“How Are You?” Is So Much More Than a Question

My husband and I went out last night for a cherished date night.  It was a special one, in fact.  We were commemorating thirteen years of marriage at a local restaurant with great conversation, outdoor dining, Italian food and wine.

Our server quickly approached us after we were seated.  With enthusiasm and warmth, she asked us how we were doing this evening.  My husband and I both happily responded that we were great and so happy to be dining where we were.

Then I asked her in return, “How are you tonight?”

The server stopped in her tracks for a second.  She reached her hand over to touch my shoulder, and she sincerely said,

 Thank you so much for asking.  You know, most people don’t.

I have to admit, I was very surprised to hear this.  I even challenged her on it with a “REALLY?!?!”

She confirmed her truth.  “Honestly, most people don’t care how their server is,” she stated matter of factly.

I was so sad to hear this.  To me, a great server can make a dining experience…well, an experience.  They can make or break your evening, because they’re sharing your experience with you (whether you like it or not.)   So, why wouldn’t you want to engage with them?

In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell suggests that all leaders regard the importance of what he calls “the Law of Connection.”

 For leaders to be effective, they need to connect with people.  Why?  Because you first have to touch people’s hearts before you ask them for a hand.

He goes on to say that the stronger a relationship is between the two, the more willing a follower will be to help the leader.  In essence, leaders must take the time to get to know people before they can expect them to give their best in return.  They must genuinely engage and sincerely ask, “how are you?”  Simply put, leaders need to show  they care.

Maxwell further encourages leaders with this:

 People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Leaders, invest the time in your people; not just in training, resources and pay, but also in creating and strengthening connecting with them.  Take the time to understand their cares, concerns and challenges.  Your job as a leader is to inspire and motivate your people, to remove their challenges and obstacles, to unite them and build teamwork.

Doesn’t it make sense that you would need to know them to be able to achieve these things?

How could you possibly motivate or inspire people if you don’t know what they care about?  How could you focus everyone if you don’t understand their concerns and challenges enough to remove them?  How could you build teams if you don’t know their strengths?

Leaders, you must connect.  You must engage.  You must show you care.

And, it can all start with a simple and sincere, “How are you?”

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