Turbo Leadership Systems

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March 23, 2010 Issue 270 To our clients and friends

Genuine Interest

Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Change others by changing your approach.

Jan told our Leadership Development LAB, "I've had a problem with Irene for the last three years. She really resented my being promoted to Supervisor of the Accounting department. She had been employed with the firm for several years before I joined the company, and she expected the promotion herself.

"I have talked with her several times in the last few weeks to see what her main concerns are. I have listened to what she says and doesn't say. I've shown her that I care about her concerns and how she feels. I've stopped by her desk every day to see how she is doing and ask about things that concern her area of responsibility. I've made a point of writing her notes about the things she does well or even about her looking especially nice that day. I really tried to put myself in her shoes, and I treated her like I want to be treated.

"I can see a definite improvement, not only in her work, but also, more importantly, in her attitude. She still doesn't really like me being her supervisor, but she feels a lot better about herself and about me. She even said ‘Thank you' on a note she left on my desk!"

What can we learn from this simple story? People have feelings. Whether we agree with their feelings or not, they own those feelings, those attitudes. We can sit in judgment and say, "He's a jerk," or accept our responsibility as an empowering leader to help change their attitudes. You can help change their attitudes. Don't cop out. Reread this example. Look at the situation. It could have been a real stalemate and considered hopeless, impossible. But it wasn't hopeless, it wasn't impossible. Jan accepted her responsibility as an empowering leader to impact performance by first of all taking the responsibility to understand her new subordinate and secondly stepping back from her own ego, her own need to be "the boss" and in control. Jan "let the other person feel important."

To be an effective leader, you cannot work with everyone in the same way. People must be treated in the light of their own individual character, position, and personality. By showing them that you know who they are and that you respect them, you demonstrate genuine interest.

Make full use of the small points you know about the people you work with. Mirror the behavior, mannerisms, style, gestures and actions of the other person.

Notice and remember the other person's wishes and preferences in small matters. By reflecting their behavior and style, we make a deep impression and win both their friendship and confidence, we're demonstrating that we have them in mind. Discover what people really want, especially the exact nature of their most active wants which touch upon you and your plans. The closer we come to the other person's special interests, the closer we rivet their attention.

Look for clues that reveal traits of character and ability. Look for the traits that lie behind unusual actions. And, most importantly, use every bit of information you know about people to prove your genuine interest.

How about you? Is there a tough person in your life who needs your help in changing their attitude, someone whose cooperation and respect you need?

Here is the paradox - To gain their cooperation and respect, you begin by cooperating with their desire to feel important. You begin to earn their respect by expressing a genuine interest in them.

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