Many times, people find themselves wondering why they are feeling a little isolated from their friends or why their organisation has lost it’s “morale”. It is very easy in this situation to point the fingers at those around you. You may have heard that when you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at yourself?
Yesterday, I was listening to the radio. The host was discussing a particular situation where a caucus had decided to attempt to overthrow their political leader at a time when the leader was out of the country. Perhaps an unusual situation but in reality it is not that uncommon although not usually as extreme. Later in the interview the political leader shared their viewpoints on how this situation arose and calmly said that there were often times when there was acrimonious debates in caucus and it was normal to have these heated debates. That was perhaps the leaders perspective, but was it shared by everyone at the table?
Learning how to leave people good after a meeting or encounter with you is a skill, but it is one that you must learn to adopt! Many years ago I had a business where I was required to counsel people in my organisation to assist them in their progress. Thankfully, my wife would often sit in on these meetings. I remember talking to a lady in my organisation about how she could improve her performance. I listened to her situation and the many excuses that seemed to roll of her tongue and while I did not use the phrase “suck it up Princess” that was how she received my rather clumsy advice. Thankfully, she had a tough constitution and although tears were welling up in her eyes, she resolved to roll up her sleeves, get stuck in and try and overcome her stumbling blocks.
Obviously, you can see that I may have changed a little over the years and the situation was in actual fact out of character for me personally as I am usually considered to be an “uplifter”. My attempt at “tough love” ended up being an exercise in stupidity. My wife however, pulled me aside after the meeting and indicated that my technique, while perfect for the local football team, probably wasn’t going to be so successful with a single female? As she observed the quizzical look on my face, she also had the answer to my obvious concern and shared with me a book. It was a book about relationships and how to improve them.
At the end of the day, the answer was simple. That lesson taught me a great deal about how to leave people feeling better after their meeting with me than before. I was reminded of this yesterday.
I am helping my sons open a new restaurant, a family business in Towne Centre Mall. It is a lot of fun and reminds me of my early days as an entrepreneur. Yesterday afternoon, a couple walked in to the restaurant to say hello. It was a surprise visit and yet in a short exchange we were left feeling better about the rest of the day. It is possible to add value to someone’s life simply with a smile and a kind word. It is also possible to “fire” your best friend from your business and still be friends, but that, perhaps is another article.
As I have learned from my experiences, I thankfully have been able to pass on some of that knowledge to my children. From an early age, I explained to them that whenever they meet a person, they must remember that when the meeting finishes, you either made that person feel better about themselves, or worse. The interesting thing is that you control the outcome. All you have to do is decide wether you would like to add value to someone’s life or detract value.
Ratan Tata, the Indian billionaire has lived his life by ensuring that when his head hits the pillow, he has done his best to make the right decisions and that nobody is upset by their encounter with him that day… if it works for him, perhaps it can work for you too!
To understand how simple it is to control that encounter, I recall one of my adventures where a partner explained to me that at the end of the adventure, we would likely not be friends because that is just normal. Teams on adventures don’t get along he stated. I countered with my opinion that if we want that to happen then likely that would be the case. Sadly, after a successful trip, three of the expedition members are good friends and the fourth is perhaps not as good a friend.
It is a very unfortunate circumstance and of course as you can see it was a self fulfilling prophecy, but the important take away is that the outcome of any meeting is determined by your desire for the result. You choose.