Sometimes we are really blinkered when we enter the office in the morning. We are totally focussed and concentrated on our own to-do-list, our tasks for the day, orders from the bosses, on our aims and on everything we want to achieve. In doing so we do not see the interests of our colleagues and employees. But those interests are crucial for being a successful leader. Therefore we ask you to give others’ interests your best attention in the upcoming week.
In life in general and in working life in particular everybody follows his own interests, aims and intentions. That’s just how it is. These can be:
- Personal or professional interests
- Obvious and intended interests or subconscious needs
Plain talking: The aim to be promoted soon. The aim that your department becomes the top-selling one. The intention to do less overtime hours. The interest in working as part of a team or rather working alone. And so on.
These interests and aims motivate us to do certain things and to refuse or avoid others. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? But what we often forget is that the people we meet along the way also follow their own interests and aims. In an ideal case yours fits with your colleagues’. But in a real case, most of the time they don’t.
When is it important to have your colleagues’ interests at the back of your mind?
- When you try to win someone for a project
- When you need something from employees or co-workers (report, support, execution of a new process, expert’s report, time resources, …)
- When you negotiate
- Or when you just have to define goals and directions in a team
In such cases, when you know about the interests of your colleagues you can make use of them to reach your own goals but also to satisfy their needs and aims. Win-Win!
7 ways to learn about others‘ interests
How do you recognize the aims and interests of others? In the following the 7 easiest ways:
- Express your interest to learn about others’ interests: “That seems to be really important for you. Can you tell me more about it?”
- Ask for help and advice: „I see you can’t leave your position. But I also know my colleagues will keep up the resistance to it. Please help me: What can I say to convince you?”
- Ask for the Why: „Why do you think so?“ „What do you fear to happen?“ „What exactly is the problem?“
- Show appreciation: „If you insist on that I know for sure that it is for a good reason. What… ?“
- If you don’t dare asking direct questions – sometimes that’s inappropriate – try an indirection: “I’m not sure if I really understand your point.” „I really would like to understand why…“
- Articulate what you think that your counterpart’s interests are. He or she will gladly correct you.
- Offer alternatives by asking „Why…not?“ Your counterpart will tend to explain: “I can tell you why that’s not possible! It’s…”
Our interest is easy to guess: Did you like our tips for learning about interests? How did they work out for you?