlook shoddyefforts, or ...
Quick Ideas 36 to 38     Recognize that everyone has a right to their opinions and val-ues, even if they disagree with you...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsand ideas that come to mind when the word is spoken, which aresometimes roote...
Quick Ideas 38 to 39                           39                     Words: I vs. We     In our daily lives,and in our da...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsfeeling as though the person speaking is only focused on his per-spective, an...
Quick Ideas 39 to 41     When observing opinions and reacting to others’ statements,positive and kind words are always wel...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsacross the board. A complaint is “you missed the deadline on thatproposal.” O...
Quick Ideas 41 to 43     If you engage in repeatingrumors and stories you hear              Assignmentfrom others, you do ...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsdemeaning and makes you feel as though you are worth less thanothers. You’re ...
Quick Ideas 43 to 45     “Thanks for your thoughts. We are all refreshed by your uniquepoint of view.”     “That’s an exce...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                        Assignment     To learn more about what manipulative ...
Quick Ideas 45 to 47    Have you ever spoken with someone and assumed he agreedwith your position or idea, only to be surp...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                            Epilogue         Pessimists are depressing to be ...
Quick Ideas 47 to 49                          49            Don’t Be Over-Reactive    Sometimes thingsdo not go as planned...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                           50              Don’t Be Domineering     A dominee...
Quick Ideas 50 to 51                          51       Don’t Be Overly Opinionated     It’s not that you should nothave op...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills                          52         Don’t Be Overly Aggressive     Being agg...
Quick Ideas 52 to 54                             53                   Help Others Grow      All right, this one’s simple.P...
151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsto succeed, they always do bet-ter. Conversely, when people               Ass...
Quick Ideas 54 to 56easy to be around. On theother hand, when relation-                                          Assignmen...
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
151 quick ideas to improve your people skills
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151 quick ideas to improve your people skills

  1. 1. 151Quick Ideas toImprove YourPeople Skills
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  3. 3. 151Quick Ideas toImprove YourPeople Skills Bob Dittmer and Stephanie McFarland Franklin Lakes, NJ
  4. 4. Copyright © 2009 by Robert E. Dittmer and Stephanie McFarland All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International CopyrightConventions. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any formor by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, orby any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented,without written permission from the publisher, The Career Press. 151 Q UICK I DEAS TO I MPROVE Y OUR P EOPLE S KILLS EDITED BY KARA REYNOLDS TYPESET BY MICHAEL FITZGIBBON Cover design by Jeff Piasky Printed in the U.S.A. by Book-mart Press To order this title, please call toll-free 1-800-CAREER-1 (NJ and Canada:201-848-0310) to order using VISA or MasterCard, or for further informationon books from Career Press. The Career Press, Inc., 3 Tice Road, PO Box 687, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 www.careerpress.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dittmer, Robert E., 1950– 151 quick ideas to improve your people skills / by Robert E. Dittmer and Stephanie McFarland. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 978-1-60163-037-7 1. Interpersonal communication. 2. Interpersonal relations. I. McFarland,Stephanie, 1968– II. Title. III. Title: One hundred fifty-one quick ideas to improveyour people skills. BF637.C45D583 2009 158.26--dc22 2008035812
  5. 5. Chapter Title Here Please 5 ContentsHow to Use This Book 13Introduction 15 1. Why Interpersonal Skills Are So Important 17 2. People Don’t Care How Much You Know Until They Know How Much You Care 18 3. Social Intelligence vs. Technical Knowledge 19 4. Be Socially Aware 21 5. Relationships Are Priority 22 6. The Nature of Your Relationships 23 7. Envision What You Want From Your Relationships 2 4 8. Behave in a Way That Secures Relationships 25 9. Look for Ways to Serve Others 26 10. Don’t Ingratiate 27 11. Apply the Pygmalion Effect 28 12. Believe That All People Start With Good Intentions 29 13. Give ’Em the Benefit of the Doubt 30
  6. 6. 6 151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs14. Live by the Golden Rule 3115. Practice the Platinum Rule 3216. Always Look Toward Solutions 3317. Have Reasonable Expectations of Yourself 3418. Have Reasonable Expectations of Others 3519. Be Principle-Centered 3620. Allow Others to Hold to Their Principles 3721. Set Boundaries 3822. Defend Your Boundaries 3923. Be Genuine 4024. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously 4125. Have a Sense of Humor 4226. Laugh at Yourself 4327. Cherish Your Goofs 4428. Social Skills Are Always a Work in Progress 4529. Your Character—and Your Reputation— Is Your Calling Card 4630. Be Authentic 4731. Act With Integrity 4832. Build Trust 4933. Keep Your Word 5034. Be Straight Up 5135. View Discernment as a Gift 5236. Always Show Respect 53
  7. 7. Chapter Title Here Please 737. Practice Tolerance 5438. Choose Words Carefully 5539. Words: I vs. We 5740. Use Kind Words 5841. Don’t Kill Relationships With Your Behavior 5942. Do Not Gossip 6043. Don’t Be Dismissive 6144. Don’t Be Condescending 6245. Don’t Be Manipulative 6346. Don’t Make Assumptions 6447. Don’t Be Pessimistic 6548. Don’t Be a Cynic 6649. Don’t Be Over-Reactive 6750. Don’t Be Domineering 6851. Don’t Be Overly Opinionated 6952. Don’t Be Overly Aggressive 7053. Help Others Grow 7154. Believe in Others 7155. Wage Peace in Your Relationships 7256. Be a Peacemaker Between Friends 7357. Respect Different Personality Types 7458. Understand Different Styles 7559. Recognize That Styles Differ From Opinions 7660. Know Your Own Style 77
  8. 8. 8 151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs61. Stretch Beyond Your Style 7862. Embrace Different Styles 7963. Determine if You Are Shy 8064. Overcome Shyness 8165. Overcome Feeling Inferior 8266. Overcome Feeling Intimidated 8467. Don’t Be Too Talkative 8568. Listen, Don’t Talk 8669. Get Out of Your Own Way 8670. Douse the Domineering 8771. Don’t Be Reactive 8872. Tackle the Intimidator 8973. Strive for Live Interaction 9074. Practice Face-to-Face Communication 9175. At Least Make It Live 9276. Beware of E-mail 9377. Remember That People Are Creatures of Emotion 9478. Fill the Emotional Bank Account 9579. Make Friends 9680. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence 9781. Remember Names 9882. Look ’Em in the Eye 9983. Give Your Undivided Attention 10084. Be “Present” 101
  9. 9. Chapter Title Here Please 9 85. Practice Good Listening 102 86. Connect With People Through Questions 104 87. Be Careful With Your Opinions 105 88. Withhold Judgment 106 89. See Both Sides 107 90. Edify, Edify, Edify 109 91. Give Honesty With an Equal Dose of Compassion 110 92. Help Others Be Heard 111 93. Help Others Be Understood 112 94. Allow People to Save Face 113 95. Encourage 114 96. Encourage With Words and Perspective 115 97. Pat Others on the Back 117 98. Be a Cheerleader 118 99. Help Others Achieve Their Goals 119100. Let Others Shine 120101. Look for Reasons to Celebrate 122102. Remember Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Such 123103. Fill Your Own Emotional Bank Account 124104. Feed Your Own Needs 125105. Call on Your Support Group 126106. Keep Honest Company 127107. Get Inspired 128108. Find Friends Who Edify You in Your Absence 129
  10. 10. 10 151 Quick Ideas for Start-Up Entrepreneurs109. Find a Class Act to Follow 130110. Take a “People Break” 131111. Sharpen the Saw by Sharpening Your Mind 133112. Get Away From Your Desk for Lunch 134113. Attend Social Events 135114. Handle Conflict With Confidence 136115. Can’t We All Just Get Along? 137116. 365 Opportunities for Conflict— 366 in a Leap Year 138117. See Conflict or Disagreement as an Opportunity 140118. See Rough Starts as an Opportunity 141119. Breathe! 142120. Give Yourself a Pep Talk 143121. Have the Difficult Conversations Beforehand 144122. Handle Conflict One-on-One 145123. Having Your Say Doesn’t Mean Always Having Your Way 146124. Learn to Eat Crow 147125. Bring the Peace Pipe 148126. Break Bread 149127. Fight Fair 150128. Be Mindful of Your Thoughts; They Can Be a Path to the Dark Side 151129. Don’t Take Things Personally 153130. Don’t Make Things Personal 154
  11. 11. Chapter Title Here Please 11131. He Who Keeps His Mouth Shut, Keeps His Life 155132. Dial Down the Volume 156133. Watch Your Body Language—It Speaks Volumes 157134. Give People Space 158135. What Goes Over the Devil’s Back, Always Comes Under His Belly 159136. There Is No Right or Wrong 160137. Winner Never Takes All 161138. Fight for the Relationship 162139. Get Clear 163140. Present, Don’t Persuade 164141. Ask, Don’t Tell 165142. Look for Middle Ground 166143. Start From a Point of Commonality 167144. Some Nuts Are Worth Cracking 168145. Put the “Moose on the Table” 169146. Pick Your Battles 170147. Mend Fences 171148. Forgive Yourself for Failings 172149. Forgive Others as Well 174150. Be the First to Offer the Olive Branch— or the Peace Pipe 175151. Every Difficult Relationship Has Lessons 176Index 179About the Authors 187
