Mastering The Little Things

In a business world saturated with options for effective communication, it’s easy for a busy global executive to connect with people across the organisation whether the business at hand is tactical or strategic in nature. But as diverse as these communication tools are – from videoconferencing, email, texts and an array of social media options – they may have the effect of lulling many of us into a false sense of real engagement with our teams and with the individual people on them.

Of course, by virtue of our respective experience, education and credibility as global leaders, we share much formal authority across our organizations to direct resources, empower those teams and invest where and when we believe business conditions will drive a discernable financial return. And as we have all learned in various forms and through diverse industry environments and situations, each of us carries a form of informal influence and authority that is very much grounded in our management styles, communications habits, social skills and likeability in the eyes of those around us.

It is this complex network of relationships and organisational support that we, as leaders, get to call upon when business requirements dictate we rally people and energy around key objectives. When we must appeal to people to help us move the enterprise to a new reality, this informal and intangible relationship capital is a critical lever of performance.
It is for that reason that we, as global executives, must pursue our own, unique mastery of what some might refer to as “the little things.” The little things are highly individualised expressions of our overall engagement with and support of the people around us. One might consider them the simple kindnesses and consideration given to others when they feel frustrated, confused or simply need a shoulder to lean on during difficult times. They are opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to others.

Mastering the little things requires an awareness of what’s driving each of our direct reports and the courage to demonstrate some level of vulnerability when it comes to working together for a common purpose. Your honest, often candid interaction with people frames their support for you and the level of effort they give to their job. These little things may lead you to pen a short note of personal support and encouragement or someone who may wonder whether you even know him or her. It may move you to ask a colleague out for a lunch or drink just to get to know them better and listen to their concerns, no matter what is on their mind. These little things can take many forms. They can look predictable or somewhat unorthodox. Yet they universally convey your commitment and demonstrate your compassion.

Kurt Vonnegut captured the essence of what this means: “Enjoy the little things in life. For one day, you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.”

So, too, might your random acts of kindness and respect toward your workplace colleagues – at all levels – come back to reward others, and, not so surprisingly, you, as well, in so many different ways.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2016


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