What is the most thoughtful act someone has done for you recently? Struggling to think of something? You’re probably not alone.
We all have plenty of things trying to get our attention every day. Deadlines, crises, news events, and every cellphone interruption you can imagine. How can we be considerate of others while just trying to survive?
Why Being Thoughtful Is Important
It turns out being considerate of other’s needs is good for us too. Our brain is triggered by being thoughtful. That’s right. Chemicals that make us feel great are released by kind things we do for other people, including those we manage and lead.
Being a thoughtful leader means noticing when others might be in trouble or drawing people out by your warm acceptance.
Other people notice when we are thoughtful. Who would you rather work with? Someone who is rude and selfish or someone who puts others first? Someone who knows how to adapt their emotional response in tense situations or someone who just blows their top?
How to Be More Thoughtful
You probably already know someone who shows consideration for others. So, what’s their secret sauce? It turns out anyone can learn a few habits that quickly show others just how thoughtful you are.
- Smile more often. This is an easy one for me. My mom always modeled this behavior, even when she wasn’t feeling at her best. A smile might take some effort but almost always is returned.
- Monitor your emotions. Today’s public figures often act out in the moment. Okay, so the adrenaline is pumping and it’s hard to control one’s behavior. But when you maintain your composure under pressure it sends a positive message.
- Don’t be late. It’s inconsiderate to keep others waiting. Sure, traffic slows us down and we might sleep through the alarm. However, consistently showing up late can make others think you are just being rude.
- Be quick to apologize. That’s right. Saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it shows others just how thoughtful you can be. Mistakes will be made. Regretful things will be said. An apology helps clean up the mess.
Since I’m often focused on getting things done and doing them well, I can overlook these helpful habits. It takes emotional energy to put myself in another person’s shoes. My logical lens doesn’t leave much room for empathy.
Regardless, I have learned to enjoy opening the door for my fellow Wawa customers, smiling at my neighbors when taking my daily walk, and showing up early for even the most routine appointments. It feels good to know that thoughtfulness is another way a leader can have a positive impact.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com