Last time we looked at the impact we could make by touching a heart. In most cases, when we invest the time and energy to develop the kind of connection that truly touches someone’s heart, the relationship is one that lasts. When Cindy and I guide supervisors and managers with the organizations we support through our Emerging Leader Development course, there’s a place in the fourth lesson where we challenge them to consider the individuals who helped the most to that point in their careers. As we share some of our own examples with each group and we hear participants explain their own, there’s never a doubt that hearts have been touched. And we never have to ask what lengths they’d go to for that person who helped them!
But why does someone go out of their way to provide that kind of support to start the process? In business, I suppose we could write it off to that person simply wanting to make their own job easier, but I just don’t believe that ever truly touches a heart. The folks who have made that kind of investment into me did so unselfishly, and for another reason we’ll circle back to shortly!
About a year ago in this column, I suggested an alternative to constructive criticism that I had learned from a friend’s new book. In Know What You’re FOR, Jeff Henderson explained the how “Alliance Feedback” was so much more effective, but it required forming strong alliances. In the same chapter, he shared the four most powerful words he had ever heard from a mentor, “I believe in you!”
So why do those folks who have invested their time and energy into helping us advance in our careers and in our lives do it? I’m convinced it ties back to those four powerful words Jeff’s mentor said to him!
After some solid conversation about the individuals who have helped the folks participating our course, we turn the tables a bit and challenge them to consider how they’re providing that kind of mentorship to the people on the teams they’re leading. Sometimes that’s already happening, but every now and then we see folks have an ah-ha moment about how they can start touching the hearts of those around them.
So how does any of this apply to building better communication with our friends or family? I believe that’s fairly simple. When we’re willing to form the kind of alliances that ensure we’re providing feedback rather than criticism and we invest our energy into helping those same folks grow with no strings attached, we can indeed touch a heart! Then we can take it one step farther and make sure they know exactly why we’re doing it by saying, “I believe in you!”