When transitioning from my former career as a stand-up comic into my new one as “The Reinvention Guy,” I realized that one of the things that had been holding me back from accomplishing my goals was the desperation of wanting success too badly. I swore that once I transformed myself, I would do my best to get rid of it (the desperation)!
Sure, I would still have tenacity. But I would pull back more, give people a chance to get to know me, and not be a jackhammer in trying to land engagements.
Like me, there’s a good chance that the little flaw that is holding you back has to do with the way you communicate with people. In general, correcting that flaw is a matter of withholding judgment about them and trying to see where they are coming from.
It Begins With Mutual Respect
Let’s start with this: If I asked the people you work with what kind of person you are, what would they say?
Would they say that you are friendly, hardworking, and dedicated?
Would they say that you are easy to work with?
Your co-workers and bosses will put up with a wide range of behaviors from you, just as you do with them. But one thing they won’t put up with for long is disrespect! I know this might be common sense – but just as they have to earn your respect, you must earn theirs. That means getting to know them – and getting rid of any preconceived notions you may have about them.
Dr. Todd Kashdan, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at George Mason University, says lack of curiosity is a breeding ground for stereotyping and discrimination, ignorance, rigid conformity, inflated confidence, and dogmatism.
No matter how unprejudiced we think we are, we all tend to make assumptions about people who are different from us. It’s human nature. But you must rise above this if you are to communicate with others effectively.
Getting in the Mood
Could the people you work with say that you are prone to wild mood swings? If so, that’s something you have to learn to control.
Here are three things you can do:
- Notice your mood swings. Go off by yourself while you work through your problems. (Have your own personal “time out.”)
- If you go off on someone, apologize. As much as you may think the opposite, apologizing isn’t a sign of weakness on your part. It’s a sign of respect.
- If you are having serious emotional issues, get help from a counselor.
The Invisible Co-Worker
There’s a great episode of the old Twilight Zone television series where a guy was sentenced to be invisible for one year. A mark was put on his forehead and no one was allowed to speak to him or acknowledge he existed. Naturally, he went crazy.
Are you treating any of your co-workers in this fashion? Could you be disrespecting these people by NOT acknowledging them at all?
Doing so makes them feel unappreciated – like their contributions to the business aren’t important. But these are people who affect your own job security. They’re the grease that keeps the engine of the company you work for running.
Here’s what you can do to “see” them:
- This may sound like a no-brainer, but it truly is the little things you do that get noticed. One of the most important things you can do is to say hello to others as you walk down the hall or past their offices.
- Regardless of the size of your company, try your best to actually learn and address everyone by their first names.
As Dale Carnegie said, “If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”
- Smile at people, shake their hands, and introduce them to others. I guarantee you they will not feel invisible after that.
- Surprise them. I have an assistant who is handling a lot of tasks and assignments for me. She recently sent me an invoice for her services. I paid her immediately (which I always do), and I added a bonus. She sent me a heartfelt thank you, telling me her other clients never do what I did… and that they could learn something from me about how to treat people who work for them.
Think my assistant isn’t always going to go the extra yard for me?
Take-Away Tip: Really examine how you communicate with your co-workers.
- Do you treat them with respect?
- Do you treat them fairly?
- Do you make an effort to implement their ideas?
- Do you make it clear that you value their input?
No matter where you are in your career, the advice I gave you today can help you get a little further toward achieving your long-term goals. And I’d love for you to let me know how it did via my blog: http://www.peterfogel.com/reinventyourselfnow/[Ed. Note: The above article was adapted from Peter “The Reinvention Guy” Fogel’s new book, Reboot Your Career: 27 Ways to Reinvent Yourself in the Workplace (If You Still have a Job!).
Before Peter reinvented himself from a successful stand-up comic into an in-demand speaker, freelance advertising copywriter/problem solver, he worked on many TV shows, including Married With Children, Hope and Faith, and Whoopi.
He is the author of the critically acclaimed book If Not Now… Then When?: Stories and Strategies of People Over 40 Who Have Successfully Reinvented Themselves.
Sign up for his FREE Reinvent This! E-zine and get his 4-in-1 Total Success Reinvention Package (a $75 value). Go to www.reinventyourselfnow.com/book-special0606.htm.
If you’re interested in public speaking, please sign up for Peter’s FREE 7 Days to MORE Effective Public Speaking e-course (a $125 value) and get FREE Mp3 downloads at www.publicspeaklikeapro.com.]