... What Extraordinary People Say Each Day
Say something, everyday, to change someone's day for the better
Jeff Haden (@jeff_haden) pulled together a list of things which he felt extraordinary people said each day, which had the power to dramatically change someone's day, including your own. This isn't a formula you can follow, a tick list to work down, because it’s about you being authentic to who you are, being your best self, all of the time. When we acknowledge our humanity it’s attractive, people want to be around us. However, there are some habits you can get into, things which you can try to say every day.
“Here’s what I’m thinking”– you’re in charge but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements & decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic not position or authority. Through taking the time to explain your decisions, opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, but it also opens up your decisions to improvement.
“I was wrong”– hopefully not one you’ll use every day. When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect, you’ll gain it.
“That was fantastic”– No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone – anyone – who does or did something well and tell them what a great job they did. And just like with the pupils in my school, make sure your praise is specific, so they know what you liked and so will do it again. This might be tied in to values you want to see lived out more, or a task well done, or a deadline kept. You might want to keep a record of it (but don’t tell anyone!) to make sure you don't miss anyone. You can use cards, emails, post-it notes, books, small gifts, public affirmation. “The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace” by Gary Chapman (@drgarychapman) and Paul White is a fantastic book in this regard. We don't all respond in the same way to the 5 main languages (words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, tangible gifts, acts of service) so working out what your colleagues respond most to is important.
“You’re welcome”– Think about a time when you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right? The same can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment for the other person, just look them in the eye and say “thank you” or “you’re welcome, I was glad to do it”. I attended a talk on leadership given by General the Lord Dannatt, in the Tower of London. The vote of thanks was particularly gushing & for a brief moment you could tell he felt uncomfortable about it, but then he regained his composure, smiled & gave a genuine but simple "Thank You".
“Can you help me?”– When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need, or the person you need it from, just say sincerely & humbly, ‘Can you help me?’. I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, & a willingness to listen – the qualities of a great leader and a great friend.
“I’m sorry”– We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologise for. Say you’re sorry. But never follow it with a disclaimer like ‘but I was really mad, because...’ or ‘but I did think you were..’. Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. Then you can both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.
“Let me give you a hand”– Many people see asking for help as a weakness, and so hesitate to ask. Don’t just say “Is there anything I can help you with?” as most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” which we say when approached by a sales assistant in a shop. Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?”. Model the behavior you want your colleagues to display. Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.
“Nothing”– Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may thinking venting will make you feel better, but it never does. You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on a colleague’s self-esteem.