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Daily Leadership Thought #148 – A Little Courtesy Goes A Long Way

June 7, 2011

Free Business People Shaking Hand in a Conference Room Stock Photo

On any given day, the average person interacts with dozens of people.  Many times, these are only brief encounters with little substance.  It is easy to stop paying attention to how you are coming across and to stop making the extra effort to be polite and courteous.  However, life is built on these small conversationsYou are going through life gaining friends and allies, or you are not.  You never know when you will need a helping hand or advocate.

It is always best to try and spread a little sunshine in some else’s day.   This can be as simple as being courteous and respectful, especially because so many people are not.   Believe it or not, people like it when you remember their names.   You can make someone’s day just by saying “hello,” offering a smile, or holding the door open.

I am regularly surprised by how many people go out of their way to be rude or oblivious to the feelings of others.   They trudge through their interactions demanding respect or worse, acting as if the other person does not even matter.  Yet these same people are hypersensitive to this treatment when they receive it themselves.  You wonder how they go about life and consistently miss the social cues.  Maybe, they just don’t care.

No one is ever successful or genuinely happy alone.  We need other people to take the journey with us.  Our family, friends and colleagues are our support network, and we all need to feel supported.  Either this network will grow or shrink based on our behaviors and attitude.  Every day is a chance to make a positive difference in someone else’s life; it really isn’t as hard as it sounds.

I still believe that acting in a friendly fashion gives you a boost in business and in life.  Just taking the time to acknowledge people in a subtle way may make a difference for them and for you.  It is depressing how few people smile and say “hello” when you cross paths with them.  Every day you get to choose to make the world a little brighter or darker based on your attitude and actions.

Most everything you need or do will require coming into some level of contact with another person.   Anyone who aspires to a management or leadership position has no choice but to work on building productive relationships with their fellow employees.  In addition, there is no business model that is devoid of customers, so you need to figure out how to serve others and make them feel satisfied with the experience.

Life goes much more smoothly if you view part of the journey as building positive relationships along the way.  This doesn’t mean everyone becomes a close friend, but you can certainly leave most people with a positive feeling about their experience of you.  You will also meet people with whom you do not connect for some reason and instead of succumbing to a negative energy when this happens, choose to take the high ground, and exit the interaction gracefully.

Thankfully, we all have friendly people in our lives.  You know, they are the type of individual who just makes it easy and enjoyable to be around them.   They effortlessly seem to make us feel good about ourselves and our relationship with them.   They tend to be positive and optimistic people.  Imagine how much different the world would be if more of us followed their lead.  A little courtesy still goes a long way in human relationships.