Today I’m focusing the ‘Y’ on you with one of my all time favourite quotes from Maya Angelou. You’ve no idea how many times I’ve used this quote in my work. It is the basis of any culture change programme, leadership and management skills as well as customer service and sales. But actually this quote underpins everything we do whether it’s in our personal or professional life. Some people have the knack of putting others at ease and enabling them to bring their best selves to the fore through well honed emotional intelligence. For example, many years ago Princess Diana was regaled for making everyone she met feel special and valued. She was renowned for being able to get to everyone’s level whether that was physically or metaphorically speaking. However there are others can put your back up within the first few minutes of meeting them.
Amy Cuddy’s work on the Warmth/Competence matrix goes along way to explain how people can manage the impression they create on others by thinking about these two axes. When we meet someone new we are constantly assessing them based on two questions we ask ourselves subconsciously. Do I like this person? (Warmth) Do I respect this person? (Competence).
In the work place, I often get the feeling that we would rather have people respect us than like us by demonstrating competence and giving less consideration to the warmth exhibited. However, it’s good to remember that warmth links closely to trust and we need to connect with people before we can influence them. If people don’t trust you, they are not going to be open to your ideas. Interestingly Amy Cuddy’s advice is to connect first and then impress with your abilities occasionally.
What do you think? How do you make people feel? Where would you place yourself on the matrix?