Several years ago, when working on my Coaching qualification, I remember one of the trainer’s relaying a story of an old man, leaning against a stone wall in the West of Ireland minding his business when a bus pulled up beside him. Out stepped a young man who said to the old man ‘what are the people like in this place?’ The old man, being old and wise, bounced the question back to the young man and asked ‘what are the people like in the place you came from?’ The young man responded with a snort ‘they are mean, selfish, out to get what they can from you – basically not nice people’. The old man pondered on the response for a moment and then said to the young man ‘well then young man, that’s exactly who you’ll find here’. Off went the young man down to the village where people, in his mindset would be the same as what he experienced from where he came from.
A few minutes later, another young man got off the bus and asked the same question of the old man ‘what are the people like in this place?’. The old man again took his time to respond and then answered with the question ‘what are the people like where you come from?’ The young man responded by saying ‘well they are kind, considerate and help each other out – it’s a great place to live’. Again, the old man pondered for a moment, considering the 2nd man’s response and said ‘well then young man, you’ll find the same people in this place’. Off the young man went and made his way to the village.
So, what’s the learning in this story? Well, how we treat and interact with people is exactly how they will treat us and interact with us. If we treat people dis-respectively and with disdain, then we can’t expect anything other than the same back. The same goes when we treat people with respect, they will give us the same back.
There is a great model I picked up on my Coaching qualification called Betari’s Box and is simply explained like this:
Our attitude – affects our behaviour
Our behaviour – affects another person’s behaviour
The other person’s behaviour – affects our attitude and so on …
Therefore, if our attitude is negative towards someone, then our subsequent behaviour will be negative for example, your attitude of a team member is that they are lazy and not a hard worker, your behaviour towards them may be dis-respectful, off-handed and curt. How will your behaviour affect your team member? Unless your team member is extremely skilled at self-regulation, then more than likely, they’ll react negatively towards you so their attitude and subsequent behaviour towards you is negative and onwards it goes.
By being aware of the above model, you can firstly learn how to change your attitude and behaviour towards someone in a positive way and achieve a better more positive outcome. You can also learn how to self-regulate and not allow another person’s behaviour towards you, affect you negatively.
If nothing else, think about the above story when next interacting with someone and focus on what outcome you want to achieve from the interaction. Do you want to get the best from people? Then start thinking about your attitude and behaviour towards them, adjust them to being more positive and see the fantastic results.
Until next month.