Most of us want to be. Some of us think we are. Others fear they never will be.
In an interesting brief by Stephen Strasser, I came across a very clear message. If you want to be successful, first check yourself.
He identifies four characteristics that will help with relationships - the essence of success.
Empathy: Do you express to others a sense of understanding and compassion? A big part of this characteristic is being a good listener... to your donors, prospects and your employees or boss.
Liz came to me with a frustration about her job. After listening quietly, showing through patience and open body language, her boss said, "What are you going to do about this, and how can I help you get the solution you want?
Humor: Being able to laugh at yourself and to take responsibility for your mistakes. But this is a positive solution and can't be sarcastic.
Bill, a long-time board member, came to the Harry, the executive director, after a long lecture at the recent board meeting and said, "Well, I really threw an ice-pack on a good discussion at the board meeting, didn't I? Guess I haven't learned that there is a time to make a speech and a time to ask a question. I do that too often. I'll try to keep on point and not monopolize the conversations."
Courtesy: Common courtesy builds good relationships and gives people a positive impression of you. Ordinary courteous actions let others know you are thinking of them and not yourself.
George is a successful business person in our community and always agrees to host a table at our fund raisers. He asks to be seated with any of our new prospects or donors so he can get to know them better. And he's great at it. He reports all manner of information about them that he learns over casual dinner conversation. And I've learned that they never even realize what he does or that he is as successful as he is. They tell me he's the nicest host they've ever had."
Building trust: You know this one - never breach confidence, be honest, demonstrate that you have their self-interest in mind. Words won't do it. Only your actions count.
Greta, the executive director, felt that building a team in her small office meant that she was involved in everything. Her intentions were good, so when she dropped in on meetings her three other staff members had, she thought she was helping. Imagine her surprise when she learned that her team thought she was checking on them, or thought they might say the wrong thing, or just wanted to know exactly what had happened. Apparently the message she was sending was that the boss didn't trust her employees.
If you want to be successful, check yourself first. It's a good place to start!
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