Do Others Want to Help You Succeed?

Getting Ahead Takes a Team

Success in this world requires group effort. We all need mentors and people who will help us on the journey. But what will it take to attract the right people into our lives?

You’ve no doubt heard the old proverb about finding a love partner: to attract a wonderful person, you must become a wonderful person to whom that wonderful person would be attracted.

Everything successful between people is based upon giving.

It’s like going fishing. If you want to catch a fish, you don’t go down to the river and yell, “Okay, you fish jump up here in my net, now.”

No, what you do is offer them something they want. Something they like. You give them worms, not because YOU like worms, but because THEY do.

Fish & Folks

If that works with fish, it’ll work with mentors and co-workers. Of course you don’t intend to pan-fry your co-workers. Your relationship with them will hopefully last a lot longer than your relationship with that fish.

This means you’d better offer them something with longer-lasting value than “bait.”

Ever ask yourself why anybody would bother to mentor another person? It’s a lot of work teaching what one knows. It’s obvious why you would want to learn what a mentor knows, but realistically, why would they do it for you?

I’ve asked some very successful people this very question.

Almost without exception, they say it’s a matter of satisfaction. It makes the person doing the teaching feel good about themselves. They like to see people around them grow, and they like to feel they have made a difference in someone’s life.

They’ve invariably mastered things that were difficult for them, they’ve become expert in their chosen field, and they like to share that hard-won knowledge. Who do they want to share that knowledge with? Somebody they like and respect.

The Secret of Finding a Mentor

The way to get someone to mentor you is simply to ask them. Some will say no, for a variety of reasons, but sooner or later someone will say yes. When that happens, you’d better treat their generosity with the respect it deserves.

In the personal arena, if you meet a gorgeous new person, ask them for a date, then never show up, or if you arrive in your raggedest clothes, or behave boorishly while you’re with them, you won’t see them again.

A mentoring relationship deserves the same degree of respect and regard that you would extend to a new romantic partner.

That’s mentors. But what about working with people on your own team? How do you get them to work eagerly toward goals you set?

How to Win with Co-Workers

The guidelines are similar. In this case, find out what they want. Then figure out some way they can get what they want by helping you get what you want. You’ve heard the phrase “win-win situations.” This is a prime example.

Working with people doesn’t have to be gut-wrenching. It can actually be enjoyable. All you have to do is make sure that it’s as good for them as it is for you (to borrow a phrase from another area of life).

If, after working together with someone for a while, you find that it’s not equally satisfying, either fix it or let them move on to a different position that will hopefully satisfy them more fully.

How Not to Do it

Robert was an example of an inept manager. He owned a plumbing shop in one of the Chicago suburbs, and when it came to getting customers, he was excellent. But he just could not keep good help.

Oh, he could GET good help; he just couldn’t keep it.

Tony’s case was typical.

When Tony applied, he seemed to have the right experience, and Robert needed a plumber, so Tony got hired.

The first day, Tony went out on a repair job, did it quickly and returned to the shop.

Robert asked him how he’d handled the repair.

Tony told him, but instead of positively reinforcing Tony by telling him that he’d done a good job, Robert started telling him how he could have done it differently.

Now, plumbing is like most trades and professions. There are a lot of different ways to do any given task.

And that was where Robert fell down. He couldn’t share the power. No matter how a man did a job, he COULD have done it differently, and so that made Robert right and the employee wrong.

Tony started out a fast, capable worker with lots of confidence, but pretty soon he began taking longer and longer to do every task. He’d get out to the job, and instead of figuring out how to do the repair, he’d waste a bunch of time trying to guess how Robert was going to say he SHOULD have done it.

Of course that was a losing game. No matter HOW he did it, another way was “better.”

So Robert always had plumbers coming in hard-working, fast and confident, then ending up slow, hesitant, and resentful.

Oh, about Robert — he was my father. And he ran our family the same way he did his business. So take it from me; if you want your employees and subordinates to enjoy their jobs, let them be right when they earn it. Cheat them out of that, and you’ll cut your own throat as a manager.

This principle holds true in every interpersonal situation. Look out for the welfare of the other person (while also keeping an eye on your own), and you’ll always be surrounded by people eager to help you achieve anything.