I’ve shared why the life skill of getting along with other people is such a necessity to succeed in anything of importance. To get where you want to be in life will ultimately require the help of someone else.
The best place to learn this life skill is in the home. Unfortunately, many didn’t have a good example of this in their home while growing up. If you feel you got short-changed on practical training in this area, here are five ways you can become better at your people skills.
- Work harder at trying to understand rather than being understood. Whether you end up fully agreeing or not, at least try to understand why a person believes or feels as they do. In doing so, you not only show respect, but you also develop empathy which is focused on another instead of only on yourself and what you think. Trying to understand brings people together; trying to be understood makes things very one-sided.
Look for the win/win solution to every challenge. People who care for other people and want to get along don’t want to win at the expense of another. There is almost always an option that allows both to win. And, if not, put the other’s needs first.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
- If you want to be interesting, be interested. Ever been around someone who couldn’t stop talking about himself? I don’t care how interesting it may start off, it soon gets boring. It’s worse than watching someone else’s family movies.
You will quickly become a favorite of most people if you get the reputation of being interested in them. I’m not talking about manipulative flattery. Being genuinely interested. And you can’t fake this. It emanates from a sincere love for people.
It’s a fundamental principle of selling. “Me, me, me is dull, dull, dull.” The best sales people in the world are more interested in serving the needs of the customer. Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough others get what they want.” It starts with being interested, not interesting.
Recognize the efforts of others. Recognition is the strongest motivator. Learn to acknowledge and celebrate a job well done by another. Publicly give credit where credit is due. Write thank you notes to others who’ve helped you out in any way—and handwrite them. Old school is still best in many ways.
Be willing to work things out. If you don’t care enough about others to clear the air or work on a relationship, it’ll show and people won’t want to have anything to do with you. If you hurt another or mess something up—even inadvertently—apologize and make it right.
Remember, these are all simple applications of the granddaddy of all interpersonal skills, The Golden Rule—treat others the way you want to be treated. Be others-minded—relate to others and their needs as if you were them.
Question: What has helped you become better at getting along with others? Share your answer in the comments below.