By Brian Tracy
Once you know how to empower, motivate, and inspire people, they will want to work with you to help you achieve your goals in everything you do. Your ability to enlist the knowledge, energy, and resources of others enables you to become a multiplication sign, to leverage yourself so that you accomplish far more than the average person and in a far shorter period of time.
There are three groups of people that you want to and need to empower on a regular basis. They are, first of all, the people closest to you: your family, your friends, your spouse, and your children. Second are your work relationships: your staff, your coworkers, your peers, your colleagues, and even your boss. Third are all the other people that you interact with in your day-to-day life: your customers, your suppliers, your banker, the people with whom you deal in stores, restaurants, airplanes, hotels, and everywhere else. In each case, your ability to get people to help you is what will make you a more powerful and effective person.
Empower means “putting power into,” and it can also mean “bringing energy and enthusiasm out of.” So the first step in empowering people is to refrain from doing anything that disempowers them or reduces their energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing.
The deepest need that each person has is for self-esteem, a sense of being important, valuable, and worthwhile. Everything that you do in your interactions with others affects their self-esteem in some way. You already have an excellent frame of reference to determine the things that you can do to boost the self-esteem and therefore the sense of personal power of those around you. Give them what you’d like for yourself.
There are three simple things that you can do every single day to empower others and make them feel good about themselves.
Perhaps the simplest way to make another person feel good about him or herself is your continuous expressions of appreciation for everything that person does for you, large or small. Say “thank you” on every occasion. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more things those other people will want to do. Every time you thank another person, you cause that person to like themselves better. You raise their self-esteem and improve their self-image. You cause them to feel more important. You make them feel that what they did was valuable and worthwhile. You empower them.
When you develop an attitude of gratitude that flows forth from you in all of your interactions with others, you will be amazed at how popular you will become and how eager others will be to help you in whatever you are doing.
The second way to make people feel important, to raise their self-esteem and give them a sense of power and energy, is by the generous use of praise and approval. Perhaps the most valuable lesson in Ken Blanchard’s book, The One Minute Manager, is his recommendation to be giving “one-minute praisings” at every opportunity. If you go around praising and giving genuine and honest approval to people for their accomplishments, large and small, you will be amazed at how much more people like you and how much more willing they are to help you achieve your goals.
There is a psychological law of reciprocity that says, “If you make me feel good about myself, I will find a way to make you feel good about yourself.” In other words, people will always look for ways to reciprocate your kindnesses toward them. When you look for every opportunity to do and say things that make other people feel good about themselves, you will be astonished at not only how good you feel, but also at the wonderful things that begin to happen all around you.
The third way to empower others, to build their self-esteem and make them feel important is simply to pay close attention to them when they talk. The great majority of people are so busy trying to be heard that they become impatient when others are talking. This is not for you. Remember, the most important single activity that takes place over time is listening intently to the other person when he or she is talking and expressing him or herself.
Again, the three general rules for empowering the people around you, which apply to everyone you meet, are appreciation, approval, and attention. Voice your thanks and gratitude to others on every occasion. Praise them for every accomplishment. Pay close attention to them when they talk and interact with you. These three behaviors alone will make you a master of human interaction and will greatly empower the people around you.
Brian Tracy has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and has written 28 books, including his book, The Psychology of Selling. He can be reached at 858-481-2977.
[From the April/May 2006 issue of AnswerStat magazine]