It’s a curious fact, but people have a tendency to behave the way we expect them to. Even when our expectations aren’t actually true.
Psychologists first became aware of this while studying teachers. They told them that some of their pupils were potentially talented when actually they’d been chosen at random and were exactly the same as the rest of the class. But a year later, their IQ had significantly increased!
That was because the teachers were giving them more attention and were more positive and encouraging towards them.
The same thing’s been seen in online dating. Incompatible couples who’re told they’re a match flirt more, are friendlier, and surprisingly successful together.
It’s also why you thrive if you surround yourself with people who believe in you. And why toxic people can have such a devastating effect on your life.
You can even play the same trick on yourself. Like by believing that hard work will make you more capable. Not listening to people with negative opinions. Being persistent in the face of difficulties. And focusing on reasons why you’re going to succeed.
So, surround yourself with great people. Treat yourself like those ‘talented’ pupils. Believe in yourself even if nobody else does. And then you will succeed.
The same techniques can help you to handle people you don’t get along with. Just be pleasant, detached, and brief. That’s what you want from them, so behave like that toward them. Be nice, never angry, and never emotional. Always remain calm, and keep your interactions as short as possible.
As they start being a little easier to cope with, start behaving as if they like you! Be obliging, and meet their reasonable requests promptly and courteously. Give vague answers if a request is inappropriate. Tell them nothing about your personal life, and make just the smallest of small talk. Like the weather and traffic. Set boundaries by learning to say no nicely. Maintain a neutral tone of voice, so you’re seen as resolute but not aggressive.
In other words, teach them how to treat you.
You can exploit this approach further so that people begin to see you as a manager at work. Never raise your voice. Share just enough about yourself to create a bond between you and your colleagues. Smile infrequently but genuinely, make good eye contact, and have a relaxed and confident posture and manner. Unobtrusively make sure that your boss always knows all about your work. Be as courteous to juniors as you are to your boss.
Follow your organisation’s dress code plus 10 percent, so you’ll fit in and yet be noticed. Listen closely and show that you’re receptive to everyone’s thoughts. Demonstrate your values to people by the questions you ask rather than the instructions you give.
Above all, be genuinely interested in everyone, so they in turn take an interest in you. And soon they’ll start to treat you as if your career’s going to prosper. Which it will!