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  13. 13. How to Use This Book Every quick idea in this book is tested and true. The ideascome from the collected experiences and wisdom of hundreds ofpeople—well beyond just the authors. And they are presentedhere to help you learn how to better create lasting relationshipswith others through improving your people skills. The book is designed to be consumed piecemeal—that is, insmall bites. So don’t try all of these ideas at once. Read the bookquickly through to gain a quick impression of the ideas here, andthen start picking out those that seem to be immediately helpful,and try them out. Some of these ideas are in sequence, and thosewill make logical sense to you when you read them. Later, rou-tinely go back and review the others, and pick a few more to try.And so on.... Every 90 days or so, revisit this book for some new ideas ortechniques. As your situation changes you may well find usableideas that you discounted earlier. 13
  14. 14. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Remember, all of these ideas and concepts are proventechniques—proven by research and other professionals aroundthe country and around the world. They have worked for others,and they can work for you! 14
  15. 15. Introduction Have you ever found yourself saying, “Work would be great ifit weren’t for the darn people”? Yeah, we’ve all felt that way fromtime to time—and, often, more times than we would like. Butpeople are a fact of life, and they are a fact of work. And to beeffective in both, you have to learn to deal with them—effectively. And that’s where this book comes in. It is your comprehensivesource for building better working—and personal—relationships.Whether you just need to tweak your approach for making con-nections with people in the workplace, or you’re looking for waysto handle an ongoing conflict with a coworker, 151 Quick Ideas toImprove Your People Skills can help. The tips and insights shared in this book cover four key areasof people skills: understanding why your social intelligence is criti-cal to your career success, understanding your own interactionstyle (and how it affects others), how to build goodwill and emo-tional equity with people, and how to manage conflict—and thrivethrough it! For example, you’ve probably been taught the Golden Rule,but are you familiar with the Platinum Rule? Do you know how 15
  16. 16. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillspowerful the Pygmalion Effect can be in working with people? Doyou approach people as creatures of logic, or emotion? Do youknow how to set boundaries? Do you have reasonable expectationsof yourself when dealing with others? 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills covers these top-ics, and much, much more. It gives you a full-spectrum approachto dealing with people in just about every situation—and how toget back on track when you fall off the “people skills” wagon. In short, this book is an excellent guide, filled with fun, rel-evant, and practical ideas to which you can relate. So dig in andenjoy! And start learning what it takes to build better working—and personal—relationships. 16
  17. 17. Quick Idea 1 1 Why Interpersonal Skills Are So Important A full litany of proverbsexist across continents and cul- Assignmenttures that tell us that our in-teractions with people mean Before you read on, con-more than anything else we do sider the people with whomin this life. In fact, author you interact on a daily orDaniel Goleman says that our weekly basis, both personallyemotional intelligence (EQ) and professionally. What iswith people is more important your relationship with them?than our IQ. Have you carefully cultivated For example, you’ve prob- and nurtured those relation-ably heard this one: “People ships? Do you feel good aboutdon’t know how much you those relationships?know, until they know howmuch you care.” And as thegreat Dale Carnegie once said: “People are not creatures of logic.They are creatures of emotion.” Our interactions with people are the signatures of our lives,and that includes our careers, of course—most particularly ourwork relationships, considering we spend a minimum of eight hoursof every day on the job. For us to be effective in our jobs, we haveto deal with people, and we have to deal with them effectively to besuccessful in our work. It’s one big circular package. The reward from good working relationships goes beyond theoffice, too. When we have good relationships at work, it affects therest of our lives, from how much energy we have when we gethome at night to the attitudes we bring home to our families. 17
  18. 18. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills People with solid interpersonal skills know how to build effec-tive relationships, and they know that EQ is more important thanIQ. They know it’s the currency that buys more reward in lifethan any gold coin or greenback ever produced. Epilogue Who you know is important, but having a network of solid relationships is even more important. To paraphrase a popu- lar advertisement: You need people. People Don’t Care How Much 2 You Know Until They Know How Much You Care In developing relation-ships, people first need to Assignmentcare about you. And in or- Think about your own ex-der to care about you, they periences with others. Do youoften need to understand that recognize people with whomyou care about them. After you have good, solid relation-all, relationships need to be ships that were developed be-reciprocal to be effective. cause you discovered they really We see this daily with cared about you? Did that leadstudents at a university where you to reciprocate? Do you haveI teach. Students walk into other, weak relationships inthe classroom wanting to have which you don’t sense that thean academic, learning rela- other person really cares?tionship with the professor, 18
  19. 19. Quick Ideas 1 to 3but are often not sure whether the professor really cares aboutthem or is just there to get the lecture in and go back to research-ing. The good professors find ways to communicate to studentsearly on that they truly care about the students’ successes. Those that do so find students engaging them before and afterclass, e-mailing them with thoughts and ideas, and doing morethan the minimum in class to be successful. It makes for a superblearning environment where everyone benefits—even the profes-sor. The professor benefits by having students engaged and in-volved, which is much better than having lumps sit in the classroomand merely listen. The students benefit by knowing that the pro-fessor is there to be a part of their learning process in a personalway, not just as a role or function. We’ve seen many professor/student relationships last years, evenafter college is done and the student is off to a profession. Thesestudents are often great advocates for the university and the pro-grams the professor teaches. Epilogue Important and effective relationships are built on a foun- dation of interest and concern for the other party. If you don’t care about them, why should they care about you? 3 Social Intelligence vs. Technical Knowledge Though we spend the vast majority of our lives developing ourtechnical capabilities to make us attractive in the job market, fewof us put specific focus on developing our people skills. 19
  20. 20. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills But it is the peopleskills—also known as social Assignmentintelligence—that deter- Using the description ofmine our overall long-term social intelligence given here,success. After all, we don’t rate yourself on each factor andwork in a vacuum; we work assess how well you measure up.with other people, in a Then make a plan to addressmyriad of situations and any shortcomings.circumstances. Think about it for a mo-ment. Just about anyone can learn technical skills associated withhis or her area of interest. Add practice to that knowledge and youget technical proficiency. Technical skills require us to understandand implement concepts, theories, and tactical knowledge, such ashow to work with a specific business or industrial machine. Butthese do not have opinions, experiences, values, emotions—the thingsthat make working with people both difficult and rewarding. Although employers today certainly demand technical profi-ciency from their employees, they require so much more. Theywant people who can communicate, show leadership, solve prob-lems, know who they are in terms of strengths and weaknesses, areconfident, can adapt and flex with rapidly changing work environments,and have a sense of energy when implementing the day-to-day. They also want employees who are socially sensitive, knowhow to build rapport, and influence others in a way that movesthemselves and others forward. This takes social intelligence, whichmeans being aware of who you are—the good, the bad, and theugly. It also means knowing how to manage yourself—your en-ergy, your emotions, and your reactions. And it means having theability to see things from others’ perspectives and build relation-ships through all kinds of situations. In short, having technical expertise is not enough. To be suc-cessful today, you must be socially intelligent. The good news isthat social intelligence is something you can develop and practiceevery day, and fine-tune throughout your life. 20
  21. 21. Quick Ideas 3 to 4 Epilogue Employers today want employees who are socially sensi- tive, know how to build rapport, and influence others in a way that moves themselves and others forward. 4 Be Socially Aware It is important for you torecognize that any good team Assignmentor effective group of people is Look around you. Wheredependent on social interac- are the networks, both formaltions—both personal and pro- and informal, and who is infessional. As a consequence, you them? Which ones are impor-need to understand that there tant to your success? Howare always set patterns of inter- can you join them?actions that we call networks.These networks exist on a for-mal and informal basis. Formal networks are those established by organizations: net-works of employees who work together, who work for specific su-pervisors, who interact with designated others by their jobs andjob descriptions. The organization dictates who interacts withwhom. Informal networks are social in nature, and can be the moreimportant of the two types. These networks are social in that peoplewho interact in these networks are self-selected. They choose withwhom they will interact rather than have others, such as an organi-zation, choose for them. Some are in organizations; some are outsideorganizations. An example is a group of friends from college who 21
