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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neal Nybo

Micro-Action 9: Start With Personal

Welcome to another excerpt from my workbook, Workplace Positivity.

Isn’t it interesting how much people want and need to be recognized, valued, and, yes, “picked” as in “pick me” from the introduction of this book? The power of that exercise with business leaders is it represents the minimum amount of recognition, a non-consequential tap on the thumb, to get a person smiling and feeling connected. It’s the tip of the iceberg. Kathy Miller Perkins writes, “Show others, through your actions, that you care about their well-being as well as your own. Interpersonal trust is the bedrock of healthy work cultures. Always give your employees, colleagues, and coworkers a reason to believe in you.”

Imagine the power of a heartfelt connection with no ulterior motives to lift a person’s spirits and banish negativity from the moment. Extend that moment with the use of the ideas throughout this workbook, and we begin to glimpse the potential for positive workplaces any of us would love to work in. In every interaction, start with personal. For example, when you are face to face with someone first thing Monday morning ask, “How was your weekend?” On the phone say, “What’s the weather like where you are?” In an email start with, “I hope you are doing well.” In a text mention, “Your name came to mind this morning.”

By doing this we demonstrate we genuinely care about the other person. In many ways, we have lost our personal touch. People are busy. Businesses want to get to the point. We worry about offending someone or crossing a boundary. And, honestly, we get suspicious of people who are too nice to us. We automatically ask, “What’s the catch? What do they want from me?”

The key to being successful with this kindness is to remember it is a micro-action. It is the smallest thing we can do. Basically, we want to be personal without being intrusive. These are non-intrusive but personal comments and questions that invite a relationship. Starting with personal is micro but it leaves a macro impression. In fact, starting with personal builds trust. Having a personal connection shows we care. According to Stephen Covey in The Speed of Trust, “Caring gives us more trust, which leads to better outcomes.” “Starting with personal” shows we care, builds trust, and stimulates what scientists call happy hormones. Not bad.

NICOLE’S PODCAST PERSPECTIVE The 100th episode of The Kindness Podcast featured Don Carter, a man who went viral after raising money to send a Popeye’s drive-thru employee to nursing school. I was excited to dive right in and hear about his experience. My mind was on the mission. But before I could get out the first question, Don said very sincerely, “Nicole, how are you doing?” I could tell we weren’t ready to start the interview. He wanted to make sure we knew where the other was coming from that day before we got down to business. The interview that followed was one of my favorites because I felt like I was talking to a new friend. It turns out, I was.

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