Fostering cooperation

  • Written by Nelson T. Dy
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 228

It makes sense

WHEN I am not writing for myself, I would also be evaluating someone else’s speech or article. Joining a Toastmasters club has trained me how to give constructive feedback. It is not simply pointing out what’s weak or wrong. It is all about how the writer or speaker can improve.

Normally, I would gladly accommodate a friend’s request for a critique. Until I received this email: “Hello, Mr. Nelson. I wrote this article, need your feedback.” There. That’s all. Not a “please” or “thank you.” He didn’t even put his name at the end of the message.

Did I do anything? Truth be told, I never acted on it for the past four months. I mean, why should I? I found his email to be blunt, rude and presumptuous. In short, I was turned off.  So his article languished at the bottom of my “to do” list.

Which brings me to today’s lesson. Do you want your workplace colleagues to help you? Be respectful. Realize you are asking them to sacrifice time and effort so that you, not them, will get something. Thus, being polite and appreciative spurs cooperation. These qualities somehow dissolve reluctance and even infuse an altruistic joy on the part of the favor-giver.

This is why I found the email demotivating. It is as if he is entitled to the favor and I have no other choice but to do what he told me to do. I know I may sound petty or prideful. But let’s be honest. Whom would you rather help? Someone who barges into your office and says “I need you to do this.” Or someone who knocks on your door and says, “Are you busy? May I have a few minutes of your time?”  
It would be a different story if he were my boss. But even then, the boss who respects his subordinates is the one who enjoys their utmost support. One way of doing that is to be considerate and say “please” or “thank you.” This may sound like old-fashioned courtesies, but it encourages the other person to go the extra mile for you.
So the next time you need someone to help you, don’t treat him like a vending machine. That’s insulting. Rather, show respect even to someone of a lower rank than yours. Consider this:  When you are in a restaurant, would you antagonize the waiter? If you do, how sure are you that he won’t spit on your food at the kitchen?
The reality is that we are more motivated more by emotions than reason. So, if you make a person feel like a hero in granting you a favor, you’re halfway to getting the task done.
Now excuse me, I have an article to evaluate.
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