In order to network effectively we need to be able to both empathize with others and to receive human kindness from them. People of power often struggle to do either but once they can they are able to exceed even the heights they have already achieved.
The mantra of social media networks, such as Ecademy and Facebook, is that you should give, give, give and then in subtle ways you will receive.
For some users, bent on using these networks to promote their businesses, this can prove tough. Indeed, it is probably one of the commonest reasons why they find that social media networking doesn’t work for them. It isn’t that it doesn’t work for them, it is that it doesn’t work that way.
Of course, the idea that those who are the most generous with their time and energy helping others will benefit in the long-term isn’t new. Most Faiths have it embedded in their doctrine somewhere. In fact, you could interpret the Golden Rule (the one tenet of life that appears in the holy writings of every mainstream Faith) – that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you – as meaning just that.
One of the most important qualities for any leader to have is the ability to empathise. Undoubtedly, some are very good at it. Others struggle and, quite often, I find myself working with highly successful, very powerful people, who have reached their pinnacle through hard work and dedication rather than their people skills. They are often frustrated because they feel they have reached a plateau and don’t realise that is their lack of empathic qualities that is holding them back. A few are so extremely uncomfortable socially that, had it been identified at school, they would probably have been told that they were somewhere on the scale towards autism.
Now, if you take someone who finds it hard to empathise, and ask them to network in person, they will struggle. But expect them to manage a social media network and they will generally find it very hard because few of the clues they need to tell them how the other person is feeling will be available to them.
They may be nagged, cajoled, parodied, mocked, or simply receive aggresive responses from fellow networkers because their approach is seen to be shallow, naive, and especially, selfish. This is often the kind of response that they have had to endure throughout school, in their family, at college or university and then at work. It reinforces their sense that they have to do things by themselves and fuels their determination.
Often the turning point for someone in this position is when something happens that they didn’t expect, and someone, who they didn’t know, does something for them that is beyond anything they would do for anyone else. It is receiving this simple act of human kindness that awakens them to a whole world of emotion that had been denied for so long.
This might seem a little strange to some people reading this, but you might be surprised how seeing ME cry in response to one of their experiences can open up a new dimension to them.
For the last few weeks, the Dalai Lama has been experimenting with Social Media. The other day I wrote about another of his entries on Facebook. Well this article was prompted by another of his messages, posted today…
Dalai Lama: “Alongside our natural ability to empathize with others, we also have a need for others’
kindness, which runs like a thread throughout our whole life. It is most apparent when we are young and when we are old, but we have only to fall ill to be reminded how important it is to be loved and cared about, even in our prime …years.”
Social Media networking isn’t just about give, give, give…. it is also about receive, receive, receive – once you can do that you will really reap the rewards.
For media and speaking enquiries, please call me, Graham Wilson, on 07785 222380.
Behind the scenes, helping those of power see themselves, other people and situations differently
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