A response on Quora offers a key good insight for human interaction. It’s especially applicable when leading/managing a team, whether you’re a CEO or just-promoted supervisor.
A knight on his weary horse pulling up to house of a peasant. “Peasant, water for my horse and food and ale for me.”
Whilst eating and drinking, he says to the peasant “I am heading for the next town, what are the people like there?”
The peasant inquires “What we the people like in the last town you visited?”
The knight thinks and says, “The towns’ people were dishonest, unfriendly thieves, I was glad to leave the place.”
The peasant replied “Sadly, I think you will find the people in the next town the same.”
One week later another knight pulls up to the same peasant on his weary horse and says, “Excuse my look, but my horse and I have travelled far. If you have some food and water for my horse and also for myself, I would be grateful.”
The peasant feeds them both, with ale for the knight also, when the knight asks, “We are heading for the next town, what are the people like there?”
“What were they like in the last town you left?” asks the peasant.
“They were the most wonderful, generous people I have ever met. I was sad to leave them,” answered the knight.
“Do not worry,” said the peasant, “they are are the same in the next town.”
In other words, people rise to your level of expectations.
Not only do they rise, but they also sink when expectations are low. This is most obvious when considering the difference between schools and teachers.
Although more subtle, it applies just as accurately to the workplace.
If you want your people to trust you — trust them first.
If you want respect — offer it first.
While the list of wants is endless, the recipe for achieving them remains the same.
To get what you want, give it first.
Flickr image credit: Chuck Black