In This Edition:
1. Getting Things Done: Working with Others
2. Enlisting Others in Everyday Activities
3. Exhibiting Host Behavior
4. Being Open to Empowering People
5. Empowerment is Where You Find It
Getting Things Done: Working with Others
Labor Day has passed, and everyone is returning to their normal, if hectic, schedules. Lo and behold, we each get a quick reminder that for much of what we want to get done, working with others effectively is the key to success. Case in point: I don’t know a thing about starting or maintaining blogs, but by working with others, I have not one, but three blogs! Each focuses on a different topic:
Almost everything else I need or want to accomplish at work happens through working with others.
Enlisting Others in Everyday Activities
Those who have achieved success at work or in life often seem to know something special about connecting with other people. They say the right things and associate with the right people. They have a knack for keeping up with what is going on, and they find many ways to form alliances.
High-octane persuaders can adapt their styles depending on degrees of formality, levels of seriousness, and people involved. They have subconscious ideas of their desired outcomes in the back of their minds. These ideas might range from negotiating a business deal to successfully completing an involved project.
Those with a knack for forming alliances know the importance of using a person’s name. It has been said that our names are the “sweetest and most important sounds in the English language” to many of us.
The accurate use of names is crucial in greetings, and alliance builders are especially adept at remembering and using them. Some naturally have good memories; many others take memory enhancement courses to learn and practice the many tricks for remembering. They know how important this skill can be. Addressing someone you have recently met with confidence, without mixing up his or her name, opens the door of opportunity.
One manager at an electronics company instructs his assistant to make calls before a meeting and create a list of the names of people who will be in attendance. He studies the list prior to the event so that he’ll be at his networking best when he arrives.
Exhibiting Host Behavior
At a business reception, small pockets of people congregate between the bar at one end of the room and the table at the other end. The opportunity for making new business contacts here is ripe.
You’ll spot at least one person, smiling and gracious, moving around the room fluidly, shaking hands and introducing himself or herself with direct eye contact and a warm smile. This person spends some time with each individual he or she greets, listening carefully while the other talks. This person’s ability to form alliances and partnerships is head and shoulders above the others in the room.
To make new, quality contacts, you have to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. When you have the chance to meet someone in person, first, introduce yourself. Some alliance builders have a focused agenda and seek occasions for making business contacts or improving business relations.
Alliance builders seldom have the problem of having nobody to talk to; if left alone momentarily, they have a knack for acting in a commanding manner. Rather than sinking into the woodwork, they stand straight and, sipping a drink, survey the room with a look of alert interest and even slight amusement. They’re never left out because they don’t act left out!
Being Open to Empowering People
Some people, including myself, rely heavily on empowering people to gain the kind of insights, input, and feedback that enable them to propel themselves forward. These include peers, affiliates, and a host of others. Draw from the best people you might encounter at work and in life.
Essential to having empowering people in your career is being open to having them! This sounds simple enough, but many career professionals don’t embrace the notion. Think about anyone from work who always:
- looks forward to hearing from you,
- listens to you closely,
- heeds your advice, and
- is appreciative for having received it. Is this the kind of person you want to be around? Of course. That’s the kind of person I am to my empowering people. They know that I want to hear from them and that I value what they tell me. I often act on their recommendations so rapidly that they’re amazed how quickly their advice took effect.
You for Me, and Me for You — People who empower you are also empowered by you in some way. Otherwise, the relationship would not continue. The way that you empower them often varies. Perhaps simply valuing what they say in a way that few others do fulfills a need in them that prompts them to keep the relationship going. Here are other ways you may be empowering those who empower you:
- Perhaps few others value them the way you do.
- The energy, discipline, and enthusiasm you exhibit in pursuit of your projects may be inspiring to them.
- What you want to get done in and of itself might be of notable interest to them.
- The questions that you ask of them might require answers that they previously may not have articulated and they value this interaction.
- They value being exposed to the elements of your world and your insights.
Empowerment is Where You Find It
You can find empowering people nearly everywhere you turn. Your career, your peers, and even the next function you attend all represent fertile arenas. Here are some more ideas:
- Professional association meetings, i.e., if you’re a financial planner, perhaps you meet somebody at the state chapter meeting of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners.
- At civic, social, charitable association groups’ meetings.
- At an adult-ed course you take.
- Through friends.
- At conferences you attend, particularly if they’re a presenter.
- On airplanes, especially if you’re seated in first class.
- When you serve on the same task force, special committee, commission, or other elected or appointed group.
Obviously, you can only connect with so many people on a regular basis. The relationship with each of your empowering people requires some type of sustenance. What effort will you undertake to maintain the relationship?
The process of identifying and nurturing relationships with empowering people is a dynamic one; you’re always bringing new people into the fold, while still encountering others you suspect will become empowering people in your life.