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So how do you do it?

The philosophy outlined in the previous post always sounds good in theory, but how do you actually do it?  How do you get someone to care about what you feel is important?

Here are 3 tips.

1.  Find out what is important to the other person.

When people feel understood and listened to, they are given a fresh breath of ‘psychological’ air.  They get the feeling that you are on their side, that you can relate to where they’re coming from, that you care.  But here’s the key point: you do have to really care.  You can’t just manipulate them with saying the right words, they’ll smell it, they’ll find out, it won’t work.  You have to show that you truly care about what is important to that other person. 

2.  Support others in acheiving their goals.

Do whatever you can to help people accomplish what they trying to do.  Go out of your way to do something that will be appreciated.  Add value to their efforts.  Spread the word about their efforts.  Give an encouraging word and sincere appreciation.  Again, it must be a sincere effort, something you do willingly because you want them to succeed, not because you expect something in return.

3.  Share what you care about.

Talk about what is important to you, in an honest and sincere way.  Don’t tell people why they should change, share how it has affected you personally.  Be truthful and honest.  Make sure your words and actions are congruent and that your integrity is clearly apparent. 

Then let people choose.

When people fundamentally share the same deep down beliefs and goals, they are willing to work together to accomplish great things.  When you follow these tips, you are connecting with people at a deeper level that allows real synergy for working together.  If people choose not to connect with you, or accept your help, or share the same fundamental beliefs, then maybe you don’t need them to.  You can’t force others to care about what you feel is important.  So don’t even try it, you’ll damage the relationship, making it even more impossible to have any influence in the future.

I’ve learned these concepts from various sources and experience, which I’m sure you can also relate to and validate, but these specific tips were articulated perfectly by Dick Axelrod in his ebook, so I just had to share them.

There are two ways to get someone to do what you want.

  1. Tell them to do it, and the reason is because you are the boss and they have to do what you say.
  2. Influence them in a way that they’ll want to do it on their own accord.

 

One way is easy and gets results.  The other way is difficult and results are not consistent.

One way makes things happen in the short term, but damages long term possibilities.  The other way creates a solid relationship with potential for even greater accomplishments in the future.

One way derives power from compulsion.  The other way derives power from true caring and respect.

Which type of leader would you rather work for?

Which way would you rather be known for?

I like this section of Seth Godin’s book, Tribes.

“If you hear my idea but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; it’s mine.

If you see my new product but don’t buy it, that’s my failure, not yours.

If you attend my presentation and you’re bored, that’s my fault too.

If I fail to persuade you to implement a policy that supports my tribe, that’s due to my lack of passion or skill, not your shortsightedness.

If you are a student in my class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.

It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual.  It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer for not trying hard, for being too stupid to get it, or for not caring enough to pay attention.  It might even be tempting to blame those in your tribe who aren’t working as hard at following as you are at leading.  But none of this is helpful.

What’s helpful is to realize that you have  a choice when you communicate.  You can design your products to be easy to use.  You can write so your audience hears you.  You can present in a place and in a way that guarantees that the people you want to listen will hear you.  Most of all, you get to choose who will understand (and who won’t).”

That piece of advice would go a long way to improving attitudes by encouraging people to take responsibility for what happens and not immediately blame others.  That’s true leadership, which is why it is still scarce.

I walked through the wildwood, and what did I see
But a unicorn with his horn stuck in a tree,
Cryin’, “Someone please help me before it’s too late.”
I hollered, “I’ll free you.” He hollered back, “Wait-
How much will it hurt? How long will it take?
Are you sure that my horn will not scratch, bend, or break?
How hard will you pull? How much must I pay?
Must you do it right now or is Wednesday okay?
Have you done this before? Do you have the right tools?
Have you graduated from horn-savin’ school?
Will I owe you a favor? And what will it be?
Do you promise that you will not damage the tree?
Should I close my eyes? Should I sit down or stand?
Do you have insurance? Have you washed your hands?
And after you free me – tell me what then?
Can you guarantee I won’t get stuck again?
Tell me when. Tell me how.
Tell me why. Tell me where…”

I guess that he’s still sittin’ there.

By Shel Silverstein

Smart people can think of a lot of details and ramifications of certain actions, which is probably why we need them (the smart people).  But sometimes too much thinking about the bad things that haven’t happened yet can stop the good things from happening.  We call it, “analysis paralysis” a disease most prominent in engineers.

So if you want “Help” from the good ideas that are in the people all around you, then don’t be like the unicorn… who’s still sittin’ there.

They say, “Come up with somethin’ new
And everyone will buy it.”
So I came up with a paper umbrella,
But no one was willing to try it.

And then I came up with reusable gum.
It seemed such a pity to waste it.
Then I came up with some mustard ice cream.
Nobody bothered to taste it.
So now I’ve invented a plug-bottom boat.
It’s just what you need, there’s no doubt,
‘Cause if any water should ever splash in,
Just pull the plug – it’ll all run out.

 

By Shel Silverstein

We probably get a chuckle from some people’s ideas in the same way we might laugh about the ones in this poem. But a good leader will let others run with them and learn for themselves whether the idea is good or not.  If it doesn’t work, they’ll know soon enough.  

 

Leadership is about surfacing the internal motivation and drive from individuals, and the quickest way to squash that drive and loyalty is to say, “that won’t work.”