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Why Consideration of Others Counts for So Much

By Sandy Schroeder

Little things that we do every day to be considerate of others may have way more power than we realize.

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer captured it, saying, “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.”

Those little thoughtful gestures that we make can add a warmth and spirit of goodwill to the day, helping us interact more easily with others.

Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, a service agency for many Fortune 500 companies, explored the thought recently, explaining how it works and why it is so good for all of us.

How to Get Started

Think of the most considerate people you know, and what they usually do. Then give it a try.

Be on time – Always being late can tell others that you really don’t value their time as much as you do your own, or you are just careless and not really motivated to make the effort.  Doing your best to be prompt gets everything off to a good start.

Know how and when to apologize – If you really blew it, say so and mean it. If you do not need to apologize, don’t. Being sincere and saying so when you have made an error is common courtesy that builds ground for future trust.

Put yourself in other people’s shoes – When you make requests from others, imagine how it will impact them. I had a boss who ran a huge center and was especially skilled at this. He would come to a meeting with assignments and know just who to ask and how, because he made it a point to know his people.

When in doubt, smile – I had a friend, who navigated several tricky situations in a complex workplace, simply by pausing and smiling, when things became complicated. She had a good sense of timing, and a marvelous smile. I watched her use both to great advantage, frequently saving the day. However you use a smile, you might be surprised how well it works to turn away anger and soften moods.

Look before you leap – Sometimes when the pressure builds, it is all too easy to insert sarcasm, or some other negative reply.  Some people turn this into an art and keep going because they make people laugh. But the feelings of others, and the negative approach, often lingers long after the laughter fades. 

Cultivate your powers of perception – Learn to look more closely at other people as you interact, making the effort to correctly read their responses in words and expressions.  Some people can read everyone in a room in a flash. For others it takes more work. But the better you read others, the more considerate you can be with them, and the more comfortable they will be with you.

If you try some new consideration approaches, rate yourself as you use them.  You may be amazed at some of the new, positive responses that you get. 


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