We guard our money, property and identities from people who might steal, exploit, or take advantage of us. But we commonly allow others to seize our truly non-renewable resources: time and attention. (And time has little value without attention.)
Guard your valuables. And include attention as among the most precious.
An organization I won’t name has an effective marketing system that gets me in the door. Once I’m in though, there is no record of the appointment I made (I bring the email confirmation they sent me), and there’s total confusion when I arrive. Great system for bringing me in – failed system when I show up.
This reminds me of the importance of systems themselves. This applies to how we manage our calendars or finances, to our individual daily habits (having a consistent place for car keys…planning tomorrow’s schedule today…)
You either deliberately create systems that serve you, or ignore them altogether and hope things work out.
Aggressive: Doing what serves you with no respect for others – “We are going to THIS movie. Why do you even want to see that one?”
Passive-aggressive: Communicating in a cynical way – “Great, let’s go to THAT movie”
Assertive: Stating your beliefs or preferences while respecting others’ – “I’d love to see a movie with you, but not that one. Can we pick one we both like?”
You choose how you communicate.
Get 100 employees in a room and you’ll be hard-pressed to reach unanimous agreement on anything other than raising salaries. We’d all prefer to be paid more. There’s something else we have in common: a need to feel valued, respected, and that what we do matters. Not just in our jobs.
Some difficult people are that way because they feel unacknowledged. You strengthen any relationship by recognizing out loud that a person’s work, input, or very presence is appreciated, and that they do in fact matter.
Take a few seconds to acknowledge someone.