It’s Not All About You!
Developing, growing and ‘improving’ ourselves is important but it’s not all about you!
What is also important is what you think of other people, especially in your relationships at work. Thinking positively about others and building relationships and trust is important, it makes us feel connected and ourselves. Research shows there is also a clear link between putting you aside, building positive relationships with trust and business performance.
Paul J Zak has spent years researching this link and has found, (as reported in HBR): ’’Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.’’
His research has also found that when we start to trust someone, oxytocin is released in the brain. So called a ‘sociable’ chemical, it increases empathy, a useful trait when trying to work with others. It has an impact on motivation, energy and positive culture.
Instead of asking ourselves ‘how can I improve?’
Maybe we should ask ourselves: ‘how can I see the best in others, show people I like them and build trust?’
From our own research we know that 80% of our clients have a personal value around kindness, so building trust amongst co-workers should be easy? Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others, but don’t always.
What stops us?
Our habitual ways of experiencing and processing information can really get in the way:
Malcom Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, talks about how we ‘thin slice’ and make judgements and decisions on small amounts of data and experience. We filter the world based on our point of view – does it fit with my beliefs and values or not? If the answer is not – we can dismiss it – making us judgemental of others stopping us being truly open.
Then there is how we communicate, now more often than not, by email. Without all of the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication, we can interpret the tone of emails differently to how they were intended and according to Psychology Today, we tend towards the negative.
”If the message is ambiguous, many people will automatically read the most negative emotions and intentions into it.”
We also make inferences about people and their intentions when our emails don’t get a response.
Stress can inhibit that sociable chemical oxytocin, this explains why often when we are stressed we can avoid interaction with others.
- Practise being open, remove your gates and guards, and let people in.
- Be less defensive about your own ideas and opinions; ask others how to make them even better.
- Share information about yourself. A google study found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.
- Embrace difference. Remember that we are all unique and others are not like you so stop expecting them to be!
- Be curious, what can I learn from this situation or others’ ideas?
- Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things, maybe one per week e.g. listen to a different style of music, read a different source of news, broaden your experience.
- Manage your emotional response and take accountability for your mood – don’t give your power away.
The minute you are the heart-based, real you, you’ll automatically be less self-conscious and will naturally maximise your focus on others.