Lead Well: 8 Ways to Sharpen Our People Focus

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. [Proverbs 27:17]
Everyday we interact with others. Everyday how we deal with these interactions can help us win friends and influence people. Or maybe not.

Some people seem to be naturally gifted in building relationships, handling confrontation, harnessing the opportunities that new encounters can bring. Some of us aren’t. Instead we focus more on ourselves, our interests, our point of view, our growth and our need for affirmation.

To lead well in life is to turn the focus from ourselves on to other people. To intentionally think of them. To take responsibility for playing our part which in reality is the only part we can take responsibility for.

Smile. Costs nothing to give.

Remember names. Who enjoys being called by the wrong one.

Speak words of encouragement. Specific words show we have noticed something someone has done well.

Believe the best of people. This is the difference when we focus on others and not ourselves. We can be too keen to protect our own position because we believe in us more than others.

Recognise the power of having the right people around you. People can work with you, help you to grow, stop you from making mistakes, and keep you on track with all you want to accomplish.

Pass on what you know to someone. Help others to grow. Pour into another what you have had poured into you.

The best of relationships take time and effort. Building anything takes time and great relationships are no different. Don’t compare the depth of your friendships with people with the ones they have with others. Just be a friend, serving and loving them the best you can.

Help people to know you better. It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

When we focus on these things we sharpen others. We make them better. We brighten their countenance. We lift them. We put a smile on their face. We put a spring in their step. We become someone known as someone who is all about helping others to flourish. 

The alternative is way too selfish and doesn’t bear thinking about.

How do you sharpen your people focus?

3 Things to Remember About the Words We Say

We say it. They hear it.

We move on from it. They get stuck in it.

We’ve forgotten what we said. They can’t forget what we said.

We need to be better at realising the power of ALL the words that we speak, the well thought out ones alongside the not so well thought out ones. ALL are powerful. ALL have influence.

We can argue that it’s not our fault that they hear it wrong and maybe there is some truth in that. However, we can play a more proactive role and possibly do more to ensure that people understand us. We have to help them know what we meant and decrease the potential for us inadvertently making someone feel worse or to cause a comment to stick at the forefront of a persons mind, lingering and festering there, leading them to think things we didn’t really mean.

It happens.

We say something to someone and (hopefully) expect them to get it. They might, they might not. It may bounce off them or it may go in. We feel better for having shared, yet they feel worse for having heard. We don’t think anything of it, they can’t stop thinking about it. At least we’ve got it off our chest, by throwing it all over their head!

Words are a challenge and we must be careful. So much presumption of understanding. So much misunderstanding. So much held on to and replayed, over and over again.

3 things to remember, to remind ourselves of…

  1. Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be said. If we are honest, most opinions should never be shared. A lot of our thoughts should remain just that, a thought. This goes for posting on social media too.
  2. Never assume that those listening get the meaning of what is being said. What we say and what others hear do not always match. Presumption can be a killer. Plus no one should want to think that they have upset someone through blurting out some unfiltered thoughts.
  3. Ask yourself whether what you are saying is believing the best or the worst of the person, or the situation. If it is not believing the best, come up with a different way of saying it. Pause. Consider. Then speak.

I am not an expert at this. I get it right and I get it wrong. One thing I am determined to do is put as much effort in as possible to getting it right more often than not. Hopefully I’m improving. How about you?

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Leaders Must Learn to Understand People

I am no expert at this. Like most people, I am on the journey of learning how to win with people.

Here’s one thing I have been reminded of recently…

It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

In response to this, perhaps all of us at some point have been guilty of just making it the other persons issue. If they don’t get me, well tough. This is me, like it or lump it.

Really? I have learned to slap myself when I think that way. To be successful with people is not the other persons responsibility, it is mine. I have to make the effort. If I think someone doesn’t like me then I have to take responsibility and discover why. How is it that they don’t ‘get me?’

I cannot afford to continually live in ignorance. I have to consciously make the effort to win with others. To consider their viewpoint, to place myself in their shoes, to take time and help them to understand me, to know me better.

Next time someone we find ourselves in ‘one of those’ conversations where it just seems that the other person isn’t on the same page as you, lets take a moment and become a winner by helping them understand what we mean, to apologise for any confusion and do all we can to help move things forward.

We won’t always get it right but better to try and fail than to never even bother. Improve your ability to understand people and you just might change your world.

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Reading this book once again and loving the powerfulness and the simplicity of the ideas Dale Carnegie promotes that can help us in our relationship with others.

Yet, despite their simplicity it’s a shame that an awful lot of people just ignore them.

We can be too quick to complain, too quick to criticise, too quick to condemn. We make circumstances about ourselves, our emotions kick in and out natural defensiveness comes to the fore. We don’t always like taking responsibility for the way things have gone or the responsibility to handle everything and make some necessary changes ourselves. After all, it’s never our fault.

Reminded that we all know people that we want to change, regulate and improve. However, the most important person to start with is the one we see in the mirror every day. I have to stop wanting everyone else to change while being unwilling to do so myself.

Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean [Confucious]

More importantly for me are the words of Jesus ~ ‘Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’.

This is a good reminder for me. I don’t always get it right but I’m working on it. How about you?

Winning With People

Everyday we interact with others.
Everyday how we deal with these interactions can help us win friends and influence people. Or maybe not.

Some people seem to be naturally gifted in building relationships, handling confrontation, harnessing the opportunities that new encounters can bring. Some of us aren’t.

Naturally I am not a ‘people person’. I have had to work on this discipline. If I’m honest I’ve probably got it wrong more times than I’ve got it right – but I’m always willing to learn. 2 books really helped me in this – Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ and John Maxwell’s ‘Winning with People.’

I am true believer that even the non-gifted in areas like this can develop the their people skills and improve opportunities for success in handling all types of relationship. Wise people gain more wisdom at every opportunity – especially when its FREE. Make the investment. You may pick up a nugget or two that could change your life forever (if that’s not too dramatic).

Take responsibility for your people skills & sign up today HERE

Integrity: The People Facet

Leaders need followers. It is a simple fact and it’s not a new one. The challenge is how to become a leader that people want to follow. Lots of focus on stuff like…

Charisma
Vision
Passion
Stability
Compassion

Saying that integrity attracts people is like telling you the sky is blue. It’s so obvious, that maybe sometimes we forget. Or do we ignore it because it’s not as flashy, not as much fun, not as up-front.

Winning with people is an essential leadership quality. Building your integrity is a part of that process. The challenge is that it takes time. Lots of time and therein lies the problem. Integrity is a slow process but the most worthwhile process if you can stay the course.

If integrity is the diamond in a leaders crown then it should be sought like the precious jewel that it is. There is no integrity shortcut. In fact, driving your leadership journey without integrity will have the leadership ‘satnav’ shouting out at you ‘at the first opportunity please turn around – make that U-TURN!’

Are you struggling to keep your team behind you? Check your integrity…can you say yes to the following:

I do what I say I will do.
I follow up on those things I say I will follow up.
My word is trustworthy.
I don’t ask anyone to do something I am not prepared to do myself.
I am the same at home as I am when I am with the team.
I am honest.
I always do my best to put myself in the others persons position so I can fully understand.
If I make mistakes I am the first to admit them.
I will do whatever it takes to hold on to my integrity.
I know that I don’t know everything and take every opportunity to learn from others.

What are your thoughts on integrity and winning with people?