If experience teaches us anything, it’s that you can’t change people. This is especially apparent in the workplace where we often work with people with different personalities, backgrounds, and goals.
While you might not be able to change people, you can influence them. Where logic and facts fail, we can affect change by understanding how people tick below the surface. Simple changes in your behaviour and actions can have surprising impacts on others.
Don’t have a great relationship with a co-worker, but it would make your life so much easier if you did? Ask them to do you a small favour that is simple for them to do. If we do something nice for someone, our brain convinces us that we must like that person because why else would we do it?
Want people to be excited about an upcoming change? Make sure that you look happy and excited whenever you talk about it. Humans mirror the emotions of those around them. If we see someone else smiling, we smile. If we sense someone is worried or upset, we start feeling the same. Also, when we are uncertain about something, we look to what other people are doing. If you are confidently discussing how good a change will be, people are likely to follow suit.
Need to have a difficult conversation with someone and are worried things might get tense? When you sit down, sit beside them, not across from them. It’s easier to be angry at someone the farther away they are, especially when there is a physical barrier like a table. Not only does being close make it harder to be angry, but it also creates a sense of being on the same team. Sitting besides someone says we’re in this together.
Want to build stronger relationships and make people feel appreciated? Ask a question. And then another one. Not only does asking questions make you look interested and engaged, people feel like you’ve chosen them because of their knowledge and expertise.
Skill development is an important aspect of any job. Increasing your understanding of human behaviour and improving your people skills will not only impact your success at work, but your life as well.
A Team Human Conversation
Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.
- Think of someone you've had difficulty working with in the past, what made it hard?
- Think of someone you've enjoyed working with in the past, what made it easy?
- What "people" skill (communication, relationship building, etc.) would you like to improve? Why?