Even if you’re the business owner, you’ve probably found that just because you appeal to employees to adopt the company’s mission or that new procedure, they often… just don’t.
A person doesn’t care about your goals until they know you care about them as a person.
That’s a twist on John Maxwell’s quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
How to get people to do what you want? It takes both heart and mind.
How to get people to do what you want is not about how you ask. In fact, you don’t ask. There are 3 things you can do so that you never even have to ask—understand them, listen to them, and recognize them. That’s how to get people to do what you want them to do.
I guarantee that how to get people to do what you want them will happen automatically if you do these 3 things:
- Understand the individual deeply before asking anything of them. What they enjoy doing, what they’re confident doing, what skills they’re proud of, what stresses them—these are all things you as a leader should know about the people whose behavior you want to influence. In a non-profit I chair, an email went out organization-wide soliciting volunteers for the Artistic Committee. Julie volunteered and after the first meeting, quickly dropped off. When the committee chair talked to her about it, Julie said she felt the tasks were out of her comfort zone. “Ask me to organize events and dinners and I’m all over it. But sitting around a table of creative types coming up with new ideas isn’t comfortable for me.” Julie is now untouchable in her role as Event Planner for the organization.
- Ask people for their opinions and make time to actually GET those opinions. I’ve witnessed many leaders asking staff or boards or individuals for their opinions—it’s the popular thing to do. But frequently the body language and non-verbals communicate that they don’t really want input. How?
- They don’t wait for an answer. They don’t give any silence to indicate that they really want to hear what the person has to say. Instead, after they ask for the person’s input, they keep on talking. Don’t fill the air time. Leave a few seconds of silence (awkward but worth it).
- They ask it in a close-ended way. “What are your thoughts?” is proven way more likely to get a response than, “Do you have any thoughts?” Pat Lencioni said, “People don’t need their ideas used so much as they need their ideas heard.” People may give you off-base ideas but you need to listen to them anyway.
- Recognize people’s contributions. Share the credit. Often we actually forget where an idea’s genesis was, i.e. who suggested it. Often, if we like the idea, we take it and run with it forgetting where we got it. Just remember to consciously and regularly ask yourself, “Who can I give credit for this idea or work to?” Then recognize it publicly and privately as often as you can.
And that’s how to get people to do what you want them to.