Not how you want to be treated!
As a kid I remember being told to “treat others the way you want to be treated”. I would hear “Shelley, you wouldn’t like it if someone did that to you so don’t do it to them ok”. Sure, that’s great advice, in the context of the playground…but as adults I’ve become really annoyed with it!
You see, if you treat me the way you want to be treated there’s a good chance you’ll annoy me in some way. Not at first perhaps but definitely over time.
Why? Because I’m not you, I don’t think like you, my values aren’t the same (similar perhaps but not exactly the same) and how I communicate is likely to be different.
So by treating me the way you want to be treated assumes we are the same…and…we’re not! We’re all very different. We are who we are today because of so many variables: the house you grew up in; your siblings; how your parents raised you; the impact of your teachers; the influence of your friends; your experiences and what you made them mean; and, so so many other things.
Our perspectives are all so different, which is why the approach of treat others the way YOU want to be treated may not be working that well for you right now.
So how do we treat others the way THEY want to be treated? Well even though we’re all vastly different there are some common themes or certain things you may observe in others.
To do this well you need to increase your awareness. Start paying attention to things you may have ignored up to this point. And when you notice these things start to copy them. Not in a creepy or overly subtle way and not in a way that takes you away from being authentically you. Just a few minor tweaks to how you’re communicating…and remembering that the words we use are only 7% of what makes up communication so you want to also be focusing on physiology and body language.
Where to start? Well, a few of the things you may start to notice when talking to someone include:
- Information level.Do they have a preference for communicating in the ‘big picture’ or the ‘detail’. Are they giving you an overall snapshot (e.g. the forest) or are they focused on the finer points (e.g. the leaves on the trees)?
- Task or people. Are they more focused on the task at hand and approaching things logically or do they gravitate to relationships and connecting with people?
- Energy levels.Are they fast-paced and full of enthusiasm or are they moderate-paced and calm?
- Responding to questions. Are they direct or sociable or patient or skeptical?
- What is their body language telling you? Do they use a lot of hand gestures and move around a lot or are they quite still with minimal movement?
When you pay attention to these things your awareness increases, both of yourself and of others. And when your awareness increases you can start to see how interactions play out at the unconscious level.
From there it’s just a matter of adapting your style. Trying communicating in the way the other person does. Even if it feels a little awkward to begin with you will soon get the hang of it.
If you want to become an influential leader then treating others the way THEY want to be treated is a great place to start.
On a side note…If you like diagnostics and tools to learn then one of the best tools I use is called DiSC. DISC is a behaviour assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different traits which are currently Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C).
If you haven’t done an assessment in the past and would like to complete one, or learn more about it, let me know and I can arrange a time to chat.
Remember that leadership is now about influence, not control. In order to influence the people around you the communication must be easy.
Need help? Give me a call!
Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating efficient and sustainable team environments through adaptable leadership.She is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Mentor and Speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.
If you’d like to know more about her latest programs please drop her an email firstname.lastname@example.org.