I was speaking with a client the other day. She told me that in her current role, she works occasionally on projects with another manager, who is not her direct manager. She told me that this manager is a really smart guy, whose revenue is right on target, but that he is a terrible writer.
I don’t get it. He’s a really smart guy, but he just does not write well. A few months ago, he asked me if I would take a look at an article that he was going to submit to an industry publication. It was horrible. I ended up rewriting it for him. He was so appreciative. Now he asks me to write or rewrite everything he produces. Although it’s not technically my job, I’m happy to do it. It’s not just that I want to ensure that any communication we put out is cogent and clear. I also do it because he is really a nice guy, and he always makes it a point to say how much he appreciates my help. He has told my boss what an asset I am to him, too.
People help people who appreciate what they do
And there you have it. Yes, it’s that simple. Getting people to help you is actually very easy. If you are pleasant, and, more importantly, if you are appreciative and give people the credit that is due them, they will go out of their way to help you succeed. The old adage that you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar absolutely holds true. Most people don’t mind going above and beyond the job description provided they know that there will be both appreciation and recognition.
My client’s coworker is smart. He knows he doesn’t write well, and he has sought the assistance of someone who does. That is good management. Further, he makes sure that her boss knows that she is a valuable and helps him succeed. That not only shows humility; it shows empathy. Empathy is what all people want. We all want to know that we are valued, and that we are important.
So remember this in the future: people help people who appreciate what they do, and who give them the credit that they deserve. If you show your appreciation to others, and if you make it a point to tell everyone how helpful they are, they will continue to add their expertise to your work. And they will do so happily. No one wants to help out the jerk. But most people will go out of their way to help Mr. Nice Guy. Be the nice guy!