Practice the 3 R’s – to establish trust and build relationships with the people you work with and interact with. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Yuck – what a dink?”. (I don’t mean Double Income No Kids). There is just something about them that you don’t like. For what ever reason they rub you the wrong way. The truth of the matter is sometimes you have to work with – or interact with – people you don’t like. Even if you don’t like them – you still need to find a way to work with them. I have a solution for you. Think of someone who you work with that for what ever reason, you are having difficulty getting along with them. I want you to try this little experiment and see if it helps repair that relationship or a least make it bearable. I call it the 3 Rs to building relationships and establishing mutual trust with just about everyone and anyone.
Rapport: Start a conversation and find out something about them that you can talk about. What are their hobbies? Do they have children, play sports or read books? What do they love to do in their spare time? You can’t build a relationship with anyone that you haven’t established a rapport with first. Get them talking about themselves or what they love to do, and you are on your way to the next step. You are on your way to likeability.
Relationship: People like to hang around with, and interact with people they like. The more conversations you can have with that person or persons, the more likely it is that you are breaking down those barriers and are becoming more likable. Soft-skills – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others is a necessary skill in building relationships. Building a relationship is key to getting along with people – even the ones you don’t like.
Respect: You don’t respect anyone you haven’t built a relationship with first. Out of a relationship comes mutual respect. You might not agree with everything they have said or done – but because you have built a relationship with them, you will respect the fact that they have a right to their own opinion and a right to live their lives as they see fit. We tend to agree to disagree with people we respect.
If you have navigated the three-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. As friends, parents, managers, leaders, and coaches sometimes you need people to take a leap of faith. Sometimes you don’t have all the answers and need them to trust you. If you have established mutual respect in your relationships, then they will trust you. They will take that leap of faith knowing that you would never set them up for failure. They’ll know you have their best interest in mind.
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One of the best compliments I had ever received as a Manager was from an employee after I had disciplined her. It took her about 15 minutes after the fact before she realized what I had done. I was reminded of that incident the other day when a reader wrote me and asked me how to go about “calling attention to a person’s mistakes indirectly”. In my management training sessions I talk with team leaders, supervisors and managers about how they need to create “Teachable Moments”. Mistakes are inevitable. Mistakes will happen but discipline should always be a positive learning experience.
It’s difficult for anyone to take constructive criticism in a positive way. (As far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as constructive criticism only positive feedback) People on the receiving end do take it personal. (It’s human nature) I know for the most part you are giving it for the right reasons.
When working with others it’s important to always be positive. You need to look at mistakes in a positive way. (Look at them as learning opportunities) When mistakes happen – and they will happen – you need to create an environment where it’s OK to fail. You need to create a “Teachable Moment”. You need to be able to separate the act (What the person did) from the person they are. (You’re OK; it’s what you did that isn’t. I don’t want to change you I just want to change what you did wrong.) Try using the “Sandwich Technique”. Think of a sandwich that has two slices of bread (whole wheat multi-grain, lightly buttered, hold the mayo) with a slice of lean roast beef, lettuce and a tomatoes. (If you’re going to eat this sandwich it might as well be a healthy one)
Try creating a “Teachable Moment” by following this simple recipe:
- The first thing you need to do is design the right environment. Make sure you have your teachable moment in an area that is conducive to learning. A quiet boardroom, office or on the shop floor if you are going to be teaching someone how to operate a piece of equipment, etc.
- Start the conversation off by saying something positive about the person. The years of experience they have that is invaluable to the department and organization. How they contribute to the overall success of the department. The first slice of bread will help you take your emotion out of the equation. The first slice of bread will help you separate the act from the person. Remember the person is OK; it’s the act that you want them to change.
- The lean roast beef in your sandwich is what you want them to change. It’s important to let the person know that it’s not them that needs to change but what they are doing. Let them know the negative impact the “act” is having on the team, department and organization. Let the person know you are there to help them be successful. Ask them what they think are the reasons mistakes are happening and what they would recommend be done to correct the problem(s). Together, work out a course of corrective action that you both can agree on. However, it’s important that they own the plan. If it’s your plan – and it fails – then you’ve given them an excuse why it failed. If it’s their plan they are more likely to “buy-in” to the process and make it happen.
- The second slice of bread is used to bring about closure. Let the person know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following-up with them to ensure that the plan is getting the desired results. (People do what you inspect not what you expect) Always follow-up. Manage by walking around. Discipline should always be a positive learning experience. Be sure to praise performance. Let them know you are pleased with the progress they are making. “Catch people doing something right and give them a one minute praising” – Ken Blanchard – One Minute Manager.