When people talk about personal effectiveness, everyone automatically assumes that it’s about how you personally manage and organise your workflow. I beg to differ. Actually, personal effectiveness is as much about the people around you, and how you interact with them, as it is about your personal organisation.
I can lecture you until I am blue in the face about to-do lists, task allocation, prioritisation, emails, procrastination and delegation; but until you’re able to manage the people around you and watch how you interact with them, you may never improve on the status quo.
Here are some of the big ways in which we sabotage our personal effectiveness with our dealings with others:
1. Forgetting to say “thank you”
Many people take the view that “it’s their job, why should I thank them for doing it?”. Everyone has a choice over what they do and what they don’t do, and how well they do it. A simple “thank you” for a job well done is what can make the difference between it being done well next time or you having to step in and sort it out.
Let me give you an example. One of my greatest advocates is my virtual assistant Helen Stothard, owner of HLS Business Solutions. She regularly goes the extra mile for me, and I regularly recommend her team’s services to others.
Today, I received in the post a small gift expressing her appreciation for my business. She didn’t have to do that and I wasn’t expecting it at all. But this gesture just brings home how much we want to work together. It’s this “wanting” to work together which means we both go the extra mile for each other, and each make both of our working lives easier.
2. Not being able to relinquish control
It isn’t possible to get anywhere quickly or efficiently without the help of others. Very often we surround ourselves with people but fail to delegate to them effectively.
One of my clients expressed it very well last week: “I’m fine with delegating, if they’re in the room with me.” Delegation takes trust and a willingness to relinquish control. Only when you are happy to relinquish control and are prepared to trust others will you be able to become more personally effective.
3. Lack of self respect
You may be thinking about what a lack of self respect has to do with personal effectiveness? Tons.
It’s perhaps the biggest thing which prevents us from being truly personally effective. It’s this lack of self respect which means we put up with shoddy work, under-performing team members, work being “dumped” on us and listening to people who are wasting our time.
Do you respect your own time enough to have that difficult conversation? Procrastinating on that conversation is probably the reason you’re running around after others and doing all the chasing and rework.
You owe it to yourself to have engaged people working with you, who want to be there and do a good job. Where are you currently accepting second best, or allowing someone to not pull their own weight? Where are you compromising your personal effectiveness by your interactions and dealings with others?
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.
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