14 October 2009


Being succesful in business is as much about being good at managing people as it is about doing what it is we do really well. From my own experience becoming better at not only managing people but simply communicating with people is vitally important. Unfortunately most of us don’t have a lot of formal training in this area and we learn as we are going. These “touchy feely” business principles are often not given the credence they deserve but that is changing.

Many years ago I was lucky enough to work with a man who was an instinctive master of managing people. He was compassionate, encouraging, patient and supportive. At the same time he was a strong leader who naturally brought out the best in people. I was always impressed by his attitude of constant and positive encouragement for everyone around him – his staff, his suppliers, his customers – everyone. Everyone loved him and respected him. Customers came out of the woodwork to buy from him and everyone would go the extra mile to do anything for him.

In simple terms, if we want to build a succesfull business (and have a rich and rewarding life), we need to get better at interacting and communicating with other people. We need to look for the good rather than the not so good.

What are about those people who always seem to find fault, the ones who are intent on criticizing those around them? In reality this constant fault finding or “bringing down” says more about there own issues than anything else. People who are inherantly unhappy with parts of their life (or all of their life) subconsciously look for negatives in others instead of positives. How encouraging is someone in this state of mind? When you are around someone like this, understand why they are negative and it makes them easier to cope with.

So how can we be more encouraging of others? In reality it is easy – here are just a few simple ideas:

1. Start to compliment those around you for the work they are doing. Tell them they are appreciated.

2. Take some time to get to know people. Ask them about their life, their dreams and their aspirations. See how they start to radiate energy when they start talking about their passion in life.

3. Stop, think and then talk. All too often we “blurt out” words that can be really hurtful or negative to others because we don’t really think it through. It is always best to take a few seconds and consider what it is you are about to say.

4. If you need to criticize the work someone is doing for you, compliment the person first and criticize the work. In other words try something like this “Bill you are always so diligent and your attention to detail is excellent. This report you just finished has a few holes in it and I would like you to review it to bring it up to your usual high standard”. This approach is much better than – “Bill are you an idiot? This report stinks? What were you thinking? ”

5. Go out of your way to compliment people you meet in the course of your day about something they are wearing or something they have done. This might be a taxi driver, bus driver, waitress, someone helping you on the end of the telephone, the grocery store cashier – anyone. This makes you start to look for positives in people rather than automatically looking for negatives.

6. Remember a time that you were really praised by someone you have a lot of respect for. How did that make you feel? This is the feeling you want to instill in those around you as often as you.

7. Become a master of EMPATHY. Learn to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are talking to. Think about life from their perspective. Think about what issues they may have and empathize with them. It is hard to be negative when you truly look at life from another persons perspective.

I am spending much more time talking about attitude these days because I believe that it is such an important factor for success. If you can become a beacon of encouragement you will soon see many changes in your life. The more you encourage and support others the more you will be encouraged and supported by others.

Give it a go today. Make a point of being supportive and encouraging to every single person you meet today, especially those closest to you. See how your day pans out. I can guarantee that it will be a good one.

Oh, one last thing – to make this work you have to be sincere, hollow compliments don’t work. Whatever you say, mean it.

Have a sensational day.

WooHoo!!! We Won!


  1. Jean Burman says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Congratulations AG for encouraging us to encourage others. And thanks too for so often encouraging me!

    Encouragement and supportive feedback is so very difficult to glean in the fast pace of modern life. It shouldn’t be so. Everyone needs the occasional pat on the back and it’s not hard to give.

    Another great read on the topic “Be Bold – and Discover the Power of Praise” by Susan Mitchell. I’m sure you’ve read it. I found it truly life changing.

    Thanks again.

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