The single most important ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.
In fact, that tip is true for everyone — leaders, managers coworkers, customers, friends, and family members. KNOWING HOW to get along with people — and KNOWING HOW to get their willing cooperation — will take you further in life than just about any other skill.
The problem is … we’re often taught something quite different. Just look at the ads on TV or the Internet concerning various dating services. They all talk about helping you “FIND the right person.” And there is some truth in that. Relationships are easier if you pick them wisely.
However, they fail to mention that a lot of your success in any relationship depends on you “BEING the right kind of person.” In other words, your behavior and your people skills — or your lack of them — have a huge impact on how successful your relationships will be.
That’s why I offer a program entitled, “The Relationship Recipe: Rapport, Respect, and Recognition.”
And when it comes to using the right kind of people skills, NOTHING IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN MAKING THE OTHER PERSON FEEL IMPORTANT.
You see it in the annual surveys that try to determine the “best” companies to work for. Perhaps you’ve seen the list, and you may have even wished you were working in one of those organizations. Unfortunately, at the end of each of those listings, they always say, “Don’t bother to look for a job in any of these places because nobody in his right mind would ever leave them. There are simply no vacancies.”
The point is simple, when you make people feel important — whether that be your team members, customers, or family members — people stay. And people give their best in return.
But there’s one other benefit. WHEN YOU MAKE OTHERS FEEL IMPORTANT, YOU CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF. And you can’t help but bring out your own best.
This point is so simple but so profound that I decided to let the rest of today’s “Tip” be dedicated to one story. It touched my heart, and I think it will touch yours as well.
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the school’s students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. “Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God’s plan reflected in my son?”
The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. “I believe,” the father answered, “that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child.”
Then, he told the following story. Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they will let me play?” Shay’s father knew that most boys would not want him on their team, considering his handicaps. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him a much needed sense of belonging.
Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, “We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team, and we’ll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, “Shay, run to first. Run to first.” Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, “Run to second. Run to second!”
By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher’s intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head.
Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home. As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third!” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, “Shay! Run home!” Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero, for hitting a “grand slam” and winning the game for his team.
“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world.”
Call it magic; call it the Divine Plan, whatever. But when you make others feel important, everyone wins.
Action: Rather than take today’s “Tuesday Tip” for granted, put some conscious thought into it. Ask yourself, “What am I doing to make others feel important?” If you can’t quickly and easily list a number of things that you are doing, then it’s time to think about it, brainstorm a list, and start implementing those items.