  22. 22. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsmeet occasionally to have lunch and exchange life experiences. Orit could be a group of like professionals (CPAs, for example) whomeet monthly to talk about their profession. It is important to recognize these networks, identify those thatare important to you, and then become part of those networks. Epilogue These social networks are especially important because they set up relationships that can be helpful in the future. 5 Relationships Are Priority Okay, we’ve startedtalking about relationships, Assignmentand here’s why: Your Identify the people withpeople skills lead to impor- whom you already have relation-tant relationships that can ships in your personal and pro-help you in your personal fessional life. Are they good ones?and professional lives. Positive? Helpful to you? It is personal and pro-fessional relationships that make all the difference in hearing aboutthat new job opportunity in another company, or that chance tomeet an important person in your profession, or that opportunityto meet someone who could be important to and in your future (afuture spouse?). So we will be continually talking about people skills as theylead to positive and mutually beneficial relationships in your life. 22
  23. 23. Quick Ideas 4 to 6 Epilogue Relationships are the social interactions that make societ- ies function effectively. Gain them and maintain them. 6 The Nature of Your Relationships When you think ofthe people around you, Assignmentparticularly at work, think Make a list of your key rela-of the level of those rela- tionships and then determinetionships. Not all are simi- where they fall on a continuum,larly developed, are they? from solid rapport to recentlySome people you have rap- introduced.port with, some peopleyou’re just getting toknow, and some relationships fall in the middle. As you interact with people, you have to remember that rela-tionships are also subject to the situations and circumstances ofthe moment. How well you handle them together—the nature ofthe relationship and the current circumstances—determines howwell they will progress, or stall. For example, a key relationship could be fine in the morning,but in the afternoon a poorly handled disagreement could alterthat relationship. If you take stock now of where each of your key relationshipsstand, you’ll be better able to apply the tips and techniques de-scribed in the pages ahead. And you’ll be able to keep them mov-ing in a positive direction for the future. 23
  24. 24. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue Knowing the nature of your key relationships will help you know which people strategies are most effective when cir- cumstances bring change. 7 Envision What You Want From Your Relationships As you consider the rela-tionships you just listed (in Idea Assignment6), think about where you want Take your list from Ideato take each relationship. Ana- 6, and now set goals for eachlyze your list and set relation- relationship, ranging fromship goals. three to six months. This will For example, would you help you remain focused onlike to build a better rapport what you want to achieve aswith someone you just met? Is you work through circum-this someone with whom you stances and situations that canwill be working on a regular affect the relationship throughbasis, and a stronger rapport time.will help you both work moreeffectively? That’s a good goal! That’s what we call mutually beneficial—a stronger rapport can help you both. In short, a better acquain-tance and some coworker bonding will create a win-win: a situationin which you both gain from the relationship. And remember: A win-win is always the ultimate relationshipgoal. 24
  25. 25. Quick Ideas 6 to 8 Epilogue Set relationship goals that create a win-win for each party. 8 Behave in a Way That Secures Relationships The best way to buildand maintain a relationship Assignmentis to apply both the Golden Look more closely at yourRule and the Platinum list of relationships, and whatRule. One encourages you you want from each. Now, whatto treat others as you want do you need to do to secureto be treated, and the other those relationships now andrequires that you treat oth- through time? Keep reading.ers as they want to betreated. Generally, both fall into two basic categories: respect and trust.If you treat others with respect, a basic tenet of all relationships,they will trust you. And you need to maintain that trust to retaintheir respect, which means you have to do a lot of things right inevery interaction. You have to maintain people’s confidences, youhave to allow them to save face, and you have to hear them, and letthem be heard. The list is long, and it’s focused and tedious work some days(every day with some people). But if you want solid relationshipsthat last, you have to behave in a way that secures them. 25
  26. 26. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue Securing relationships with people means you have to treat them in ways that demonstrate trust and respect with every interaction. 9 Look for Ways to Serve Others Building solid relationshipsmeans finding ways to help oth- Assignmenters, and, in time, you have to Look at your list (fromlet others help you. In short, Idea 6). How can you serverelationships are a dance of ser- those people? Once youvice. To be good with people, know, act. Make the offer. Oryou have to firmly adopt a ser- wait until the time is right orvice mentality. the need has developed. Yet, serving others can bevery rewarding, in some simpleways. For example, you can serve others by being a coworker inwhom to confide, a friend who inspires people, or an office cheer-leader who drives someone to achieve his or her goals. The follow-ing pages give you scores of ideas and opportunities to serveothers—from helping them to be heard to letting them shine. Discover what you can do to help those around you. Servingothers is a quick way to start a relationship on a positive note, andnurture a developing one. 26
  27. 27. Quick Ideas 8 to 10 Epilogue Service to others is the strongest binding force in relationships. 10 Don’t Ingratiate We’ve given this one a niceword in the title; you know it Assignmentas something else. And by any Watch others who behaveother word or set of words, it’s this way. What do you thinksomething that becomes a sig- of them? What is your attitudenificant barrier to solid and toward them? It isn’t positive,positive relationships. is it? Do you want to be per- Not sure what I mean? ceived that way? If not, stayBrown-noser. Suck-up. Teacher’s away from this behavior.pet. These are just some of thewords and phrases used for thesame thing—there are others inappropriate for this book. None ofthem suggest a positive relationship. Instead, one party has the power over the other. And thosewho recognize that relationship will denigrate you for it. You gainnothing. The person you have ingratiated yourself to thinks less ofyou. Others recognize it as an attempt to gain undue influenceand discount you for it. Ingratiating yourself with the boss or with others is simplynot a positive step to any relationship. 27
  28. 28. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue The ability to ingratiate yourself with others might be a skill, but it’s a negative and counterproductive one. 11 Apply the Pygmalion Effect What? Isn’t that amusical? Well, George AssignmentBernard Shaw did base Think of one coworker withhis musical on the con- whom you have difficulty, or evencept, but the true credit your child or spouse. In every inter-for this psychological action, treat him exactly as if he hastheory actually goes to already become the person you wishtwo scholars and a horse him to be. Practice this long enough,(yes, a horse!) in 1911, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised byand it goes like this: You the results.will get from peoplewhat you expect ofpeople. In case that description is as clear as mud, we’ll let Shaw’scharacter Eliza Doolittle explain it: “You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone canpick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking and so on),the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how shebehaves, but how she’s treated. I shall always be a flower girl toProfessor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, andalways will. But I know I can be a lady to you because you alwaystreat me as a lady, and always will.” 28
  29. 29. Quick Ideas 10 to 12 If you believe the best of people, you will treat them as if theyare the best. And, in turn, they will likely give you exactly whatyou believe and expect. That’s the Pygmalion Effect, and it’s beenproven in psychological studies. Epilogue Use the Pygmalion Effect to your advantage: Believe the best of people, and expect the best from them. 12 Believe That All People Start With Good Intentions Repeat after me: “Theglass is half full.” Don’t fall Assignmentinto the trap of assuming Examine your approach toeveryone has some ulterior people. Do you think well of themmotive for everything they until they demonstrate otherwise,do, which is inimical to or do you automatically assumeyou and your goals. Be they are opposed to you? If the lat-positive and start with the ter, consider a change of attitude.assumption that everyoneis operating with goodintentions. If you assume otherwise, you will be perceived as distrusting.That establishes an internal (and often external) reputation as askeptic. And that leads to: “If he doesn’t trust me, why should Itrust him?” But if you maintain the assumption that all people are work-ing from a point of good intentions—that they mean well—then 29
