How intentional are you about acknowledging people when you see them? Have you ever had a boss or someone you know, walk right by you as if you weren’t even there? When you are on the receiving end of what was probably unintentional neglect, it doesn’t feel good.
We all get busy in our lives, and are wrapped up in what we are doing. We get on a mission, are totally focused, and miss many opportunities to connect with people on the way. When we do, it sends the wrong message to people, and certainly will not enhance relationships.
I encourage leaders to NEVER walk by someone without acknowledging him or her, with at least a head nod, and more preferably a verbal greeting. This is the first most basic step when working on being better at Building Relationships.
Vince Lombardi used to emphasize the importance of the fundamentals of “blocking & tackling”. Personally acknowledging people is the “blocking & tackling” of building relationships.
Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airlines are two companies that recognize the importance of relationships with their employees and customers. They are renowned for their employee and customer experience, and it has led to their success. My experience with both of these organizations has backed that up. They make you feel like you are the most important person in the world by their acknowledgement and attention to you.
The Star Tribune recently ranked Glenwood State Bank in the Top 50 best places to work in the state of MN. Their people go out of the way to acknowledge and greet each other and their customers. That intentional focus on acknowledging people is one of the ways they live their values. It’s not surprising they are one of the best places to work in the state.
God puts people in our path throughout each day. We may only have a minute or two, but making effective use of that time can drive relationships. It is important that we capitalize on those times, adding value to people at every interaction.
I have found the following to aid me in becoming intentional about the “blocking & tackling” of Building Relationships:
- Be present at all times, looking for people to connect with
- Be cognizant of the fact that EVERYONE has great value
- Believe that others are more interesting than me
- Focus on being more interested than interesting
- Just ask one question! (Relationships start with a conversation and a conversation starts with just one question)
- Listen during conversations
What are you doing to be intentional about acknowledging people at every interaction?
Follow God’s example as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us. Ephesians 5:1-2
This is something I need to get better at. I tend to be the one focused on a mission and people around me are like wallpaper. I know they are there but I’m not good at giving them a verbal acknowledgement. It’s a good reminder that God puts people in our path all the time and they are there by His providence, There isn’t enough time to stop and talk to every person we see, but acknowledging with more than a blank stare would be easier If we practiced. Well, if I practiced since I’m the one who sweeps through a room full of people like I’m following a laser beam.
Jane, I really appreciate your vulnerability on this. Recognizing that it is an area that you want to improve upon is a great step. I’m sure you are not as bad as what you have framed up, but I know we could all get better with some intentional focus on being more present, and recognizing people at every opportunity!
What a great article and reminder. Of course, it is a constant challenge. For instance, if you are walking with someone and fully absorbed and present with that person, and then you pass another and another, you can easily acknowledge each person and then lose your focus with the first one. That balance is a constant struggle. I like what you say here and think our goal is: do we allow God to lead our focus and attention in each and every moment?
Skip, I so appreciate your feedback! If we do allow God to lead our focus and attention we won’t miss those divine appointments. Thanks so much for all you do in advancing servant leadership principles. You are a true blessing to everyone you interact with!!