1. Evaluate yourself: One of the first signs that you have an issue with this skill is when you find yourself not wanting to talk to an employee or even avoiding them. In Jr. High we like people who like us, or the people we can relate to. Unfortunately, many people stay “emotionally” in Jr. High all their lives; never developing the skill to like the people that are difficult to like. Learning to do this is critical to get people to follow you. They will never follow someone who does not like them.
2. Make a list of the good: I once had a manager who did not like me, and our monthly meetings lasted over two hours. They were grueling meetings that looked over everything I did with a fine toothed comb trying to find something to criticize. I would over prepare for them, but no matter how prepared I was, the meetings always lasted over two hours. He spoke the entire time, and interrupted me every time I tried to make a comment.
I realized that doing my job well was not enough, and if I did not do something about this I was on my way out. I knew most people were fired simply because they were not liked. I decided I would like him despite what he was doing to me. For the next meeting I prepared as usual, but I also took an hour before the meeting and went to a quiet place. I took out a pen and note pad and decided I would write down 20 things he had done that made my life better.
At first it was pretty slow going to come up with anything, but after I had squeezed out the first few they started to come more easily. The first ones were pretty basic things such as, “lets us have a water dispenser in the office.” By the time the hour was over I had more than 20 things, and my feelings had also changed. I genuinly felt I liked him, and it was sincere, because it was based on facts that I had just recorded.
I went directly into that meeting after recording over 20 positive things I liked about him, or was grateful for. He could immediately see it in my handshake and how I greeted him. My body language and tone were all sending the same resounding message of gratitude and good feelings for him. The meeting was completely different. It lasted under an hour and I even got to speak! He was still the same type of manager, and that was ok. I practiced this process for the next couple of months till my feelings were on autopilot. To this day I have good feelings for the man even though this was many years ago.
Great managers control who they like and that controls their environment.
Its about the people!
John E Tanner