Did you ever see Mel Gibson’s movie “What Women Want” from 2012 or the film “What Men Want” from 2019, starring Taraji Henson? The storylines of both include major motifs of character improvement vis-à-vis lead characters’ personal and professional relationships, as they become able to listen to and acknowledge the perspectives of the opposite sex. The protagonists must decide how to react towards people from whom they “heard” thoughts without letting them know they have their mental content. They also receive new perspectives on how their own selfish ways hurt themselves and others.
What if you really knew what your superior and your associates wanted? What if your supervisor knew what you want or need to be happier and more successful with your work? Oftentimes during career coaching sessions, the comment is made by someone to the effect that “He thinks I am a mind reader” or “If I could only read his mind”.
If you search Google for the thousands of articles on the topic of what employers and employees want, you will see many articles lead back to the principle of open and clear communication, as well as honesty.
Fritz Perls, the famous Psychotherapist of the 1950s developed Gestalt Therapy with his wife. He bases this therapy on self-awareness regarding one’s feelings, emotions, perceptions, sensations, as well as the importance of learning the association between oneself and the surroundings in which he is present.
Amongst his notable quotations is the following:
“I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.”
Unfortunately, the workplace has way too much of the attitude that, while it is fantastic if a good relationship happens, but if not, oh well. The attitude of “it can’t be helped” has, fortunately for those in the workplace who do care, been proven to be a choice that can be avoided. Many are currently abuzz regarding Emotional Intelligence these days, and when hiring people for your company, it is as important to interview for not only what they can do, but also what they are willing to do. Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and also to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Experts on EQ say that “emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success”. I have to agree.
Communication styles, values, aptitude, and attitude come to the fore and are critical for the success of projects, people and businesses. We all have the free will to follow through with we say we will do, and to or communicate in a professional manner.
So often we hear of people who work or have been married for years, saying they finish each other’s sentences or know what the other person wants in order to be happy, comfortable, prepared, or content.
How do we get this level of understanding in the workplace, especially for relationships that may be short term for merely the duration of a project?
- Never look at your job as a job, but rather as a career. You can come into contact with people you meet today a day from now, a month from now, or even years from now.
- Take time to listen to the still-small voice and notice other people’s body language before reacting.
- Look at what you can do for others, rather than merely what others can do for you. If you need information, send a kind reminder. If you are running late, take time to call. Little things go a long way.
Most importantly, be willing to ask for help when you need it. So many people avoid situations in the workplace because they are afraid to show vulnerability. A key component in building trust is vulnerability. Sharing struggles and personal difficulties is about connecting with colleagues and understanding their perspectives and their lived experiences. When you do this, you can build teams that play to people’s strengths, and accommodate and include everyone.
You may not be able to read minds, but you can connect with others by using your brain to be conscientious.
To discovering what others want,