Nothing Turns Me Off Faster Than Fake…
I detest fake anything. I don’t like fake food and I don’t particularly care for fake people. As soon as I feel like someone is not being real, I lose trust. Depending on the degree of fakeness (or unreal-ness), it may irreparably break trust with me. Especially if the fakeness is for the sake of hurtfulness, protecting ego, or influencing for gain. To be fair, I recognize that until we are comfortable with ourselves, and develop some confidence, we can all present ourselves a little different than we really are, with no malintent.
On the flip side, the more real someone is, the more I enjoy them. Granted, there are people who’s real self doesn’t fit me, just like there are people who I don’t fit for.
In the business arena, this issue comes heavily into play in three specific areas most often: For a leader attempting to build strong trust and therefore a deep “want to” in those they are leading, for those who are trying to grow their credibility, and thereby increase their opportunities with the leader they are working under/with, and the very common scenario of trying to develop new clients.
Let’s Start First with Those Aspiring Who Are Not Yet in a Leadership Position…
You want to impress. I get that. We all want to make a strong impression. We all want to project ourselves as the capable, go-to person, right one for the job. We want to be liked. We want to be seen as a key part of the team, a budding star, someone who knows our stuff.
I have been there, done that, and worn out the t-shirts. And then I learned. You know who the smartest person in the room usually is? And NO, it’s not the person with all the answers. Show me someone who has ALL the answers, and I’ll show you someone who is playing extremely small, not growing, staying in their box, insecure, fearful, and limited. Not to mention, full of #*1@. No one has all the answers. To anything. The smartest person in the room is the one who asks the best questions.
That’s not based on knowledge. It’s based on wisdom. An entirely different thing. If you want to make an impact on a true leader of people (not a fake leader riding a position), you have to be someone who does what they say they will do, but doesn’t need to even say it. Just do it. You need to be someone who is clear about where your strengths are and where you are weak, and be honest enough to be forthcoming about that. You need to be willing to ask the questions, and not afraid to ask for help. You need to be willing to subrogate your ego, your goals, your issues, for the best of the team. You need to be the one that says I’ll do that, instead of “who’s job is that?”
Short-cutting this area, because otherwise, it’s an entire book….and I’m not up for writing another book at the moment!
To simplify, there are a few things to keep in front of you. The people you serve (how I view leadership) need to believe deeply that you care about them and that you are honest. Of course, you need to be able to do the job well, but that won’t matter in the big picture if you are perceived as not caring or dishonest, as that will be construed as being “out for yourself first.”
You will only keep people too weak or unmotivated to leave if you are EVER construed as being out for yourself.
The two fastest ways to bridge the care and honest gap…and it’s going to be a gap at first because that’s just the conditioning and experience reality of most people…is to invest time CONNECTING with people and admitting you are imperfect.
Connecting means listening and learning about their lives, and then sharing some of your journey with them. Not the highlights of your journey. The struggles and mistakes of your journey. This is appropriately real in that it inspires. Remember this…YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH.
Your success is only inspirational if someone understands how hard it has been, and how it was a process of failing and struggling forward.
The second thing, admitting you’re imperfect, is equally as important because of the microscope you are under in leadership. You have weaknesses. You make mistakes. You react poorly at times. You don’t always make the right decisions. And all of this is known to the people you lead. Own it. Admit it. This shows you to be honest in a deep sense. If you want to make this really build relationship with people, ask for their input and help.
Building Client Relationships…
This will be quick as well…again, this is an entire book if delved into fully. Be NICE, HONEST, RESPECTFUL, ask ALL about them and how they need to be served, and always follow-through. This is just the start.
Be yourself. This doesn’t mean you don’t develop skills…just the opposite. Become highly skilled so that you have the confidence to be you. Remember, people buy you, way before they buy what you do or sell.
They need to be able to trust you and that happens fastest when people believe you are being real with them. On the other side of this, you have to remember that not everyone is going to be a fit for you or your product or service. Acquiring new client relationships is simply a matter of math with heart.
Meet people, treat them right, be yourself, and if you do this often enough, you will find the ones that you can serve the best. There’s no magic. Just be you.
As I got into this topic, I realized it was way too big for a blog…but I did it anyway just in case a nugget or two will serve you. I also recognize that I was fairly blunt and direct. Please chalk that up to emphatic:-) I hope you found some helpful value. Please share if something resonated with you and could be beneficial to someone else.