One of the most unexpected and nicest things you can do for someone you are dealing with at work is to give something personal of yourself.

People appreciate when you expend some personal talent, work or skill on their behalf without being asked to do so. They rarely forget the experience.

For many years, five friends and I would meet on Sunday morning to play a slow game of what we called tennis. None of us were very good so it didn’t bother us that the net sagged a few inches at the center.

Over the years, the sagging got worse, but all we ever said to each other was, “The net is sagging.” We then went on to play our mixed foursomes. After a while, one of our regulars moved away and was replaced by Phil, a man of sixty who owned a small business.

On the first day Phil played with us, he, like us, said, “The net is sagging.”

On the following Sunday, to our surprise, Phil brought along his bag of tools and heavy duty sewing kit, one he used for mending sails on his boat.

The next thing we knew, without a word said, Phil was fixing the next, snipping a bit here and there and sewing the rest as straight as Wimbledon. It took him less than an hour to do the job. With that gesture, Phil, the newcomer, won the acceptance and respect of our group. He didn’t do it for that reason. He recognized that something needed doing and did it.

There will be occasions where you work alongside associates who are overloaded or have to meet tight deadlines such as annual budgets or sales proposals. If at that time you have some slack in your department, give your associate a hand in getting the job done.

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