March 31, 2015   by

Some of us are introverts and not really into mixing with people. However if you are going to run a Chama successfully, it would be a good idea to learn the ropes on how to be a ‘people-person’ even if you are naturally reserved. The truth is, anyone can become a people person that is, anyone can acquire the behavior skills others find attractive.

Be Empathetic

Be Empathetic

Here are some skills that will make you seem friendlier, more approachable, and come across as a more appealing Chama leader to your members.

Warm up your face

Have you ever been in a meeting with someone who avoids eye contact? It’s unnerving, right? How about someone whose face is in a frown even when in a resting position? Try looking directly at the person you’re speaking to, and try smiling. Even when delivering tough news, watch your facial expressions.

Put yourself in their shoes

Step out of your shoes and step into the shoes of the person you’re speaking with. Here’s the hard part: Do this even if you disagree with the person. Empathy is not about being right or wrong. It’s about understanding where the person is coming from and relating. For example: Mary had a member of her Chama sitting with her with a huge grievance about something that she thought was silly. She tried to relate and understand how her member felt. “That must be hard” was a powerful and effective phrase that had a tremendous impact. It doesn’t mean that you agree with the person’s viewpoint, it just means that you recognize that a particular challenge is hard for them.

Share your story

To be a great leader, you have to let your guard down just a little bit. Sharing experiences you have had, even difficult ones, often inspires members. When someone is feeling frustrated, listen to them, and then share a story about how you were once frustrated in the past. Also share how I handled it. Warm leaders share stories, not judgment, and allow people to come to their own learning from your shared experience.

Don’t be too soft

Don’t mistake warmth for being a total softie. Leaders need to lead, and that means making really tough decisions. A warm leader is able to communicate tough decisions in a gentle manner and is able to make their team feel supported throughout the experience.

Act enthusiastic, even if you’re not

When someone tells you news she seems excited to share, be ready with a response that lets her know that you’re with her. “That’s great” and “congratulations” are always appreciated. Or just, “Wow! Thanks so much for sharing that!” When you greet people, give them a big smile and a big hello. They’ll remember you a leader who seemed really happy to see them and make them feel good.

Listen harder, talk less

One of the easiest ways to be perceived as a people person is to listen more. People love to talk about themselves. They see superb listeners as smart, empathetic people. Being a great questioner is also good for you–as long as you keep asking questions about the other person.

Remain calm

If you’re the type who gets upset when you receive negative news, or sneers when a Chama member says or does something you disapprove of, it’s a good idea to learn how to keep a calm face and keep your mouth closed. You’re smart enough to stop making knee-jerk comments or reacting with snap judgments. Recognize that you can learn from constructive criticism, and sometimes, by adjusting to it, it can prevent big problems in your Chama. You’re free to think the person criticizing you is silly, of course, but never let your words and expression betray you.

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This post was written by Martin Njuguna

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3 Comments

    Cavs
    on June 10, 2015, 12:21 PM

    Thank you very much for sharing your brilliant ideas about chamas. We are just starting and these tips are very helpful.


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