If you’ve read this newsletter for any time, you know that I am an enormous fan and proponent of Stephen Covey’s work. Most problems we humans have (repeatedly, I might add) would be solved by something found in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I especially like Covey’s metaphor of an emotional bank account. You can’t make withdraws unless and until you have made the deposits to cover them.
Too many managers and leaders believe that they have to be tough, demanding, objective, and clinical. They believe that what matters most of all are the numbers. But if the numbers are what are most important, then how important are the people that produce those numbers? This is the same as believing throughput is most important thing and neglecting the machinery.
Ends and means. Golden goose. Golden eggs.
There is a competitive advantage in being nice. There are better results available to those who make deposits in the relationships they need to produce those results. The best leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, and salespeople recognize that the greatest investment you can make is the investment in relationships. And, this requires no money.
- Listening: Listening doesn’t cost you one thin dime. The expensive part of listening is the time it takes you to really listen, to let the other person run out of words. The time is what makes it expensive, but the value outweighs the cost, making listening the greatest deal on earth when it comes to generating results through others. Nothing shows you care more than listening.
- Compassion: Compassion doesn’t have a financial price tag either. The real expense in being compassionate is that to by truly sympathetic you have to take some action to help alleviate their suffering. Sometimes that might cost you money, but a lot of the time a single act of kindness makes an enormous difference. You know this when you are the recipient.
- Gratitude: Being grateful is completely free. It costs you absolutely nothing to say thank you. Even if you say thank you for something small, it makes a deposit in that relationship. It says you noticed. That you appreciate that something was done for you.
- Remembering: The little things are the big things. Remembering a spouse’s name, a child’s name, birthdays, and anniversaries is a big deal. The fact that you remembered is proof positive that you care.
Kindness isn’t weakness. In fact, if you truly have power, then you exercise it by helping people grow into their bigger and better selves. There will be times when you have to make withdraws; you need to have a balance big enough to cover your withdraws, and that balance is made up by the evidence of how much you care.
There is a competitive advantage to be found in caring about people. That competitive advantage can be had without a financial investment. It’s completely free to those who are willing to build a positive culture. The return on investment is a committed, engaged, growth-focused organization. What is that worth?
Are you making the necessary deposits in the most important relationships in your life? Business and personal? Is your culture a magnet that attracts people to you because they want to be a part of something special?
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Do good work!