Tell Them “Don’t Run With Scissors!”
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
Treat Everyone Like a Child
If you find it hard sometimes to abide by the last lesson where I asked you to treat everyone with constant respect, genuine kindness, and honest empathy, then it might be time for you to take this exercise one step further. It’s time to treat everyone like a child.
This is not to say be demeaning or condescending. In fact, I treat children just the opposite. I know those little people know more than they’re letting on, so I treat them with a great deal of respect. If you’d like to grow in your personal and business lives, then you should treat everyone you meet like a child.
When I say this, I am actually asking you to work hard to see the child inside everyone. Once you do, you will quickly accept their failings. You will work harder to help them succeed or simply get them where they want to go. You will treat them with compassion and understanding; and you will (most importantly) be eager to assist them.
Don’t believe me? Okay, here’s a quick test to see if treating someone like a child might help you build a relationship and/or get more out of them:
A cute, yet sad, five-year-old girl comes up to you in a grocery store and tells you she cannot find her mother.
Unless you are Satan himself, you will immediately drop everything you’re doing and walk this poor child straight to the customer service area where you will remain until her mother is found. You will then post about your heroics on Facebook and personally tell the next ten people you see what a good guy you are.
Conversely: One of your employees asks you for the tenth time how to login to the company’s intranet.
We all know how the average manager or coworker handles this; but what if you treated this employee the same way you treated that lost five-year-old? Would the relationship between the two of you be different? More productive? Better for everyone? Moreover, would you go home feeling better about yourself (even though you wouldn’t share this non-story on social media using the hashtag #hero)?
The answer to all of those questions is yes.