Going Along to Get Along – The Art of Working With People You Don’t Like 1

grumpy ladyYou may not like some of the people you work with – but the truth is – you need to learn how to get along with them. Think of a job that you could do in your life time that didn’t involve working with people. You’d be hard pressed to come up with one.  Dealing with difficult people and challenging situations is a learned behavior. You just need to decide if it’s worth it. But trust me – If you are looking for a career in sales, owning and operating a business some day or managing and leading others then it’s not open for debate – the ability to get along with others is a must have.

Think of someone you are having difficulty connecting with. You don’t know why but there is something about them that drives you crazy. There is something about them that makes you want to pick up a heavy object and smack them across the side of the head. Before you do something that might get you arrested give this 3-step process a try. Remember – you don’t have to like them you just need to learn how to work with them. The 3 R’s will teach you how.

Rapport: Find out something about them that you could use to strike up a conversation. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children or grand children? What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they like to hunt, fish, play golf or read books? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they like. You need to get them talking. Idle chit-chat is important to establish rapport. And you need to establish rapport to move to the next level. You can’t develop a relationship with someone until you’ve established rapport first.

Relationship: Successful sales people understand the value of developing a relationship with their clients. People like to do business with and buy products or services from people they like. You need to develop a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You need to develop a relationship with the people you’re going to manage or lead. No one wants to let a friend down. If they like you they will go to great lengths so they don’t disappoint you. You need to develop a relationship before you can move on to the final step – respect.

Respect: The final step in this 3-step process is respect. If you have established a rapport and developed a relationship with the people you work with and interact with, then chances are they will respect you for you. They may not like what you said or what you did but, they will respect you and will most likely forgive you. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. You must give it to get it. You can’t demand it. People respect people that they have developed a relationship with.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics including; communication, time management, coping with stress and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com

Team Work Sucks! – In Defence of Introverts Everywhere 8

Gen Y 2I`ll try not to be too cynical here – but give me a break. Do teams really work? I know dolphins do it, whales do it, and even orcas, lions, and wolves do it too but, do we really accomplish more working in teams? I know teams and team work makes for a great sound bite. But in the real world – your world – does it really make that much of a difference? Research conducted by Susan Cain and published in her New York Times – best-selling book “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” paints a different picture. According to her research not everyone performs up to their full potential in a group setting. I know in a perfect world together everyone achieves more but after reading her book you may change your mind.

Worth Remembering … ” A strength over – used or used in the wrong situation, can become a weakness” – Unknown 

Generally speaking extroverts tend to be assertive, dominate, direct and decisive. They make quick decisions when others on the team cannot. They will confront tough issues or situations, accept change as a personal challenge and keep the team focused on the task at hand. Extroverts work well in a team environment as long as they are in a position to influence the direction the team is headed. They like to be in charge and lead the charge. They may come across to others as being unapproachable and insensitive to the needs of team members. (It’s their way or no way)  However, in a team environment their very vocal – in your face  – out-going and gregarious personality could stifle creativity. Listening to a difference of opinion is not their strong suit. They are comfortable with conflict.

On the other hand introverts – according to Carl Jung – are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling. They tend to listen more than they talk, think before they speak and work more slowly and deliberately – tackling one problem at a time. Other team members may see limitations because they act aloof , appear to be shy and prefer to work alone. They dislike conflict and would rather sit quietly in a corner – not offering an opinion for fear of making waves and getting noticed. They prefer to maintain status-quo and fly under the radar. They need a quiet space  to contemplate and reflect. They aren’t comfortable making quick decisions. They make decisions based on fact not emotion. The course of action taken must be logical and correct as they see it.

Worth Remembering …  “The task of an executive is not to change human beings. The task is to multiply performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals” – Peter F. Drucker. 

The tide may be turning. Team work and working in teams may not be all it’s been cracked up to be. Recent studies suggest that the open office concept made popular in the late 90’s and early 20’s is reverting back to the cubicle. Studies conducted by the likes of Marvin Dunnette, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister have shown that performance gets worse as group sizes increase. (Too many cooks spoil the broth) The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is of the highest priority” says the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.