  30. 30. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsyou release yourself to think the best of people, and expect thebest from them in return (see Idea 11). In a sense, you manifestwhat you think about others. So think positive thoughts aboutthem, always starting from the assumption that they have goodintentions, until you have well-founded reasons not to. Epilogue Most people want to behave appropriately, and do want positive relationships. Assume they mean well. 13 Give ’Em the Benefit of the Doubt We are often too quick tojudge the actions and motiva- Assignmenttions of others. When things Think back on your owndon’t go specifically as they experiences. Have you doneshould, we too often look to this to others in the past?place blame. We tend to jump Have others done this to you?to conclusions. How did you feel? How did Instead of looking first to they react?place blame, look to give oth-ers the benefit of the doubt. Hold off on thinking someone is theproblem until you have established evidence. You want others todo this for you (see the Golden Rule), so do it for others. This is especially important when evaluating motivations. Don’tmake assumptions. 30
  31. 31. Quick Ideas 12 to 14 Epilogue Giving others the benefit of the doubt allows them to do the same for you. Reciprocal respectful treatment leads to solid relationships. 14 Live by the Golden Rule We’re sure you remember thisone: “Do unto others as you would Assignmenthave them do unto you.” Examine your own You may have learned this from relationships with oth-your father, mother, grandmother, ers. Are you practicingor Sunday School teacher. And it’s the Golden Rule? If not,an adage people across the world why not?embrace as a universal humantruth. It means, if you want othersto treat you with respect and courtesy, then you have to treat themin the same manner. The beauty of the Golden Rule is that it has no mystique toit—it’s straightforward and simple. Treat others as you want to betreated. The rule remains the same whether you’re 8 or 80. Epilogue It’s the Golden Rule because it’s the ultimate tenet of human relationships. 31
  32. 32. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills 15 Practice the Platinum Rule Now let’s learnabout the Platinum AssignmentRule. Dr. TonyAlessandra gets the To find out more about the Platinumcredit for this one, a Rule, visit www.platinumrule.com.logical companionto the Golden Rule.Where the Golden Rule focuses on you, the Platinum Rule fo-cuses on others. The rule states: “Do unto others as they would dounto themselves.” It means it’s important to learn how others want to be treated,and then treat them as such. To practice this rule, you have to observe and listen to others,discover their wants and needs, and then try to meet those needs.In doing so, you create a win-win situation, a mutually beneficialrelationship—one that serves both parties with mutual gains. Epilogue If you follow the Golden Rule only, you could stumble in some relationships. You must also practice the Platinum Rule. 32
  33. 33. Quick Ideas 15 to 16 16 Always Look Toward Solutions When it comes to rela-tionships, you have look to- Assignmentward solutions that move them Consider your list fromforward—and not the prob- Idea 6 again. Which relation-lems that keep them stagnant. ships have you stuck? Keep Too often we focus on the reading to learn how to moveproblems of a relationship, them forward.such as people’s past trans-gressions that hurt us, orworkplace pettiness. Always focusing on the problems we havewith people can make us stuck, sometimes so much that we canappear bitter. You have to get past this if you want your relationships togrow and become what you envision them to be. Of course, lifewill give you lots of practice because ever-changing situations andcircumstances throw us curve balls all the time, and that keeps ourrelationships in motion. The goal is to look for solutions that move your relationshipsin the right direction, in a way that deepens respect, trust, andcamaraderie. Epilogue When it comes to cultivating your relationships, you have to focus on solutions that keep them moving forward. 33
  34. 34. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills 17 Have Reasonable Expectations of Yourself Know thyself. Akey to being socially Assignmentintelligent is being Referring to your list (Idea 6), jotself aware. Do you down what expectations you have forhave a reasonable un- moving each relationship forward. Arederstanding of your- your expectations of yourself realistic?self? Do you knowwhat sets you off? Doyou know what calms you down? Do you know your interpersonalstrengths and weaknesses? As you attempt to take relationships to new places, make sureyou have reasonable expectations of yourself. For example, if youstruggle with feelings of inferiority, it might not be a good idea totry charming the office bully at this point in your life. You do want to stretch yourself in moving relationships for-ward, but reaching too far out of your comfort zone can damageyour self-confidence. And your self-confidence is an important el-ement of relationship building. Epilogue As you attempt to take relationships to new places, make sure you have reasonable expectations of yourself. 34
  35. 35. Quick Ideas 17 to 18 18 Have Reasonable Expectations of Others It’s also important tohave reasonable expecta- Assignmenttions of others around Take inventory of your keyyou. For example, can office relationships and develop ayou expect the person set of reasonable expectations forwith whom you’ve just each of those people.started working to takedirect criticism fromyou? Probably not. You might need to develop a stronger rapportso this person knows—at an emotional level—that your criticismis constructive and well-meant. Having unrealistic expectations of others can lead to failures,disappointments, and hurt feelings. And those always result indamaged relationships. Just as you should have realistic expectations of yourself, youalso need to have reasonable expectations of others. Epilogue Having unrealistic expectations of others can lead to dam- aged or failed relationships. 35
  36. 36. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills 19 Be Principle-Centered Here we draw from au-thor Stephen Covey’s Prin- Assignmentciple-Centered Leadership, Take some time to reflectwhich says that our prin- on your principles. To whatciples should be the bed- principles do you subscribe, androck of our actions and the how do you act in relation tocentral driver of how we in- them? Do your actions showteract in relationships. you are a principle-centered Have you thought individual?about what principles influ-ence you on a daily basis?Perhaps you should, because in many ways your actions reflectyour principles. And the perceptions those actions give will sendout a signal to people indicating whether your principles alignwith theirs. For example, do you treat others fairly, with integrity and hon-esty? These are basic principles that people expect us to follow,and they’re absolutely essential to building positive relationships. Yet principles are more than just actions. They’re your moralGPS system, so to speak; they guide your decisions and your result-ing actions. And they act as an interpersonal beacon for others—telling them who you truly are. Epilogue Principle-centered behaviors clearly communicate to others who and what we are. 36
  37. 37. Quick Ideas 19 to 20 20 Allow Others to Hold to Their Principles While you haveyour own set of prin- Assignmentciples, recognize that Think about your principles.everyone else has a set How can others think differentlyof principles that guide from the way you do? Why is thattheir decisions and ac- all bad? Can you live with thosetions, too. Recognize positions?that their principles are,to them, every bit asvalid as yours are to you—even though they might be differentfrom yours. You may be pro-life. Others might be pro-choice. You are bothoperating on a set of principles that are immediately and person-ally valuable to each of you. Don’t disparage others for their principles. If you disagree, that’sokay. But respectfully acknowledge that others think differentlythan you do, and that their thoughts and their principles are alsobased on deeply held values and personal convictions. Recognize, too, that people with different sets of principlesand values can still work, live, and play alongside each other quiteeffectively—if we simply acknowledge and respect others’ principles. Don’t let differing principles stand in the way of potential relation-ships unless you simply cannot live with the opposite view of some-thing. Believe me: This situation is much more rare than you think. 37
  38. 38. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue Remember: Others’ principles may be different from yours, but they are also based on deeply held values and personal convictions. 21 Set Boundaries Setting boundaries ishealthy; we all need to set Assignmentour parameters of what we Take some time to thinkwill accept and what we about principles, behaviors, andwill not. You shouldn’t issues around which you want tohave to allow all manner of place boundaries. You might evenbehavior just because you want to make a list.want to create or maintaina relationship. Some be-haviors are just not acceptable. In fact, your principles will usually dictate what your bound-aries are. And when you determine what your boundaries are, stickwith them! For example, is foul language unacceptable to you? Arethere certain topics you feel are off-limits in some relationships?Are politics and religion two things you won’t discuss at work? These are only a few of many areas where you might feel theneed to set boundaries. And if so, then do so. Remember: Bound-aries provide predictability for others about what is appropriate intheir relationships with you, and they help set expectations for allparties. 38
