How do you increase your success with others?
Many of us have learned what does and doesn't work about interpersonal relationships through trial and error.
Sometimes, these lessons learned make great stories of our shortcomings in dealing with others. And the funny thing is, we're still learning.
It's a never ending process not a destination. Thankfully, training increases our awareness, exposes us to new techniques, and gives us some tools to be more effective in real-life situations.
One of the most helpful things I've ever learned was this: Keep in mind that everyone is always tuned into their own favorite radio station: WIIFM. What's In It For Me? People naturally evaluate their choices based upon that basic question. The answer to WIIFM is what motivates them to act or not act. Sometimes the answers appear altruistic (e.g. "I'll help this person" a.k.a., "I get to be a giver or helper"), but the question stays the same.
You'll be more successful with others, if you know that people ask this question (consciously or subconsciously) when faced with a choice, and then you anticipate what you think that answers might be. Again, you're guessing their answers based upon values, assumptions, and perceptions that may or may not be true for others. If you're a good guesser, you may be able to answer the question for the person and influence him or her to act in a certain way or make a particular choice.
For example, "if you get this project done on time (desired action), you'll get a bonus (what's in it for them)." Now, let's admit the truth: many times we guess wrong about what people care about because we answer the question based on what motivates us or we "think" we know about the person, or what someone told us that isn't true. What you won't necessarily know is that a project manager doesn't care as much about a bonus as he or she does about free time. You may still get the result you want, but not because you correctly guessed why.
If you understand this very human response, you'll realize what influences people's behavior: However, you still only know the question. The answers can be quite complex and confusing at times.
The best way to find out is to simply ask others what motivates them. That way, you're not guessing. And showing interest in their needs, cares, and concerns, is just another way to increase your success with others.
Check out our Leadership series, "Increasing Your Success with Others" in six, half-day sessions starting June 30.