Kathy Murphy

Each day every one of us has an opportunity to positively impact the life of someone else. Yet, when I see some people’s actions, I am disappointed with how many people miss or are not aware of the ability to do so. Consider thinking about this today, and some of the actions you may have taken. If you could, would you want to apply a do over to any of them?

Being consciously aware of our actions, and thinking about how we always have a choice about which direction to apply our impact is critical. So, why don’t more people seemingly do this? Is it because no one gave them permission to help versus hurt someone with their impact? Perhaps the modeling they had growing up wasn’t constructive, and they are mimicking what they witnessed? Or, possibly they are not aware of their destructive choices and actions, and the outcome of them.

Yes, it may seem ridiculous that some people are unaware of their impact, but I guarantee you that this is happening more than we might like to admit. What is contributing to more people having a negative impact on others? Many factors, and ones we are all contending with. Let’s start with an easy one. Social media. I picked this one, as you are hopefully positively benefitting from the impact of it by reading this article.

For some, it appears they consciously or perhaps unconsciously leverage the power of social media as a weapon, versus a gift. I prefer to have the tool of social media work favorably for others. That’s my way of positively having an impact on a global audience.

Let’s take the concept of impact into the work place. Or, for those of you who love sports, let’s apply this to your favorite sports platform. In either scenario, there are numerous opportunities for both the leaders of each scenario to widely and favorably impact their groups every day. The easiest way for them to do this is to verbally or in writing let their team members know they appreciate the work they are doing. As you know this doesn’t cost anything to do, and most would refer to this as praise. When praise is authentically given, it has an enormous positive impact on others.

So, what are some of the other ways people can have a positive impact on those they interact with? Here are some suggestions to get you started, and moving in the direction of potentially counter acting any negative impact you unknowingly are causing.

  • Everyone has a degree of empathy. Some more than others. However, regardless of the amount you have, if you notice someone is having a tough day or moment, tell them you are aware of this. Also, ask them if there is anything you can do to help them.
  • Giving someone an opportunity to be listened to, and truly heard can be enough to have a positive impact.
  • Carve out more time to help someone. It could be as little as 5 minutes, but it could make a world of difference in their lives, or in the work they are doing, or with something they are trying to master in the sports realm.
  • Look around. Do you see who might need some additional support? If so, then either directly offer to help them, or talk about who else can be involved with doing this. You don’t always have to take on the full responsibility of helping someone. There are times when it is better to also involve someone else in the effort of doing this.

Let’s assume you are having a positive impact on others on a daily or regular basis. What if you are dealing with someone in your life, on your team or in your workplace that is having a negative impact on others? Here are some suggestions for how to contend with them, and to potentially turn them around. At a minimum, to make an attempt to do so.

  • Ironically, many who are not having a desired impact on others are often unaware of their behavior. Yes, it will take courage, and perhaps more than one conversation, but someone needs to confront this individual. If you are in a workplace and work at a company who has a Human Resource (HR) professional, seek out their assistance or obtain guidance from them prior to your conversation. If you do not have access to an HR person, Google will be your best friend to provide advice on how best to initiate the conversation with the individual, and what questions to ask them.
  • On or coaching a sports team? The common thread between sports and work scenarios is communication. Strong and clear communication with someone who is having a non-desirable impact is the first step in changing this behavior. In other words, having the person acknowledge and then understand via talking how their impact is not having the type of outcome they think it is having. Will this be an easy conversation? No. Will it have an immediate positive impact? Yes, and no, but the first goal will be to get the person to a neutral place and in a non-judgmental frame of mind to have the eventual desired positive outcome from having them acknowledge their negative impact.

Since I always like to challenge both myself and others, my request is for you to keep a running tally (e.g., positive or negative impact) for a minimum of a day, ideally for a week, on your work place or sports team interactions. The goal will be to help you to determine whether you are having more positive or negative outcomes on others. You know which category you want to be in, so go make this happen.

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