Reviews & Profiles
Succeeding: We can't all be the same
Posted Tuesday, November 5 2013 at 00:00
People are different. That’s a fact. And thank God we are that way. Otherwise, it would have been a boring world. Can you imagine if the whole world was filled with a particular profession? Now, I won’t mention any examples in case it’s your profession and you take things personal. But I bet you get my point. It would be such a challenge.
Unfortunately, we sometimes catch ourselves expecting people to behave in a certain way. Especially our way. But that’s not possible. We were created differently – with different personalities, different gifts and talents.
Besides that, people have different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, age…and that influences their day to today behaviour. And if people are different, then, it means the way they ought to be treated has to be different.
Why? Because the tastes will be different. Understanding will be different. And their expectations will also be different. So, be aware of making the mistake of treating people the same way though I sometimes catch myself committing this error. I am not immune. Just so you know. But I am aware.
Okay, how can you then treat people differently? Of course, there are many variables and there is no size that fits all. But here are some pointers that would be helpful to you. Find out what people like and what they don’t. Once you develop a relationship over time, you can ask a simple question as to how a person prefers being treated. And what would be an absolute no on their part. Once you get to know this, you can then act accordingly.
The golden rule says “do unto others as you would want it done unto you”. The limitation with this rule though is that what you consider wonderful may not be what the other party values. For example, I don’t like coffee even though most people do. So, the better rule is “Do unto others as they would want it done unto them”.
Be observant. Pay attention. Watch. Listen to what people say and what they don’t say. As you listen attentively, you will pick hints in terms of what they like and what they don’t. For example, you could hear someone say,
“I don’t like people who don’t keep time”. Record that at the back of your mind.
No notebook please at this stage. Then, if you have a meeting with the same person, you will know how to behave.
Once you get to know what people like or don’t, then act from a place of flexibility. If it’s something you can do in terms of how to treat them, then do so. Of course I’m not saying you do everything. Because your values could be clashing with someone else’s interests. So, there is a limit.
If you treat people the way they would want to be treated, and not the way you imagine in your head, you will develop great relationships. And that’s valuable in life and business.
Ethan Musolini is CEO of Success Africa, a motivational speaker, author and HR consultant