Little Things Mean a Lot When It Comes to Relationship Success

Competence is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success; Your Success GPS; and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) becoming a consistently high performer; 3) dynamic communication skills; and 4) becoming interpersonally competent.

Relationship building is an important key to interpersonal competence.  Recently, I had an opportunity to preview a great DVD on relationship building called  Little Things Mean a Lot.  The DVD is based on the work of Brigid Moynahan, founder of The Next level Inc. and a well known and highly recognized speaker and trainer.

Ms. Moynahan says that when it comes to relationships, it’s important to sweat the small stuff.  She defines three types of small stuff that can enhance or detract from your ability to build and maintain strong, lasting relationships with the important people in your life: 1) Micro-messages; 2) Micro-inequities; and 3) Micro-affirmations.

These are important concepts that deserve a closer look.

According to Ms. Moynahan…

Micro-messages are the signals we send to one another through our behavior.  While micro-messages are often small, their impact can be enormous.

Micro-inequities are micro-messages that we send to other people that cause them to feel devalued, slighted, discouraged or excluded.

Not surprisingly, micro-affirmations are micro-messages that we send to other people that cause them to feel values, included, or encouraged.

Interpersonally competent people strive to consciously avoid micro-inequities and consciously send micro-affirmations.

Ms Moynahan puts a diversity spin on her work.  While I agree that moving from an organizational culture based on micro-inequities to one based on micro-affirmations will build a more inclusive – and thereby productive and profitable – organization, I also believe there are career and life success lessons to be learned here.

Ask yourself, “When do I feel excluded, disrespected and devalued?”  If you feel this way when someone displays these behaviors towards you, others are likely to feel the same way.  That means you should refrain from using these behaviors in your interactions with others.

Then do just the opposite.  Ask yourself, “When do I feel included, respected and valued?”  Work hard to incorporate these behaviors into your daily interactions with others.

In short, Little Things Mean a Lot presents some powerful common sense ideas for becoming an interpersonally competent person.  When you focus on sending micro-affirmations, you will be better able to build solid, lasting relationships with the people in your life.  And strong relationships are an important key to your personal and professional success.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are competent in four areas: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) consistent high performer; 3) dynamic communication; and 4) interpersonal competence.  Interpersonally competent people build strong relationships with the important people in their lives.  They do this by sweating the small stuff.  As Brigid Moynahan points out in her great little video Little Things Mean a Lot, interpersonally competent people avoid “micro-inequities” – behaviors that demean people in small ways.  Instead, they focus on “micro-affirmations” – behaviors that encourage others and build their self esteem.

That’s my take on micro-inequities, micro-affirmations and interpersonal competence.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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