Sorry to break this to you, but the people you work with — your staff, your vendors, your colleagues… your clients — they are talking about you after work with their family members and friends. It’s just one of those facts of life.
You know how that conversation goes:
“How was your day today, honey?” asks your colleague’s spouse.
To which your colleague replies, “Oh man, I work with this one person who is such a…”
Such a what? What is your colleague saying about you? That you are such a talented genius? That you are such a person of integrity? Such an enjoyable person to work with?
Or perhaps the conversation is taking a different turn… Such an idiot? Such a terrible decision maker? Such a self-serving jerk?
You know this conversation well because, let’s face it – you are having the same kind of dinner table conversation at home with your family, about your colleagues.
This social ritual is as old as the hills; it cannot be stopped. And if you are reading this and starting to wonder what your colleagues, clients, staff and vendors might really be saying about you, take heart: You can actually change other peoples’ dinner conversations!
Table Talk You can be Proud Of
The way you treat the people you work with ripples way out to their dinner table conversations and ricochets right back into your reputation and ability to lead and run your business successfully.
Sure, the obvious people skills of generosity, kindness, and respect will help. But the one mega change you can make is simply this: Rid your communications of any and all blame and criticism.
I know, I know, you aren’t the whining, blaming sort. You always own up and take the high road. But is that 100% true? I challenge you to look in the mirror, to study your words and attitudes for the next week, to listen to yourself talk, to assess your responses to others… a little truth-telling self examination can go a long way.
If you pass the examination and find yourself to be a non-blamer… congratulations, you may be the first person on the planet to achieve such a state!
We all blame, we all criticize. We blame politicians, football coaches, slow-pokey drivers, parents, kids, pets, UPS, the weather… for some, it’s actually become a hobby. Just sit in any coffee shop and eavesdrop on the nearest cell phone conversation. “I told him that would happen. He never listens to me.” Or, “Yah, that’s our government at work for you…” (All spoken in huffy, sarcastic tones.)
Or check your Facebook feed: status updates are riddled with blame and criticism!
Guess what? If you are a blamer, you are absolutely eroding the trust people have in you. If you are quick to blame and criticize others, how do I know you aren’t speaking the same way about me when I’m not around? If I have to wonder what you might say about me… my trust in you is diminished. Our teamwork is compromised.
If you show yourself to be someone who goes straight to the person you are having an issue with, to have a civil, direct conversation to iron things out… whoa, that is the mega trust builder of them all. That takes guts and enormous courage. We all know where we stand with you and that you won’t be talking about us behind our backs. We want you on our team!
When people fully trust you – they speak highly of you around the dinner table. And they are eager to work cooperatively with you to get the job done.