Wouldn’t it be great if everyone did what we wanted them to do all the time? Make a request and BOOM!, the request is granted. Ask for something to be accomplished and SHAZAM!, it’s done. That would be awesome! And, what if it happened for everyone? Wouldn’t that be great? We’d all be happy all the time.
Well, let’s get over that…we all know that this isn’t the way it is. The waiter doesn’t bring the water. My 15 year old doesn’t clean his room. One of my employees continues to miss deadlines. My boss waits until my formal performance review to tell me how things are going. Not everyone does what we need all the time. It just doesn’t happen. Sometimes this isn’t a big deal (I can wait on the water). But other times it really matters (our customers are complaining).
We all have that one person—could be a friend, a child, a co-worker, an employee, a spouse (by the way, most of us have more than one these people in our lives) that does something that gets in our way, bugs us, annoys us, challenges us, or drives us up a wall. No matter how many times we’ve asked or begged or yelled or pleaded—nothing changes. What’s wrong with these people?!?!
What it comes down to is me (and you). It comes down to what we say, when we say it, and how we say it. It comes down to the words we choose and when we choose to use them. It comes down to us—you and me—and how we do this. Because, if we don’t do anything differently, how can we expect anything to change? After all, we’ve tried everything and, if we keep doing what we’ve always done we’re going to get what we’ve always got (you’ve heard that before).
We do have choices. When we choose those words and choose to use them, we could do it in a way that instills fear (you know…a threat). This is a powerful way to get folks to do what we want…in the short-term. You’ll get what you want and cause a whole lot of bad feelings in the process (anger, resentment, etc.). This is the long-term impact. Trust me, this is not the way to do it (if you want to keep getting promoted, if you want your children to be open with you, if you want extra-special service). You might be asking, why do people take this tact. We’ll address this in another discussion.
Instead, think about what you can do to get the change to happen and leave the person feeling okay or even good about meeting your need. Be polite, be respectful, talk about the impact on you and others, offer support…you know treat the person as you would like to be treated. This doesn’t mean all hugs and kisses all the time by the way. There will be occasions when you have to be a little tough (“We’ve talked about you being late on your work. We agreed that the next time you were late that I would need to formally document the incident. You are late again with an assignment. I am going to document this and it will go in your record.”). But if you’re doing it right—these times will be few are far between.
So, it is all about me! (or you) For me to affect change and get my needs met, I will likely need to change my own behavior first. Trust me again, this will get you further, faster AND the people around you will come to respect and trust you and they’ll work harder to never let you down.