438: How Leaders Can Strengthen Relationships With Their Team (Part Two)


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In the last episode we covered the first three principles for strengthening relationships, focusing on avoiding criticism, expressing sincere appreciation and arousing in others an eager want. We will explore how to advance the relationship building process with the next

three human relations principles.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

Society has entered a very narcissistic stage, where many people are highly focused on themselves. Additionally, we are all time poor and focused on what we need to do and have little mental bandwidth for what other people are thinking or need. Efficiency is a difficult approach to apply to building good human relations. It is very hard to build up trusting relationships with such a time poor, highly transactional approach. If we don’t build trust, then what sort of relationships do we have with the team members?

The way to build trust is to get to know people and get them to know us. The more things we share in common, the easier it is to get on with each other. This is not manipulation, trying to get to know others so that we can use them. I am sure we have all met people like this. It doesn’t go anywhere. People are not stupid and they pick up on this immediately. Being “nice” to take advantage of people only works once and in this highly interconnected world, where information travels at a blistering pace, word spreads very quickly.

So what we are talking about here is genuine interest. Each one of us has areas of experience or interest which others would genuinely find interesting. It is often amazing to learn things about colleagues you have worked with over many years, that you had no idea about. It makes for a richer happier workplace. Being able to see things from another person’s point of view requires you know what their point of view is and more importantly to understand why they think that way. The way to do that is take a real interest, an honest interest, in other people and build the bonds between us, based on our shared interests.

  1. Smile.

As we smile, we start to develop a deeper relationship with the team member. We are more approachable, more friendly, less intimidating. It sounds so simple – smile - how hard can that be? Well take a good look at people’s faces at work. Most are looking stressed, concerned, pressured and very, very serious. Not too many smiles being shared around.

That is the way of the modern world. We are supposed to be getting more time thanks to technology, but in fact, it is making us busier and more stressed as a result. We are all more and more focused on ourselves and we are losing touch with the art of pleasant interaction and good communality. In that process we are forgetting to offer a smile as the first thing when we meet others. More often, we proffer a furrowed brow and a serious face.

So keep this in mind that every time you face a team member to speak, crack a big smile first before you say anything. This changes the atmosphere completely. They will feel better about you and much more likely to cooperate with you and be very pleased to see you.

  1. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

We might be dealing with a number of people in the organisation and we may not meet all of them each time. However, if we meet them again or pass them on the way to the meeting room, we had better be able to remember their name. We may meet a number of key people from other divisions in the office. We have to be able to remember their names, even though we may only meet them periodically.

When we are dealing with clients, Japanese decision-making ensures that there will be many people involved in the decision and we cannot afford to miss anyone from that group, if we bump into them at their office or elsewhere. When we go to networking events or industry gatherings, then we need to be able to remember the names of the people we meet. We are representing our organisation. This is an important skill and most of us have that “I know the face, but can’t remember the name” problem. If our competitor can remember people’s names well and we cannot, we are at a major disadvantage.

Our skills in interacting with others are a critical function in business. We need to master this skill set. In the next episode, we will cover the final three human relations principles we need to be successful in business.

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