But in some jobs, there's not much you can do for each other. There is, however, something you can give to every person you work with and it's something they want — something that genuinely helps them and will make them want to help you. It creates a spirit of cooperation in them.
What can you give them? A feeling of importance. It's easy to do, it doesn't cost anything, and it makes the person feel good. It gives them something they want very much, something they don't get enough of. And it makes you feel good too. No one loses, everyone gains. Where else can you get a deal like that?
Now the question is, how can you make someone feel important without being phony? Being phony is uncomfortable and akin to lying, so for this to be any good, it has to be honest. Here are some things you can do that fit this criteria:
1. Use a person's name when you're talking to them. This gives them a subtle feeling of importance. And look them in the eyes.
2. A smile is always a gift — it says a lot and is easy to do.
3. Tell them things you like about them: Point out character traits you appreciate, talk about the quality of work they do. Make known what you respect about them.
What do they do that's genuinely important to you? It doesn't have to be something big. Think small. Look for little things and say them. Don't exaggerate. Just express your appreciation sincerely. But be subtle and low-key. Don't make them feel uncomfortable.
And guess what will happen? They will start to treat you differently. They'll like you more, they'll find more things about you they appreciate, and they'll have a stronger desire to help you.
These are small efforts. But they'll change the atmosphere in which you spend so much of your time. It makes your world a happier, more cooperative place. And you're not taking goodwill from people — they'll give it to you freely, because you did something to help them. You gave them something they want: A feeling of importance.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.