Once you know how to empower people—how to motivate and inspire them—they will want to help you achieve your goals in everything you do. By enlisting the knowledge, energy and resources of others, you can become a multiplication sign, allowing you to accomplish far more than the average person in a far shorter period of time.
There are three groups of people that you want to and need to empower regularly. The first group is made up of the people closest to you: your family, your friends, your spouse and your children. The second includes your work relationships: your staff, your coworkers, your peers, your colleagues and even your boss. The third consists of all the other people you interact with in your day-to-day life: your clients, your banker and the people you deal with 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 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 day to empower others and make them feel good about themselves:
Perhaps the simplest way to make another person feel good about himself is your continuous expression of appreciation for everything that person does for you, large or small. Say “thank you” on every occasion. The more you thank others for doing things for you, the more they will want to do. Every time you thank people, you cause them to like themselves better.
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.”
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 interaction with others, you will be amazed at how popular you will become and how eager others will be to help you.
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 give “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 kindness. 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 majority of people are so busy trying to be heard that they become impatient when others are talking. But this is not for you. Remember, the most important activity that takes place over time is listening intently to the other person when he is talking and expressing himself.
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. And pay close attention to them when they talk and want to interact with you. These three behaviors alone will make you a master of human interaction and greatly empower the people around you.
Brian Tracy has produced more than 300 audio and video programs and has written 28 books on management, leadership and sales, including The Psychology of Selling. To receive a free copy of “Crunch Time!,” visit www.briantracy.com and click on the Crunch Time! icon. He can be reached at 858-481-2977.