Working with “The People”

If there were official rules of blogging, I’ve severely violated them. I preach the importance of remaining consistent, yet haven’t updated this blog in over a year. I could blame my new job, lack of time, or just come clean. I became lazy.

I’m not the same man I was last year, and I would like to hope I’m better.

I work in “management”. If you asked me what I did, I’d like to tell you that I spend my day solving problems, I find solutions to increase our “bottom line”, or that I keep things running smoothly. The truth is, while parts of this are true, I actually spend my time in a delicate dance of dealing with people and employees.

Normally using the phrase “dealing with people” comes across as a begrudgingly terrible task that I must hate doing each day. This isn’t the case, when I say “dealing with people”, I’m referring to doing to my best to address their needs, concerns and sometimes making a minor course correction in their project path.

I’ll admit, it can be hit or miss. What I believe to be an innocent statement has the ability to be interpreted entirely differently than my intention. Is this the fault of the one receiving the message or the one sending? I’m going to go with the one sending the message. This may not always be the case, but 9 times out of 10 it’s a problem with the sender.

One concept I’m working to master is that of “the critique”. How do you explain, “I don’t like this.” to a group without coming right out and
saying it? Well, first, I don’t have this answer. I’ll be more than happy to take opinions in the comments section. What I can tell you is that for every critical point you make, you should reinforce it with something positive.

Example: “Bill, your artwork design is impressive, but you might want to rethink the canvas size. I’m confident you make a good decision, and I have faith you’ll do the right thing.”

This example was probably a tad sappy, but I hope you get the point.
The alternative could have been for me to say “Bill, that’s a terrible idea for the canvas. I’d rethink it.” Don’t get me wrong, there may be a time and place for this blunt approach, but most of the time err on the side of caution.

It’s still an emotional world out there and as humans, most of our decisions, good or bad, come from how others make us feel.

Remember this throughout your week.

Let me know how you “deal with people” in the comments.