best in others

3 Words to Bring Out the Best in Others

In my years of speaking to thousands of people in hundreds of organizations, I get asked one question more than any other. “How do I get people to do what I want them to do?”

In fact, C-level execs, meeting planners, managers, supervisors, team leaders, individual contributors, spouses and parents are all asking that exact same question. Fortunately, there is an answer to their question.

For bringing out the best in others, it all comes down to understanding three critically important words … and applying them effectively – Care, Fair, and Dare.

Side Note: I love writing my weekly Tuesday Tips and I’m humbled by all your positive feedback about what I have to say in these Tips. But I’m also frustrated by the fact that Internet etiquette pretty much limits me to about 1000 words. That means I have to leave so much of the content out.

That’s why I’m super excited about my new 10-week ExtraOrdinary Success 2.0 Master Class coming this September. That’s where you’ll learn the 7 Immutable Laws that Boost Your Happiness, Turbocharge Your Achievement, and Maximize Your Relationships. In that class, I won’t leave anything out. You get it ALL. (I’ll share more details later as to how you can be selected to be a part of this exclusive learning experience.)

Excuse my digression. Let’s get you started on how you can use Care, Fair, and Dare to bring out the best in others.

1. Care to Bring Out the Best in Others

In Over The Top, Zig Ziglar asks this question:

“Remember how your favorite teacher made you feel like you were the most important person in the class and the impact that had on your grades? In contrast to those teachers who didn’t want to be bothered with you? The same concept holds true in business — the employee who feels his employer appreciates him is far more likely to do a better job.”

He’s right. The question is: Do you really and truly care about the people at work … your coworkers and customers? And if so, how do they know you care? How do you show it in clear, unmistakable ways?

If you don’t care, or your caring does not come through, the result is almost always a disengaged work force…a work force that is just “putting in their time” or “getting by.”

When your caring comes through, however, you get several benefits:

  • A contagious attitude. Employees that know their bosses care about them pass that caring onto their customers.
  • Improved performance. When an employee’s efforts are recognized, he/she almost always works harder, often releasing additional hidden talents that had gone untapped.
  • Higher motivation. Consistent appreciation for a job well done continues to be among the top motivators of excellence.
  • Stronger safety. When workers believe their employer cares about their well-being and satisfaction, they exhibit safer behaviors. (International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics)

Once you’re Caring is evident, to bring out the best in others, you must also be…

2. Be Fair to Bring Out the Best in Others

We all have an innate sense as to what’s fair and what isn’t.

Bob found that out when he was reading the paper one night. He noticed a story about a beautiful actress who was engaged to a football player known for his stupidity and coarse behavior. Bob said to his wife Marlene, “It’s not fair. In fact, I’ll never understand why the biggest jerks get the most attractive women.”

Marlene smiled at Bob and replied, “Why thank you dear.”

Sometimes things aren’t fair at work, and a lack of fairness can make it almost impossible to keep your workforce fully engaged.

You know what I’m talking about. You work, and work, and work, and somebody else in the same position as you does just enough to get by. And yet you’re paid the same amount. It’s not fair.

You see it when the best employee, or the hardest working employee, is given more work, while the slackers are allowed to slack off.

You see it when the boss is rushed and needs something done. Without thinking about it, he unconsciously begins to give more and more work to his one outstanding employee. Over time, she gets so overloaded, she cannot perform well, and she grows increasingly unhappy with the disproportion between her workload and the others’ workload.

As my colleague and marketing genius Dan Kennedy says, “Ultimately, her attitude sours, her work diminishes, even her original legendary reliability dissolves. The best employee becomes the worst. The best-turned-worst leaves in disgust or is fired. She has been victimized by her own superior performance.”

Too many managers fail to see how they’re burning out their good employees and they fail to see why they should confront their under-performing employees. It’s not fair.

Of course, these types of managers have all kinds of excuses for not confronting their under-performing employees. These managers think, “These particular employees have been here a long time … No one else has ever confronted them … They’re not that bad … or … They need the job.”

As author Dr. Terry Paulson asks, “What is your excuse for not caring enough to hold all your people accountable?”

To create a FAIR work place, or even a FAIR home environment, you need to have some serious conversations with the people who are not doing their fair share or who are underperforming in one or more ways. They need to be held accountable.

3. Dare to Bring Out the Best in Others

Give people a challenge. And dare them to meet it.

Everyone needs the right level of challenge to be at their best. If the challenge at work is too low, there’s no pride in the job. It’s like dropping a coin in a cup that is three inches from your hand. If you miss, you feel real dumb. And for all the coins you drop in the cup, you feel like “it’s no big deal.” And so when the challenge is low, the worst that happens to you is humiliation, while the best that can happen is nothing.

However, if you toss coins into a cup that is farther away, you’ll miss some of the time. But there’s no shame involved. You probably feel a bit challenged. You want to do better … and know you could do better … if you were given a bit more time to practice.

The same principle applies to your job or anybody’s job. If you have JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT of challenge, you’ll probably be engaged. If there’s too little or too much challenge, you drift towards disengagement.

And once you give people just the right amount of challenge, you DARE them to accept and meet that challenge.

For example, effective managers keep responsibility and ownership where it belongs … on the employees. If you as a manager keep running in to lift the weights off your employees, you may be seen as a “hero” manager. After all, you keep on bailing your people out. The problem with that is two-fold. Your employees never build any muscle of their own and they become more and more dependent on you.

In Lessons from the Best Managers, Paul Thornton says smart managers invite employees to discuss their problems and possible solutions with them. BUT, smart managers do not allow their employees to leave their problems with them.

As a reminder of this principle, one of the chief engineers at the Hamilton Standard Division of United Technologies had this quote on his wall: “At no time during our discussion will your problem become mine. If that happens, then you don’t have a problem and I cannot help anyone who doesn’t have a problem.”

Action: What is one thing you could do this week to show more CARE? What is one thing you could do to make things more FAIR, at work and at home? And what is one way you could DARE people to meet a particular challenge?

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 887 – 3 Magical Words to Bring Out the Best in Others