The Art Of Getting What You Want
If I asked you right now to list off 10 non-material things that you really want, I have no doubt in my mind that you could rattle them off on your fingers, one by one, in less than 10 minutes. Maybe it’s a promotion, respect from your peers, for your significant other to do the damn dishes once in a while; it could be anything at all. Now what if I told you that you could probably have all those things, if you followed one simple piece of advice? Would you want to know what it was? Of course you do. I’m not an idiot. So here it is, the one all-important key to getting exactly what you want:
Identify what other people want. Then give it to them (if you can.)
Okay, so that was technically two pieces of advice, but my point stands. “Danielle,” you say, “surely you jest. Life is not that simple. It cannot be so easy. Find out what other people want and then give it to them? I know you said that you’re not an idiot, but I’m beginning to question that, is all I’m saying.” I assure you, I am not.
For half a decade, I managed quite a few people. I mentored a few of them that wanted to, one day, be in management positions themselves. And over and over again, I told them exactly what I’d learned in getting what you want from others. It can be boiled down into a one-word skill: diplomacy. The art of getting what you want.
At one time, I managed a staff of teachers that did not all necessarily like one another. They all had different ideas of how certain objectives should be taught, how classes should be conducted, and they were often the only ones who were right. How could I get a staff of 12 people to all agree on something? The answer was pretty simple, actually: I didn’t need them to all agree on how things should be done. I needed instead for them to get behind me, trust my leadership, and carry out what I thought were the best processes for our classes. One teacher was also an author and really wanted her children’s book to be featured at our front desk so that our customers knew about her side-job. Easy. One teacher needed to be told often that the work she had done was valuable and appreciated. My pleasure. One teacher needed for me to ask things of him instead of just telling him what to do. Not difficult at all. One by one, all of these teachers began to stand behind me as a leader and form a unified front over my curriculum and classroom practices. I had exactly what I wanted and needed in order to run a cohesive and effective environment for our customers.
The trick in all of this is that you can’t be manipulative. You must be genuine. The first key to that is that you actually have to care about these people as human beings. Understand that they are more than coworkers, bosses, dating/marriage material, sounding boards for you. Each person has wants and needs, just like you. You have to want to get to know these people and appreciate them for who they are–quirks, nuances, and all.
When was the last time you asked any of these people from whom you want things, how they are doing in life? What are their needs, wants, hopes, dreams, goals that they live for? More importantly, how can you help them with that?
The biggest key to networking that was ever given to me is so very simple: never go into a networking meeting or event trying to figure out what someone can do for you. Instead, build an honest relationship with them, and ask how you might be able to help them with what they need. Then do what you can to help them. People remember the things you did for them and that very loyalty is bred by having loyalty to others as well.
Do you want a promotion? What does your boss want? Does she want you to perform in a certain way? Does he want someone he can trust? Be that person and see what happens. Do you want respect from your peers? Do you offer them the same in kind? How can you show them that you are thinking about them and what matters to them? Do those things and see what happens. Do you want your significant other to do something around the house/show you more affection/insert-other-thing-here? How can you be a better significant other to him/her? Have you ever asked? Do so, and then do those things that he or she needs from you to feel supported…and again, see what happens.
Getting what you want is not hard, as long as you don’t approach people with the idea that they are either a) an obstacle or wall you have to get around, or b) a slot machine whose buttons you have to press in order for them to shoot out what you want. Treat each relationship as just that: a relationship. Go through your work and personal life teaming up with others–people enjoy being a part of a team and they want to contribute to the team’s success. This week, ask yourselves what you can do for the people around you…you’ll be surprised at how much they will want to help you when you may need or want it most.