I’ll bet we would all agree that today the world is more divisive than ever! So, it's hard to move forward. Many people are spending their energy defending their thinking…..even when they should be looking at it critically and, honestly, looking at other points of view. What does that mean for us, as businesspeople?
Perhaps the energy we’re sending in one direction isn’t giving us the kind of pay-off that we ultimately will find most rewarding (and not just monetarily). Although I have some general conclusions here, I also have some exercises for managers to use with their associates to help them reach their potential.
Mister Rogers to the Rescue
The solution may be with a person who had a long-running children’s show—Fred Rogers. First, who was “Mister Rogers”? Best known from his children’s show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2000, Fred Rogers was so much more—a minister, a musician with a degree in music composition, and chief puppeteer of his show. I’ve been thinking about his legacy because there’s a new movie about his philosophies: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Mister Rogers’ Big Lessons for Us, created by Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Morgan Neville. From studying Rogers’s lessons, Neville boiled it down to one thing: radical kindness.
“He talked about grace all the time … As a minister himself, he saw the idea of grace is the undeserved goodness bestowed on you by God. In other words, being good to someone whether or not they deserve it, and whether or not you’re going to get anything back. You just do good to other people, for the sake of doing good. And that is essentially what Fred was preaching all along.”
Question: What if we were to start with kindness in our human interactions, and communicate with honest curiosity, instead of preconceived notions?
We may come up with some new solutions! A big lesson from Mister Rogers is about attaining mastery as a coach, which he did first in music, then in business. He saw potential in people that they sometimes didn't see in themselves.
As a musician, I know that only practice makes perfect. (And perfect practice makes your performance truly perfect—getting to mastery). You just don’t sit down at the piano the first time and play a Beethoven sonata Yet, too many times, I see people settling for ‘first-time performance’ as their standard. I’ve given a little book, The World According to Mister Rogers, as a gift to clients, referrals, etc. I love it because, as a musician, it has quotes that I know to be true.
Here’s one that’s so appropriate because it reminds me of what new real estate agents (and new managers) sometimes think: "When I was young (about eight or ten years old), I was trying to learn so many things all at once, things like the piano and organ and algebra and cooking and typing, and I even started to take clarinet lessons. But, I just didn’t practice the clarinet, so I didn’t learn. I think I wanted to learn by magic. ….But magic doesn’t work with learning, not with anything really worthwhile."
Note to Managers
Lead a discussion on the difference between ‘first tries’ and mastery. Brainstorm some methods to attain mastery. Brainstorm the stumbling blocks to getting better. Create some ‘next steps’ for those who want to get to mastery (get a coach, become a mentor, take a ‘how to train program, become a trainer, become a coach).
From what we do to what we can contribute let’s say you’ve mastered what you do. Then, what do you do? How about doing like Mister Rogers did shine your light and talents outward to influence others in positive ways.
The big question: What have you been doing that you can use to contribute to others’ success or life enrichment? How about making a goal for this year? It would make a huge difference in others’ lives—and yours!
Do an exercise where each person names a talent/skill they have. Then, have their partner ‘translate’ how that skill can be translated to others. Example: “People tend to tell me their secrets and their fears.” Partner: How about gaining some coaching expertise and start coaching to help people?
Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is a coach, speaker, and resource provider for the real estate and related industries. She is a former national Realtor Educator of the Year, author of 7 internationally published books and 20 training and resources.