Like most folks, you probably did not realize just how important that first year of school was and why would you, as you were a five-year-old with limited life skills. But, as Robert Fulghum, author of ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ proclaims, we really were all taught some critical life skills – like how to get along.
Sometimes I wonder if some people skipped Kindergarten, or were napping through the ‘how to get along with others’ lessons, or were too distracted with anything else going on at that time. If you did not pick up on the fundamental getting-along-with-others skills you missed, let’s review a few examples of how you can teach yourself, and learn the lessons that passed you by in Kindergarten.
Have you ever stopped to consider how you actually meet people? How you have maintained the friendships and relationships you have made? Chances are, you learned these skills a long time ago from both your parents and primary school teachers, yet you were blissfully unaware of the fact you were developing these abilities.
There are fundamental elements associated with how to get along well with others, but sometimes people either forget them, or, perhaps they did not learn them well. If you have ever wondered why some people seem to be gifted with being able to get along with others, I will let you in on a little secret. It is really not that hard to do, but you will have to make a genuine effort.
Most humans have a pretty well-developed fraud meter, and can easily tell when someone is not being sincere. We have all encountered people like this. It is uncomfortable to be around them, but I also feel sad for these phony baloneys. Why? Because they are unaware of how they are perceived, and likely wonder why they do not have many genuine friends.
Have you heard of the expression “Play nice in the sandbox?” This is one of the fundamental elements associated with getting along with others, and consists of being polite and respectful of others. Savvy senior executives know that if they don’t follow the simple lessons they learned in Kindergarten, they risk getting thrown out of the sandbox.
People who have not been taught manners and the reasons they should be respectful to others, run the risk of doing something wrong in their quest to get along. So, if you happen to be one of these people, or know someone who seemed to miss the fundamental building blocks to learn how to get along with others, here are a few tips to get you started, or back on track.
- When you meet someone, ask how they are doing, and really pay attention to how they answer. Most people will be polite and give you a brief response, but this will give you the leverage to advance the conversation.
- Given the chance, and if time permits, ask the person, where they grew up, and what led them to where they are today, either professionally or personally. People love to talk about themselves, so leverage this opportunity. I am always amazed by the fact that once I get someone talking, they may not realize they have not asked me any questions. This is OK, but it also points out they have not fully developed their ‘getting along’ skills.
- Ask the person you are interacting with if you can help them in some way, especially if you are their colleague. They may not take you up on your offer, but if you start asking with what they are challenged right now, you can seize on the opportunity to tell them how you may be able to help. When you assist someone professionally, even if it is something as simple as making an introduction, they are more appreciative of this than you might imagine. Why? Because this is an example of being genuine, and you come across as being sincere.
- Do something nice for the person you have met, or the people you work with or are getting to know. It does not have to mean you go out and buy them something extravagant. It could be that you share an article or YouTube video with them related to the work you are doing. Don’t just do this once, send them a couple of them over the course of a few weeks. Just don’t overdo and be thought a stalker! There are plenty of other examples of what else you can do which are nice gestures. The point is to be creative and do something for others that demonstrates how you are a genuinely nice person. This makes you more approachable and likeable.
- Consider meeting people an opportunity to see the ‘diamond’ beneath the surface. Don’t get caught up thinking you need to be best friends with everyone. You do not, but at the same time, look at every encounter a chance to uncover another layer of your co-worker’s personality. You will find that most people with whom you work are incredibly interesting, gifted in their own way, and have a great deal to offer.
The bottom line is that you simply need to invest time in learning how to get along with others. Doing this is one of the most important skills to have in order to increase your future career options, and have access to an incredible network of fascinating people, some of whom you will cherish having in your life.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcement: My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift for upcoming college graduates, but it is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers, as the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best.