How to help yourself by helping others (or just help others and not care if you get anything out of it)
We talk a lot about being accountable for yourself.
That is the number 1 factor for your improvement and success, but we can’t fool ourselves: what – more specifically – WHO surrounds us impact a lot.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time withJim Rohn (other people have some version of it)
If you feel this is too exaggerated, you might want to see Nicholas Christakis’s TED talk – one of the authors of the book Connected.
What he explains in it is: of course that there is no magic number such as 5, but, if your friend becomes obese, you have 57% chance of becoming obese in that period of time. And that was being replicated for smoking, voting, emotions.
At the time, many articles approached like “you might want to make new friends”. Sure, sometimes that is the case. But sometimes you want to take people with you. And that will take some effort and, unfortunately, challenging conversations.
Love, good intentions, and clarity go a long way. But there are proven methods that can help.
The first step is to understand that you need to use your communication intentionally to achieve positive feedback. If you have criticism, prepare reasons and examples (we’ll give more details next on this text). And if you are about to compliment, be ready to build up even further on that.
We can be even more specific on the steps. TED has just released a couple of really interesting work-related educational videos and I loved the feedback one:
- Micro-yes: begin the feedback by asking a question that is short but important, for example, “Do you have five minutes to talk about how that last conversation went?”. It creates a moment of buy-in, a feeling of autonomy.
- Data point: Specificity. Instead of saying, “You aren’t reliable,” we would say, “You said you’d get that email to me by 11, and I still don’t have it yet.”
- Impact statement: Here, you name exactly how that data point impacted you. So, for example, I might say, “Because I didn’t get the message, I was blocked on my work and couldn’t move forward”.
- Question: The goal is to commitment rather than just compliance. So wrap-up with a question: “Well, how do you see it?” Or “This is what I’m thinking we should do, but what are your thoughts on it?”
Co-workers, colleagues, friends, family… In a way, the friend of a friend of a friend might affect you. Or it won’t, but it will affect someone else. So we might also reflect that we are all embedded in the same network. So take the time to invest on people.
And hey – don’t stop on criticism. Stay sharp to have tough conversations when needed, but keep in mind that most of the time you can motivate more by reinforcing positive behavior. Harvard Business Review published a study where high performance correlated to a 5.6-1 Praise-to-Criticism Ratio. In other words, complimenting almost 6x more than your criticize.
Kind words are quite precious and cost nothing; it’s surprising that they’re so rare. Laud what you enjoy. Praise the people who excel in novel ways. Do it publicly and often.Except from How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps) Paperback – March 19, 2013 – by Jessica Hagy (Author)
Everyone needs more encouragement.
Here is some really simple explanation I like:
I hope you improved your tough conversations skills and got ready to praise some strangers (and acquaintances) on your way, after all…
We rise by lifting others.Robert Ingersoll
See y’all next time. 😉 Share the love!