"Touch has a memory" - John Keats
We have two pet cats that roam our farmland. Very spoiled cats. They get to romp about all day and do what cats do. They follow me around the garden – for attention and treats of course. They are outdoor cats, yet they have a kitty door, heated garage, and canned cat food. They frolic over the rocks on our pond and roll around in my Catmint flowers. There are plenty of shrubs to nap in and mice to catch. We are a cat allergic family so the outdoors is their home.
This past winter we started seeing a stray cat trailing Leo and Charlie. I quickly guessed that it was a “she”, especially when some kittens popped up this spring under our shed. 4 tiny kittens darted around the yard and scavenged food wherever they could find it – especially from our garage. My kids jumped into action and caught one of the kittens. They put him in our large empty rabbit cage as he hissed and growled away. As tiny as he was, I was hesitant to get near him, let alone touch him.
We steadfastly gave “Jinx” food and kitty treats. Slowly each day the kids tentatively touched his head as he hissed and nipped away. Then they would lightly pet his head as we crooned sweet words at him. From there we were able pet him without him acting up. We progressed to being able to pet his whole body. The kids held and cuddled him. He played with them and quickly walked up to us wanting attention. Incidentally, he also began yearning for treats and ran to us when he heard the bag crinkle. Our hissing, nipping little kitten had turned into a playful, lovable, attention seeking little guy – all because of human touch.
Our kitten experience really touched me and I’ve continued to think about it. I saw an amazing transformation in this tiny being in a span of a week. All it took was belief that this little fellow could change through the caring use of human touch and a desire to make a difference.
Guess what? We are quite similar to the little kitten. Some human care, touch, and attention also bring out our best. We all respond to someone believing in us, giving us attention, and giving us what we need to grow. Who have you helped lately with a little human attention?
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” – Leo Buscaglia
One of the things that I love about managing people is bringing out their best. People flourish when they feel empowered and know that someone has faith in them. Just a touch of interest, encouragement, and belief in someone is key. Are you ready to get human?
The power of being human to your team
· Builds commitment to values and goals. People are committed when they have a stake.
· Teams that are asked for their input and form a road map are engaged.
· Open communication bubbles up ideas and new technologies. To share is human.
· Emotional connections build trust and allegiance.
· People read non-verbal communication more so than verbal. Sharing human expression builds understanding.
· Being partners is a relationship. People who are in a human focused relationship are empowered to extend partnerships to those they work with and even customers.
· The more interest that we take in each other, the less judgmental we become. Team members don’t want to be judged and want the autonomy to grow.
· Resistance to change is a human trait. It becomes easier when people are connected to it and they don’t resist what they understand.
Just as the human touch and new emotional bond with our feral kitten changed his behavior, you too can change others by simply being human.