When I was in the Navy, I had the honor of working with Marine Corps recruits going through basic training. That meant that I had a great deal of interaction with Marine Corps Drill Instructors. These drill instructors were the most professional class of people I have ever had the chance to work with. They were also some of the toughest.
As a matter of fact, I can only think of a couple people I have met who were tougher. The two women who worked in the front office of my children’s elementary school. Yeah, they were tougher.
These two women made Secret Service agents look like candy stripers. Demand to see the principal? Not gonna happen. Tell them to send your child down so you can beat the traffic out of town for the holiday weekend? Welcome to gridlock on the 400.
Yet there was one person who got anything he wanted whenever he needed it. Know who it was? Yeah, you know where this is going. THIS GUY! That’s who!
Want to know the secret? It wasn’t chocolate or Starbuck’s. It was something much simpler. When I asked for something, I said “Please.” When I got the help I needed, I said, “Thank you.”
See, I watched other parents walk in and DEMAND to see the principal. I saw parents who would not get off their phone, but would order these two people around, TELLING them to get their children out of class. Treatment like that immediately puts people on the defensive.
But when you treat other people with dignity and respect, it’s amazing how quickly you can find yourself on the same side.
It’s not about charm. (Trust me; I have none.) It’s not about manipulation. It’s about implementing a very simple principle. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Try it. Works like magic.