  39. 39. Quick Ideas 20 to 22 Epilogue You should have boundaries to make your personal in- teractions with others appropriate to you. You’ll find others have them, too, and will appreciate yours. 22 Defend Your Boundaries Once you have setyour boundaries, vigor- Assignmentously and consistently Think through some ways to de-defend them. Once fend boundaries without attackingyou start allowing ex- others.ceptions, you removethe predictability from acceptable behaviors, and people will beleft wondering what is appropriate. If you have a boundary established about the use of four-letterwords in conversation at work, stick with it. If you let others usethat kind of language around you, you let them violate your bound-aries on that behavior, and you make them wonder when it is andis not appropriate. You remove the predictability from the situa-tion, making everyone uncomfortable. You don’t have to attack anyone who might be behaving inap-propriately. Just ask them to stop, politely. Explain why. Be per-sonal and respectful. But do defend your boundary. 39
  40. 40. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue Boundaries lead to predictability, and predictability leads to solid foundations for relationships. 23 Be Genuine Just be yourself.You’ve heard that Assignmentbefore, haven’t you? Think about others who have notWell, it’s true. been genuine, those phonies we all runPeople know when into. Take a look at the relationshipsyou are acting, when they have—or don’t have.you are trying to besomeone or some-thing you are not. You have even met people like that and recog-nized them for what they are: the guy who says he’s really supportiveof you or your program, but says otherwise to people behind yourback, or the gal who acts as though she knows everyone who isimportant, and then you find out she’s just “blowing smoke.” When you are not genuine, when you are acting a part or rolethat is not really you, people will recognize that fact. Perhaps notinitially or even quickly, but eventually they will know. When thathappens, you lose credibility and respect, and relationships aredamaged. And it takes a long time to recover from that. Somepeople never do. It just pays to be yourself. Say what you believe. Representyourself and your feelings honestly. Present only what you know,not what you’d like to know. 40
  41. 41. Quick Ideas 22 to 24 Epilogue Be genuine. People will respect you for it. 24 Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously Life, work, andrelationships are im- Assignmentportant, and require Inventory your attitudes at work.serious attention. Are you too serious? Do you need toBut don’t be so seri- lighten up a little? Or are you one ofous about every- those people others like to be around?thing that you can’tlaugh, smile, or behappy. If you take yourself too seriously, others will begin to lookat you as someone with whom they have to do business, but notsomeone they want to be around regularly. You know people like this. Take Frank, for example. He takeseverything so seriously that he never cracks a smile, never tells ajoke, never lightens up enough to talk about the ballgame over theweekend or the things his kids are doing in school. He’s always ontask, focused on the mission, business all the time. He’s a likableguy, but he’s so intense that most people can only take him insmall doses. He’s just no fun to be around! Don’t be that way. Be one of those people you want to bearound. 41
  42. 42. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue People like others with whom they enjoy interacting regu- larly. Be one of those people. 25 Have a Sense of Humor People with a sense of hu-mor are much more fun to be Assignmentaround than those without. Learn where you can beDon’t you wish you could humorous comfortably. Ifspend some time hanging out telling jokes is not your style,with Robin Williams, or think about funny stories—George Carlin (RIP)? and share them! People with a sense of hu-mor are much more interestingand fun to be around in all walks of life. So feel free to crack a joke, laugh, or recount something youmay have heard on TV or from the morning drive-time radio. Ithumanizes you. But don’t force it, and don’t overdo it. If you forcea sense of humor you don’t really have, people will recognize that.If you overdo it, you risk the impression that you are not seriousenough. Find a happy medium. 42
  43. 43. Quick Ideas 24 to 26 Epilogue Laughter is a universal magnet that binds people together and helps to create and maintain lasting relationships. 26 Laugh at Yourself Self-deprecation is asort of humor in which Assignmentpeople make jokes about Think about ways you canthemselves, their short- laugh at yourself—and invite oth-coming, or their mis- ers to do so as well.takes. It’s laughing atyourself without concernfor damage to your own self-esteem. For example, we warm up to people who can say about them-selves, “Yes, I’ve been very successful, thanks to sheer dumb luck!” These kinds of statements also demonstrate an important traitfor likability: humility. Humble people are more likable than ar-rogant people. Really! We’ve all heard about “that arrogant SOB,”but what about “that humble SOB”? Laughing at yourself makes you human, and that makes youapproachable—a good trait to show. So find opportunities to laughat yourself with others. Let them laugh with you. Just rememberthat they are laughing with you, not at you. 43
  44. 44. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue People would much rather be around someone with the humility to laugh at herself than someone who is arrogant. 27 Cherish Your Goofs We all make mistakes. Cherish mistakes as op- Assignmentportunities. First, view them Identify social goofs youas an opportunity to apolo- have made in the past, andgize. If you make a mistake analyze what you did, how itwith someone, the best rem- affected the other person, andedy is a quick and honest apol- how you rectified it (or failedogy. An honest apology after to). Then examine the nature ofa mistake is almost always the relationship after the goof.well received by the other Learn from those experiences.party, and serves to demon-strate your willingness to notonly recognize when you are wrong, but also to take responsibilityfor the mistake. Second, it is a learning opportunity. Learn what you said ordid that offended someone. Or learn what behavior bothered him.Then, having experienced it once, don’t do it again. Make it partof what you know about that other person. These revealing mo-ments help solidify your relationships because they often exposeyou to parts of personalities not always seen by others—both ofyour personality and the other person’s. 44
  45. 45. Quick Ideas 26 to 28 Epilogue We all make goofs. The important point is to take re- sponsibility for them and learn from them. 28 Social Skills Are Always a Work in Progress Your ability tointeract with people, Assignmentindividually and in Keep learning and improving yourgroups, is an ongoing relationship skill set. Study people andeducation. We con- their behaviors. Stay on top of com-tinually learn our pro- munication and language trends, andfessions and trades even fads.throughout the yearswe work in them,just as we continually learn more about working and interactingwith people the more we do it—which is all our lives. Almost no one ever really becomes an expert at this. Peoplechange, different generations have significant differences in inter-actions and backgrounds, and we learn from our mistakes and oursuccesses—and the mistakes and successes of others. So always be a student of people and relationship-building.Always look for ways to improve your relationship skill set. Neverassume that you’ve got it down and are now an expert. Once youdo that, you’ll get a nasty surprise as someone comes up with anew behavior or concern you’ve never seen before. 45
  46. 46. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Older generations need to continually learn about the rela-tionship rules with younger generations (got teenagers?). Andyounger generations need to be aware that older generations aredifferent, and that their relationship expectations may be differentas a result (got grandparents?). Epilogue Learning about people and relationships should never stop. Relationships are dynamic activities, and, recognizing that people change in time, you need to adapt to those changes. 29 Your Character—and Your Reputation—Is Your Calling Card Your businesscard is a useful item: AssignmentIt identifies you at Consider the times you have metthat first meeting. someone and he already knew some-After that, it prob- thing about you. That’s reputation atably does you no work.good at all. It mightnot even survive theday. But your actions at a first meeting, and all subsequent com-munication and behavioral interactions you have with others, es-tablish your reputation as to what kind of person you are. Andword gets around; others will know about you even if they havenever met you. 46
  47. 47. Quick Ideas 28 to 30 “Say, aren’t you that guy who works with John in the account-ing office?” Ever hear something similar to that when meetingsomeone new? That’s a signal. She already knows something aboutyou from word of mouth. And that word of mouth has alreadyestablished your initial reputation with that person, and set up anexpectation for the relationship that is about to be developed. It might be right, and it might not. It all depends on whatother people have to say about you—that’s what your reputationis based upon. So always remember that every relationship youhave, for good or for ill, will help establish your reputation withothers you may not even have met. So, every relationship is impor-tant. All of them. Work at them. See them as valuable to yourfuture. Epilogue Reputation is your presence in the relationship market- place. It can make you if you work at solid, positive relation- ships, or break you if you ignore those relationships. 30 Be Authentic If you want people to trust you, you have to keep it real. Thatmeans you have to own up to who you are—and you have to like it. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. But so many people spendtime trying to make us believe they’re flawless. You’ve met them:the know-it-all, the embellisher, the goodie-two-shoes. The listgoes on. It takes a lot of energy to hide our faults and pretend to besomething more than we are. And that’s a lot of wasted effort.Think about it for a moment: If you’re presenting yourself in some 47
