You may feel that you have built up good relationships with the people around you, but too often managers work with a very superficial level of understanding. We often pat ourselves on the back if we manage to remember the names of our colleague’s partner and children, or that they like to go skiing on their holidays.
However, do you really know what makes them tick? Try this for a moment – think about a colleague that you know well, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is their number one driver – the one value above all others that gets them out of bed in the morning?
- What do they hate most in others – what behaviour do they find intolerable?
- What compliment to them would they find the most meaningful?
- If they suddenly had a spare day, how would they spend it?
People’s values and drivers are core to their personality and influence how they make decisions in every situation. If you really know someone, then you will understand and appreciate these about them. You will understand how they differ from your own values at a deep level, and you will value these differences.
So if you want to get to know the people around you that little bit better, try adding this one simple question to your conversation: … and what’s important to you about [that]? To personalise the question, then instead of saying “that”, insert a word or phrase that they have just used. Then listen. Really listen. You can even ask the question again, using the reply to the previous question instead of “that”.
You may be surprised at what you learn, and the people around you will appreciate you taking the trouble to find out what matters to them.