How do you show up every day?
It’s a great question to ask yourself. Then ask others how you show up every day – from their perspective. Are their perceptions the same as what you said about yourself?
Let me share some examples of how I have heard people talk about others close to them:
- Dismissive – makes me feel like I’m not important
- Doesn’t listen – acts like he does but is preoccupied
- He always tries to one-up me – whatever I say, he has to prove that he has done better or knows more
- She is inconsiderate of others – she only thinks of herself
- He truly cares – I know because he gives me his undivided attention
- She inspires me – I love to hear her stories
- He believes in me
- She is always so dramatic and negative – I just can’t listen to her anymore
- She only calls me when she needs something
Does any of that sound familiar? Most times our intentions are good, but we are unaware of the impact of our behavior on others.
There was a time in my life that I was in, what I call, survival mode. Some of the people in my immediate circle were mean-spirited, controlling, emotionally abusive, at times cruel in their words and actions, and extremely harsh and judgemental. So, I found myself running for cover to avoid or get away from all that negativity.
None of those people brought out the best in me. They repelled me big time. When I got myself away from those relationships, starting with my own family, I noticed a difference in me. I was relaxed and didn’t have to keep looking over my shoulder! I made a conscious decision to surround myself only with positive, supportive people and refused to participate in anything that I considered unhealthy or abusive.
One of my former bosses was definitely one of my favourites. Under his leadership, I discovered skills, strength, and courage I had never used before. On reflection, I recognized that he believed in me and that was powerful. When I was unsure, he facilitated my thinking so that I could self-discover the answer. That made me feel stronger and more capable. If I made a mistake he was never harsh. He merely helped me correct the situation. I worked for him more than 20 years ago, and I will always remember the impact his leadership had on me.
I have gone on to work with and coach many people, and I have heard their perspectives on what type of people they like to be around.
Whether you are the type of person who draws people to you or the one who repels them, here are a few really simple actions you can do, to bring out the best in others. When you do that, they will want to be with you and support you.
People just want to know that they matter. They want to be treated with respect.
It’s that simple. How do you do it?
- Listen, give your undivided attention, and focus on them (versus listening to them, not commenting on their words and immediately talking about you).
- Ask probing questions or offer probing statements – “That’s interesting – why do you feel that way?” or “Tell me more.” or “Then what happened?”
- Be sensitive with your comments so not to offend them
- Don’t make jokes at their expense
- Smile when you see them
- Thank them
- Don’t criticize, blame them or judge them
- Offer acknowledgment on anything you like or admire about them
- Recognize their effort
- Send them a quick message or short phone call just to say hi, how are you
- Keep your promises or let them know if you can not
- Be respectful of the space you share
- Ask them for their opinion on something you are thinking or working on
- Offer your assistance, only if they need it
When you demonstrate these points with others, you are creating a positive and safe space for them to be themselves. When they don’t have any fear and feel good being around you, they will be able to be the best version of themselves.
The final result is based on how you made them feel. Those positive emotions will typically be felt after a positive interaction with you. Give it a try. I’d love to hear what your experience is. Feel free to write to me and share!