  48. 48. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsform of false light, then you’re developing a false reality. In time,you’ll be found out. Assignment Think about times when you’ve felt as though you needed to appear as more than you are. How did you feel about your- self? Did it take a lot of energy to keep up the pretense? Then think about the times when you were able to be completely honest about who you are. Did you feel stronger, more coura- geous, and honest? Give these two situations some thought, and then look for ways to live up to who you really are. Real relationships are based on the reality of our true charac-ter, values, principles, strengths, and weaknesses. In other words,“putting it out there.” When we own who we are with modestyand honesty, we can actually relax and begin to feel safe in the factthat people who like us, genuinely like us just the way we are. And that sets you up to attract friends and confidantes whomyou can trust. In short, it’s reaping what you sow. If you sow au-thenticity, you’ll reap it as well. Standing firmly in the center ofwho you are is a true demonstration of strength. Epilogue Keep it real. Be authentic. 31 Act With Integrity Acting with integrity is a simple concept to understand. Wewrote earlier about operating within a set of principles (see Idea 19). 48
  49. 49. Quick Ideas 30 to 32These principles are based onyour personal values. Your be- Assignmenthaviors should, then, conform Take stock of your prin-consistently to those principles. ciples again. Commit toIf your principles are clear, and acting according to thoseyou act according to those prin- principles. Reflect on yourciples consistently, then you recent actions to ensurehave integrity. that you are doing so. The key here is consistency.Having integrity means behav-ing in predictable ways based on your principles. As others learnyour principles by observing your actions, they will begin to ex-pect certain behaviors of you. That provides predictability and italso indicates to people that you have a clear set of principles onwhich you base all your actions. Epilogue People who act with integrity are respected, sought after, and successful. 32 Build Trust Trust is essential to any good relationship. Trust is defined bythe Merriam-Webster dictionary as “assured reliance on the char-acter, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something,” and“one in which confidence is placed.” 49
  50. 50. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills You want to have otherstrust you. That means they Assignmentneed to rely upon you and Find opportunities to dem-what you do and say. Similar onstrate your trustworthiness.to integrity, trust is an inte- The more you demonstrategral part of your reputation. trustworthiness, the moreIf you are trustworthy, that people will place trust in you.means you do what you sayand say what you do. Others will place confidence in people who are trustworthy. Ifyou are trusted, people will have the confidence to work with youand know you will be part of the team, that you will do what yousay you will do, that you will act as you say you will act. How do you build trust? By being trustworthy. Say what youwill do, and do what you say you will do. Trust is built on experi-ence with you. It doesn’t happen overnight, but rather in time andtrial as you consistently demonstrate that you can be trusted. And trust, as we have already said, is a strong basis for goodrelationships. Epilogue Trust is built upon trustworthy actions. 33 Keep Your Word Keeping your word is the bedrock of relationships. You mustdo as you have told people you will do. If you make a promise todo something, do it. Don’t pass it off on someone else. You madethe promise, you keep the promise! 50
  51. 51. Quick Ideas 32 to 34 Sometimes this is painful,or time consuming, or difficult, Assignmentor challenging, or, or, or.... But Concentrate on keepingit is critically important that your word. Make sure youyou keep your word to others. only promise what you canYou will be judged by your re- deliver, and deliver on whatliability. If you can’t do it, don’t you promise.promise it. Nothing damages your re-lationships with others more than not keeping your word. This isthe physical manifestation of trust. If you don’t keep your word,you can’t be trusted. If you can’t be trusted, people will be reluc-tant to maintain a relationship with you. Epilogue You will be judged by your willingness to do what you say you will do. 34 Be Straight Up Yes, that sounds likea cliché, doesn’t it? But Assignmentit’s not. Being straight Practice being straight up. Readup means being honest Idea 91.and forthright—but al-ways with compassion(see Idea 91). That means telling people—those who ask—what you reallythink. Not rudely, crudely, or meanly, but in a constructive way. 51
  52. 52. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills People actually appreciate honest, straightforward views, evenif they differ from their own. In fact, people respect those who areconstructively “straight up.” We often feel we can trust them, be-cause they will tell us what they really think, and not just whatthey think we want to hear. As long as what you say is respectful and shared with sensitivity,a straightforward conversation can strengthen your relationship. Epilogue Being straight up is helpful to others when done tactfully. 35 View Discernment as a Gift It’s true that not ev-eryone is discerning; it’s a Assignmentdifficult trait that is a realchallenge to develop. If Practice this by doing it. En-you have it, cherish it and gage in actively learning about theuse it. people around you with whom you want a relationship. Oh, you want toknow what it is? Okay.Discernment is the ability to see what is not evident or clearlyobvious. Discernment can apply easily to people: If you are dis-cerning, that means you are a good judge of character in others, ora good judge of someone’s motivations for doing or not doing some-thing. You can also think of discernment as accurately perceiving oth-ers’ actions and motivations. People do things and sometimes you 52
  53. 53. Quick Ideas 34 to 36don’t know why. If you are truly discerning, you can sense theirmotivations. The ability to do this comes with experience and areal effort to get to know the other person. You can also think of discernment as insight. Having insightinto how people might react or behave in certain situations is ex-tremely valuable. Again, however, the ability to do this comes withexperience and real effort to get to know and understand otherpeople as individuals. Work at developing this facility. Get to know people and whythey do—or don’t do—things. Learn what motivates them. Learnwhat drives them. Once you know those things, you will havediscernment. Epilogue You become discerning through experience and knowl- edge about other people. 36 Always Show Respect Aretha Franklin sang itclearly—R-E-S-P-E-C-T! We Assignmentall want it, we all expect it, and Do it. Treat others the waywe all deserve it. No matter you want to be treated, withwho we are or what role we respect. Think about it as youplay in any organization, we deal and work with others. Arewant respect from others. In- you behaving as you woulddeed, we have a right to ex- want them to behave?pect it. But that means we alsoneed to show others respect. 53
  54. 54. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills This doesn’t mean we should ignore problems, overlook shoddyefforts, or disregard inappropriate behavior. But it does mean thatwe should be treating others with the same respect we would askthem to use in their dealings with us. Oh, wait. Does this sound familiar? Yep. The Golden Rule(revisit Idea 14). Epilogue Remember that it always starts with you. You set the tone for your relationships with others by your behavior toward them. 37 Practice Tolerance When we speak of tolerance,we are talking about tolerance for Assignmentother people’s points of view, Practice this the nextothers’ ideas, others’ strengths time someone else comes upand weaknesses, and so on. short on an assignment or Remember that people are expresses the, “that’s theall different and they have dif- dumbest idea I’ve everferent attitudes, opinions, and heard” type of thought.values. They also have differentstrengths and weaknesses.Sometimes some or all of these things can seem to be a problem.Sometimes they seem to be barriers to relationships and to gettingthings done. We all need to recognize that we are different, and to cherishthose differences. After all, if we were all the same, it would be aboring world! 54
  55. 55. Quick Ideas 36 to 38 Recognize that everyone has a right to their opinions and val-ues, even if they disagree with yours. Agree to disagree, and moveforward with your tasks. The key tolerance you need to develop is for those people whodon’t have the skills or knowledge you do. Someone makes a mis-take because she is not as good at something as you are. Don’t flyoff the handle; that will surely damage any relationship you mayhave with her. Work with her. Understand her shortcomings andoffer to help her overcome those shortcomings in knowledge or skills.After all, you want her to tolerate your shortcomings, don’t you? Epilogue We all need a little tolerance for differences and weak- nesses in order to create successful working relationships. 38 Choose Words Carefully Words can kill! Choose Assignmentthe wrong words and theycan kill a relationship. Make an inventory of emo- In fact, words have two tionally charged words andmeanings: denotation and phrases, and consciously begin toconnotation. Denotation is eliminate that language—thoseeasy: the definition of the words—from your vocabulary.word. We learn those inschool. Connotations, however, are the real-world emotional re-sponses some words can bring about. Connotation is the concepts 55
