10 days and 34 words to better relationships

Grab a sticky note and enhance how you express caring, warmth, humility, and respect for others through these 34 words. You’ll likely get back more of those same four relationship goodies from them. Not to mention faster request turnaround times and more enthusiastic, thoughtful help.

Photo: Jazmin Quaynor

Think about it: unless you are a landscape painter, I’m pretty sure your work involves other people on a daily basis. They accomplish the parts of your work that you don’t have the hours or talent to tackle yourself, or they buy what you sell.

Those other people (whether direct reports, peers, clients, or prospective clients) have choices regarding how they prioritize their days. Like you, they face multiple competing demands from multiple constituencies. So when you or I ask for a meeting, a favor, or their help on a task, they – quite frankly – have options. They can either help us today, or help us tomorrow. They can fulfill our request with positive energy, thoughtfulness, and creativity – or can simply cross “t’s” and dot “i’s” in a perfunctory way.

How do you increase the odds that others do things well (and quickly) for you? Sometimes your job title or power grabs their attention initially – but more often than you’d like to think, the answer lies in how much they like and respect you. Do they enjoy being in a meeting with you? Do they learn from you, or are they bored by the tasks you request of them? Do you smile and bring a sense of humor to their day, or — instead — stress them out? Do you talk at them, or with them?

Yes, this sounds old-school and you’ve heard it before – but it bears repeating: strong relationships are one of the main currencies on which you build a successful career or business — and the way you rally others to effectively Get Stuff Done for you.

If you’re a leader who’d like to collect a bit more of this valuable “relationship currency,” here’s one path. Each day over the next 10 days, jot one of the 10 “relationship power phrases” below on a sticky note and post it where you’ll see it often. Then find as many occasions to put today’s power phrase to good use as you can, both at work and at home. (Keep a count if you’re competitive with yourself or motivated by games!)

You might already say these things, but consider saying them more or in different types of situations. As you practice and see the results in others’ faces and responses, you’ll build the muscle memory to keep using them over the longer haul.

Successful leaders with loyal, talented troops who would walk across the coals for them pepper their speech (liberally) with these sentences. They sound so simple – but there is huge relationship power in these words:

  1. Tell me more.
  2. You’re right.
  3. I was wrong.
  4. What do you think?
  5. I agree.
  6. I love that idea.
  7. Thank you.
  8. Hey, I apologize.
  9. How can I support you?
  10. I believe you can do it.

So grab a sticky note and enhance how you express caring, warmth, humility, and respect for others through these 34 words. You’ll likely get back more of those same four relationship goodies from them. Not to mention faster request turnaround times and more enthusiastic, thoughtful help.

Kirstin Lynde|is the founder and principal at Catalyze Associates, a firm dedicated to intensive, immersive, and metrics-based leadership development and coaching programs