It’s amazing to me how so often it can be the little things that make the difference. Relationships are both built upon and destroyed by “little things.” This is a short list of some very vital habits that each of us are capable of beginning or improving upon. If we practice these habits it will improve both our relationships and influence:
Return Calls & Emails – It’s just plain rude not to respond to people who leave a message for you. Ditto with e-mails. With the proliferation of smartphones, when you’re “accessible” 24/7, keeping up with the massive number of e-mails and phone calls each day can be like shoveling sand at a beach. My goal is to return or respond to all my phone calls and e-mails within twenty-four hours. Remember; treat others the way you want to be treated.
Show Courtesy – showing common courtesy – and appreciating the people you work with – is a habit that should be practiced daily. In today’s society, it seems that the most uncommon trait shown is common courtesy. The reality is that if we do not show common courtesy within our staff, it is unlikely that we will display common courtesy to others as well. Start by extending common courtesy to everyone you interact with.
Listen – A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something. – Wilson Mizner. Do you dominate the conversation or do you let other people talk too? Conversation is a two-way activity. A person, who dominates the conversation, might feel good about it, because he or she attracts all the attention, but he or she might be avoided the next time. If we are willing and able to listen to others, we will gain a great deal.
Think Positive – All of us affect the people we work with, in one way or another. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through our thoughts and feelings, and through body language. Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people, and prefer to avoid negative ones? People are more disposed to help us, if we are positive, and they dislike and avoid people who are habitually negative.
Be Honest – it takes great courage to be honest. You have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. Honesty is much more compelling, powerful, and effective than the alternative. People want the truth. they respect other people and organizations for speaking it. People want you to be honest with them, even if you’re a leader and honesty means exposing yourself as a little intimidated, or shy, or unsure. That kind of vulnerability doesn’t alienate; it attracts. It makes us approachable. It allows people to identify with us, to trust us, and to follow us.
One of our most significant goals as leaders is to build good relationships with the people we meet, people we work with and the people we lead. These habits will improve our ability to build good relationships. So, let’s make it a priority to practice these habits daily.