I wanted to tell you a story that has struck me at most. A few years ago, when I took my chance in an overseas construction firm, I learned something that I’ll never forget. My boss, Mike the general manager was sitting in his office and speaking to someone on the phone. I was shocked, when I discovered that the other guy, a full grown man, was crying!! I was curious and hid myself behind the door and listened to figure out what was going on. The other man seemed to be a supervisor in a construction project in Afghanistan, one of his employees. He was claiming and chiding about his boss, the project manager and telling my boss how he, an American citizen, was misbehaving, ordering people around and humiliating the native labors and other Pilipino supervisors. Most of all, he told Mike how he was embarrassed by his boss in front of the whole crew. The man finished his claims with an indirect threat to resign.
I watched Mike’s reactions and awaited his response. After a while, and when the other man finished talking, Mike, who usually tended to speak loudly, lowered his voice and started to talk to his employee. He guaranteed him to talk to the PM, but also mentioned the reason, why his behavior had changed those days. He disclosed that our company had trouble with its suppliers, subcontractors and even some strikes that had led to some budget cuts. After all, he apologized on behalf of his project manager and also criticized himself being too busy and not to visit “his friends” at work. Finally, he assured him to go over to the site, and get things rolling again. After Mike had finished talking, the man burst in tears again, this time thanking him and calling Mike “a great man” with a “big heart”. He was very appreciative and told Mike about his own faults and negligence during work. And he apologized, even telling him that his boss has been too patient with himself…! I couldn’t believe my ears. This “one-sided court” had turned around. To cut it short, I learned my lesson from Mike, without any long speeches. He didn’t increase his salary or make fake promises. He just listened to him. He discovered his inner pain and what had hurt him most. He respected him, so he earned his respect understandably. Mike criticized himself and lowered his position, in order to win something very very valuable: his trust. And… he achieved it. He knew that hatred is an unending cycle. The only thing that can end this is quite the opposite: Love!
When we do business, we initially tend to mistrust others. But the only thing that can bridge relations and strategic partnerships has a simple formula: L.R.L: That means “Listen, respect and love” others, so that others treat you this way.