What if you were paid not by your own performance, but by how well and how diligently you encouraged and treated your co-workers? This doesn’t automatically sound like something we’d enjoy doing or even thinking about, but doing so will make you look at your life and your business in a powerful new way.
Take a moment and think about why it’s important. An excellent outcome is that it builds unity within your organization, creating that well-oiled machine everyone wants to be part of. When you treat your co-workers with the respect of one of your best clients, you’re building a relationship that serves everyone. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses the metaphor of the Emotional Bank Account to describe “the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship”. That trust is built on expressed appreciation and respect.
It’s challenging to do this because we’re not robots who think and act the same way. Everyone has a different view of deadlines, how to handle stress, how to manage their time, and so on. Learn to view the differences as a good thing. For instance, no two voices are identical. Consider the TV commercials where we don’t see the celebrities, but we hear their voices. You instantly recognize them. If everyone, knew your specific accomplishments and challenges on a regular basis and gave the appropriate encouragement, you’d feel appreciated and understood, “instantly recognized”. Instead of just expecting everyone to start doing that for you, spend a few minutes thinking about how well you know what your co-workers are doing, what projects they’re working on, what their successes and challenges might be. Based on that information, see if you’re treating them like your best client. Then, take the following steps:
- View everyone as a team member. It really doesn’t matter what their position is, they ARE part of the team. Treat them that way. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” Really talk to and especially listen to your co-workers so you can be specific and encouraging when you respond. If you don’t understand what they’re saying, ask for clarification.
- Always be sincere and respectful. Within the concept of treating co-workers like your best client, your job is to make them look good and succeed. Don’t be afraid to give them the credit they deserve. Our clients know when we’re sincere and so do our co-workers.
- Preface concerns and counsel with something positive. This is a great atmosphere in which to practice tact. If you’re willing to look, you will find something positive about every co-worker, just as you do with your best client. Start looking. When issues come up (and they will), find a way to apply the counsel given over 4,000 years ago by King Akhtoi of Egypt to his son: “Be diplomatic. It will help you gain your point.”
When you practice treating co-workers as your best client, who wins? Everyone! The benefits are amazing. You’ve contributed to an atmosphere that builds confidence in others’ abilities. Those same individual contributions translate to a stronger company, more capable of adapting to changes in today’s economy and environment. You and everyone else come to work feeling inspired and looking for success. It increases performance and directly affects the company’s bottom line. And finally, as the old adage says “What goes around comes around.”
Treat your co-workers like your best client and see how well you get paid.