  56. 56. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsand ideas that come to mind when the word is spoken, which aresometimes rooted in its definition, and sometimes not. Some words are deadly in and of themselves. You would neverconsider using the “n” word for any reason to anyone. Its definitionand connotation are so negative that it evokes strong reactions fromjust about everyone. Some words, however, come with an intense emotional chargethat goes beyond their definitions. Words such as stupid, dumb,ignorant, and general profanity are all pretty obvious. Often wefind ourselves using these emotionally charged words in momentsof stress, anger, or frustration. And some have made their way intoour everyday office speech. For example, many people bristle atthe phrase “dumb it down,” which clearly communicates that youthink you’re higher on the intelligence food chain than those aroundyou. When in the company of people with known special interestsor concerns, avoid words to which you know they will react nega-tively. For example, it’s not a good idea to use the word shysterwhen talking to your company’s legal counsel. It’s also a bad ideato use the phrase spin doctor when talking to your public-relationsprofessionals. Spin doctor implies lying and deceit, and it’s a dirtyword in the PR profession. Be conscious of words so that your interactions can remain ona neutral and common ground. And never try to set someone offemotionally using words. That’s manipulative (see Idea 45). Epilogue Using the wrong words can significantly damage relationships. 56
  57. 57. Quick Ideas 38 to 39 39 Words: I vs. We In our daily lives,and in our daily inter- Assignmentactions with other Examine your use of the wordpeople, we generally I. Do you overuse it? Are you infind ourselves using a lot danger of communicating an I fo-of pronouns: I, me, we, cus instead of a we focus? If so, startthey, them, he, she, and so making changes in your commu-on. And generally nication to include fewer Is andthere’s no problem using more wes.them. They serve as asort of shorthand in spo-ken and written language that simplifies our communication. Veryuseful. However, one of them can be damaging to relationships whenoverused. That’s the pronoun I. Here’s the problem with I: It im-plies a focus on yourself. If used occasionally and sparingly, it’s noproblem. However, if used constantly, it leaves people with theimpression that the speaker (or writer) is focused only on what thespeaker wants, not what others may want. We see this constantly when teaching students to write coverletters for their resumes when job hunting. They want to commu-nicate that they have the skills and abilities to do the job for whichthey are applying, but in doing so, they use far too many Is, andcommunicate that they are focused on themselves, not the job orthe company. We see it in small group discussions too. One or more peoplewill constantly express, “Well, I think...,” or “I would like to see...,”or “I expect that....” This all too often results in group members 57
  58. 58. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsfeeling as though the person speaking is only focused on his per-spective, and not interested in others. A much better word is we. Especially in group discussions, weconnotes a group focus, not an individual focus as does I. We says,“I’m in this with everyone else and I want to support the groupoutcome.” At the same time, it allows everyone to express theiropinions, points of view, ideas, and information in a neutral, group-focused approach. Epilogue I equals me; we equals us. 40 Use Kind Words Being positive is al-ways a bridge to good re- Assignmentlationships. Part of being Think about the times peoplepositive is using words have been kind to you in conver-that communicate kind- sations. Start practicing the sameness. Expressions of con- behaviors.gratulations when due arealways bridge-builders, as are expressions of condolence when sadpersonal events take place. When making observations about someone’s performance, usepositive words. Be honest about the performance, but be kindabout how you express the actions and the remedies. 58
  59. 59. Quick Ideas 39 to 41 When observing opinions and reacting to others’ statements,positive and kind words are always well received; rarely are nega-tive and critical words. What are kind words? “Congratulations. I’m sorry. Well done!Great! Super job. Good work; let’s examine the situation and workout how we can do better in the future.” Epilogue Kind words build bridges in relationships. 41 Don’t Kill Relationships With Your Behavior Some behaviors candestroy relationships with Assignmentother people. Dr. Howard Have you practiced any of theLambert calls these the Four Horsemen? If so, examine theFour Horsemen of the circumstances and resolve not toApocalypse. They are be- do so in the future.haviors that, if practicedregularly, seriously dam-age or destroy relationships—or block any chance at having one. His horsemen are: criticism versus complaint; contempt; de-fensiveness; and stonewalling. Let’s examine each briefly. Criticism versus Complaint. Lambert notes that a complaintis okay, because it addresses a single issue or behavior. People rec-ognize a complaint as just that, an individual issue. But all toooften what is expressed is global criticism that is meant to apply 59
  60. 60. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsacross the board. A complaint is “you missed the deadline on thatproposal.” Okay, fair enough. A criticism is “you always miss yourdeadlines.” That’s global and far-reaching—and may not be true. Contempt. We often express contempt with condescension andnegative facial expression such as a sneer, or with the use of sar-casm. It is almost never helpful in moving a relationship forwardpositively; it makes the other person feel attacked. Defensiveness. When you get defensive about something, youare trying to pass responsibility onto others. Defensiveness is anavoidance of responsibility. It says, the problem is not with me,it’s with someone else. Stonewalling. This is tuning someone else out of the conversa-tion. Stonewalling stops the communication. Often this happensin arguments and strong disagreements. Someone stonewalls theissue by tuning out. This effectively stymies any attempt at resolu-tion. No communication—no relationship. Epilogue Beware the Four Horsemen! 42 Do Not Gossip Let’s be clear: Gossip is creating rumors and innuendo aboutother people’s professional or personal lives that may or may notbe true. Gossiping about other people, whether true or untrue, leads tomisinformation—intentionally or not. And when it does, it is in-credibly damaging to that person. 60
  61. 61. Quick Ideas 41 to 43 If you engage in repeatingrumors and stories you hear Assignmentfrom others, you do so at the Think back to timesrisk of spreading disinformation when others have gossipedand misinformation. Stay away about you and it came tofrom gossip. Don’t do it, and your attention. Were youdon’t stick around when others happy about that?do it. Remember: People almost always find out who spread gossip.When that happens, and if you were involved, your relationshipwith that person will be seriously damaged. Epilogue Gossip. Bad stuff. Stay away. 43 Don’t Be Dismissive Being dismissive is making Assignmentsomeone feel as though she is notworthy of your time or attention. Recall times whenIt’s belittling her by ignoring her. someone has treated youIt’s saying, perhaps in words and dismissively. Rememberperhaps by behavior, that her how that made you feel?thoughts and ideas don’t matter. If you have ever been treated this way, then you know thatbeing dismissed as accounting for nothing is a terrible feeling. It’s 61
  62. 62. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsdemeaning and makes you feel as though you are worth less thanothers. You’re depressed, and then, often, angry at the person whotreated you that way. Is this any way to establish a relationship? Of course not. Youdon’t want to be treated this way, and neither do others. If youtreat others dismissively, then prepare to have weak or even hostilerelationships with them. Epilogue Treating people dismissively is more likely to create en- emies than friends. 44 Don’t Be Condescending Condescending behaviorsare those that result from a pa- Assignmenttronizing, superior attitude. Pa- Think about some oftronizing behaviors are those the times people have beenthat seem polite and positive on condescending to you. Didthe surface, but are clearly in- you appreciate it? What didtended to express someone’s you think about the personsuperiority over you. He ex- who did it to you?presses ideas or responses thatclearly suggest that he is betterthen you are, or more knowledgeable, or—well, want some ex-amples? Here you go: 62
  63. 63. Quick Ideas 43 to 45 “Thanks for your thoughts. We are all refreshed by your uniquepoint of view.” “That’s an excellent idea, but I don’t know what it has to dowith what we are talking about.” “Let me see if I can put that in terms others can understand.” These behaviors can be damaging, and really have no place inyour interactions with others. Instead, choose behaviors that buildcollaboration and trust (revisit ideas 36 and 40). Epilogue Condescension leads to destructive relationships. 45 Don’t Be Manipulative Trying to manipulate people is an effort to get them to dosomething they really don’t want to do. When you manipulatesomeone, you attempt to get her to fall to your agenda by unethi-cal means. That can be by threatening, intimidating, lying, orsome other nasty behavior. Bribery is one way. And it’s not always money; it can be favor-itism, implied rewards, or the threat (as in coercion) of negativeconsequences. Use of these techniques results in one party havingpower over the other. This is known as a win-lose, and that’s not amutually beneficial relationship. Using manipulative behavior, you might get your way once ortwice, but it will always come back to haunt you. 63