Can extroverts and introverts work together on the same team and accomplish more? That will depend on the team leader – a team leader who understands the strengths of everyone on the team and gives everyone the opportunity to do what they do well. You can’t put a group of people together, call them a team and expect them to perform without teaching them what it means to be part of a team and how to be a good team player.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission. briansmithpld@gmail.com

Leadership Lessons – Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within

Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within. Hats off to Lowe’s who posted that sign outside of their newest location under construction. I spent 30 years in the retail business both as a general manager and business owner –  so that sign naturally caught my attention. The one-on-one service that you provide to your customer is the only competitive advantage that you have. It’s not your product or service. It’s not your selection or price. The only competitive advantage that you have to set yourself apart from your competition is the level of customer service you provide.

Every time you come in contact with a perspective client it’s a moment of truth. Every time you come in contact with a perspective client they get to decide if they want to continue to do business with you or not. And most often that decision is based upon the way they feel they have been treated. When was the last time you had “Wow” customer service? When was the last time you got “So-So” customer service? I’ll bet the “So-So” out numbered the “Wow” ten to one. (Ten so-so to one wow)

You don’t need to like everyone you come in contact with – But if you want to get repeat business you need to learn how to get along with them. The same holds true with the people you work with.  You don’t have to like them or socialize with them – But you do need to learn how to interact and collaborate with them. If you’re the one who gets to pick who is on your team you need to make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people who like being around people. Managers and business owners need  to make sure they hire people who like  helping people. You can’t afford to have someone on your team who is turned off and have tuned out. You need to be just like Lowe’s and hire people who are “Fluent in Friendliness” and get rid of the ones who aren’t.  🙂

 

If You Think They’re Listening – Best Think Again

Do you feel at times that your staff are turned off and have tuned out? Are you finding it difficult to motivate others? How challenging is it for you to attract or retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a semi-annual employment engagement index published by the Gallup Management Journal suggested that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed admitted that they where not engaged – while 17% said that they where actively disengaged. These disengaged employees where busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what their engaged co-workers where trying to accomplish.

In his book , “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” author Tim Rutledge explains that an engaged employee is an employee who is willing to invest their time and energy to insure that the organization succeeds. He surmised that truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work. They are loyal to each other – committed to doing what ever it takes to accomplish individual and team goals. Engaged employees understand that if the company wins – they all win.

Worth Remembering … “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the World on your shoulders. The World would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously” – Norman Vincent Peale

Meaningful change is top down never bottom up. If you want to engage your employee’s heads, hearts and hands it must start with you. You need to invert the triangle and put your people at the top. The phrase “Our employees are our most important asset” must mean something. People hear what they see – not what  you say. You can start the process by applying the three “C’s”

Connect: Managers must show they value their employees. Trust and respect don’t come automatically just because you’ve been given the title of manager. You need to earn both – one employee at a time. Get to know your people for more than the work that they do. You need to establish rapport – in order to build a relationship – that eventually leads to mutual respect. People like to work with people they like. How much fun are you to be around? Would you work for you?

Contribute: Employees want to know that their input matters. That what they are doing is contributing to the organizations success in a meaningful way. You and I both know that there is a number of ways to accomplish the same thing. Solicit their input. People like to put their own personal stamp on things. It doesn’t have to be just your way to get the same result. Resist the urge to micro-manage. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You must give up control to get control.

Collaborate: Great managers and leaders are team builders. Together Everyone Achieves More is not just a fancy sound bite.  Studies show that those teams that are committed to each other out perform individuals and teams who are not.  Good teams don’t happen by chance. You can’t expect to throw people together – call them a team – and expect them to perform that way. Let everyone know what is expected of them. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing – so tear down those cyloe’s , eliminate the individual sandboxes and build collaborative teams – one team player at a time.

For the first time in our life time we have the potential of working with four different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates and interacts differently. Each generation have their own set of values and are motivated differently. But the one thing that will never change is that people are people – and they all want to be treated as people. EQ (Emotional Intelligence) – often referred to as soft-skills – is now considered a more valuable commodity than IQ. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be the most successful manager or business leader in the room.  You just need to get everyone on side. Applying the 3 C’s is a great start.