  64. 64. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Assignment To learn more about what manipulative behavior can do for your career, read Idea 135. Epilogue Manipulating others is unethical and leads to negative relationships. 46 Don’t Make Assumptions Do you know what assumespells? Assumptions make an Assignmentass of u and me. We’re sure you’ve done Assumptions are danger- this in the past. So analyzeous, yet we make them all the that circumstance and thinktime. We assume that other about how it might havepeople know something. We turned out better if you hadassume that others are in agree- avoided the assumption andment with us without ever ask- just asked.ing them. We assume thatsomeone has the skills to dosomething. We assume that people want the same things we do. We base these assumptions not on hard evidence, but uponguesses, things others say, and partial information. 64
  65. 65. Quick Ideas 45 to 47 Have you ever spoken with someone and assumed he agreedwith your position or idea, only to be surprised when he expressedthe opposite view? If you do this in front of others, as in a groupmeeting, you risk damaging your relationship with that person.Worse, others will recognize you made an assumption, and theknowledge will damage your relationship with them. Avoid making assumptions about anyone or anything. If youdon’t know for certain, ask. Epilogue Assume spells bad news. 47 Don’t Be Pessimistic If you are a pessimist, Assignmentyou have a negative expec-tation of every outcome. Examine your behavior.You’re gloomy and depress- Are you always negative? If so,ing to be around. You al- heal thyself. It’s simple: Theways expect that the worst glass is really half full.will happen. People tend to avoid pessimists, who often gain a reputationfor being overly critical and negative. They are not fun to be around.Their pessimism creates a barrier that others either can’t penetrateor don’t want to bother to. It’s hard to create a positive relationship with a pessimist. So, always to be an optimist, or at least neutral. 65
  66. 66. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills Epilogue Pessimists are depressing to be around. 48 Don’t Be a Cynic Okay, you think Assignmentpessimists are bad?Cynics are worse! Identify cynical attitudes in oth- A cynic distrusts ers, and watch how others respondeveryone and every- to them.thing. A cynic assumesthe worst, always. Worse, a cynic is very vocal about it. Cynics are difficult people. They are verbal pessimists. Theynot only assume the worst, but they also tell you about it in nouncertain terms: “That will never work,” “You will never get himto agree to that,” “This company will never achieve that goal.” And often they are sarcastic and nasty about it: “You’re out ofyour mind,” “If you think that can happen, you come from a dif-ferent planet,” “You’ve been around her long enough to know wewill never be successful.” Wow! Talk about negative vibes! Epilogue Cynics are verbal pessimists, and people avoid them. 66
  67. 67. Quick Ideas 47 to 49 49 Don’t Be Over-Reactive Sometimes thingsdo not go as planned. AssignmentSometimes bad things Identify people in your life orhappen. When they past who overreact to things. Dodo, don’t overreact to you like it when they do it? Dothem. you avoid them? Do you overreact? Take Jim, for ex- Well then, take a look at Idea 71.ample. He would blowup, yelling and scream-ing at everyone, especially the person who brought him the badnews. He would go on for an hour. It made for an ugly work situ-ation until he calmed down. Then he was fine. But that hour—wow! So what happened? People started avoiding the prospect ofbringing him bad news. The result? Things festered and got worse. If you overreact to things, especially bad news, people are go-ing to start avoiding you. This reduces your effectiveness. It re-duces your interactions. It creates fear in subordinates andcoworkers, and destroys relationships. Epilogue People avoid those who overreact, making relationships difficult. 67
  68. 68. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills 50 Don’t Be Domineering A domineering per-son is one who always Assignmentwants to be in charge. For thoughts on how to be less Consider some of domineering, take a look at Idea 70.the synonyms for domi-neering: authoritarian,dictatorial, overbearing, autocratic, bossy, dominating, high-and-mighty, bullying, high-handed, tyrannical. Whoa! Do you like that kind of person? Do you like hangingout with someone who is domineering, bossy, and bullying? I doubtit. So don’t do it yourself. Instead, be open to consultation, discussion, and group explo-ration. Allow others to express their thoughts and opinions. Andlisten. Epilogue Domineering personalities tend not to have positive rela- tionships with others. 68
  69. 69. Quick Ideas 50 to 51 51 Don’t Be Overly Opinionated It’s not that you should nothave opinions; it’s just that you Assignmentshould avoid forcing them on Examine your own be-others at every opportunity. haviors. Are you overly opin-Allow others to have their own ionated? Do you force youropinions. opinions on others? Perhaps Another way to look at you need to rein in thosethis is to find that person— opinions a little.yes, you know one—who letsyou know his opinion on ev-erything all the time. He usually doesn’t even wait to be askedhis opinion, and he expresses it vociferously and with emotion.Often, it’s done with the attitude and assumption that otheropinions are irrelevant. As a consequence, overly opinionated people tend to be avoided.If they are avoided, they also don’t get much opportunity to createsolid relationships. Epilogue Those who are overly opinionated are also often avoided. 69
  70. 70. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skills 52 Don’t Be Overly Aggressive Being aggressive is akinto being dominating. It’s Assignmenttaking charge too often andtoo energetically without Are you too aggressive withallowing others a role or in- others? If so, take a look as Ideasput in the decision or situ- 77 through 79 for some ideasation. When you are being to adjust your behaviors.aggressive, you are only in-terested in satisfying yourown objectives and concerns, and are not interested in others. Iffact, aggressive people tend to ignore the interests of others. As you can guess, being aggressive is not conducive to build-ing good relationships with other people. Being assertive is much more acceptable, and powerful in build-ing relationships. Assertive behaviors simply ensure that one’s opin-ions or ideas get expressed. But assertive people don’t try todominate the process, and they certainly don’t ignore others. As-sertive people are, similar to those in a good relationship, lookingfor a mutually beneficial outcome. Epilogue Be assertive, not aggressive. 70
  71. 71. Quick Ideas 52 to 54 53 Help Others Grow All right, this one’s simple.People like others who help Assignmentthem. They appreciate oth- Look for ways to help oth-ers who are aiding them in ers become better, more effec-their profession, on their job, tive, more knowledgeable,or in their personal lives. If more capable, more....you help someone grow inlife, you are part of a very posi-tive relationship. If you help someone at work by showing her new skills, pro-cesses, or providing new information and knowledge, you are help-ing her become better at her job. If you help someone at work bygiving him the opportunity to do things he has never done before,or new responsibilities he can grow with, you have participated inhis future success. Epilogue Giving of yourself to help others is a powerful relationship-builder. 54 Believe in Others When people know that you believe in them, that you are intheir camp, when you are truly supportive of them and want them 71
  72. 72. 151 Quick Ideas to Improve Your People Skillsto succeed, they always do bet-ter. Conversely, when people Assignmentdon’t think you believe in Read ideas 92 throughthem, they perform badly. 99. This is a simple manage-ment principle that should alsobe applied to personal and professional relationships. The moreyou believe in others, and express that belief, the better they willdo and the stronger your relationship will be with them. (Thinkback to the Pygmalion Effect in Idea 11.) How do you express belief? In simple comments and behav-iors. Start by being encouraging. Tell them you care and wantthem to succeed. When they have successes, congratulate them.When they have failures, help them improve and overcome. Whenthey need help, provide it. Be there for them if they have questionsor need assistance. Say yes. The more you demonstrate that you truly believe in someoneelse, the stronger the positive relationship you are building withthat person. Epilogue Believing in someone else strengthens both parties and your relationship. 55 Wage Peace in Your Relationships Make your relationships peaceful ones. There is a great deal tosay for working with others who are calm, rational, friendly, and 72
  73. 73. Quick Ideas 54 to 56easy to be around. On theother hand, when relation- Assignmentships are stormy and full of Ideas 77 through 151 canargument and emotion, the help you wage peace in a varietyrelationship is much more of circumstances.difficult to maintain. Peaceful relationships are often much more positive and easierto maintain. If you are in a peaceful relationship, it’s comfortableand rewarding. You are much more likely to seek out people likethis than those with whom you have stormy relationships. Epilogue Which would you rather have: peace or war? In relation- ships, it’s clearly peace. 56 Be a Peacemaker Between Friends Throughout your career, you will occasionally find yourself ina position of having two friends that disagree heatedly about anissue. When that happens, you may have to make peace to getthings back on track. If you have to, be the go-between because you have a goodrelationship with each person. Or, you might need to call a privatemediation between the three of you. But be cautious, however, 73

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