People Management Tips

  Hort Snacks - August 2018
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 People are complicated. As convenient as it might be to have everyone act in a predictable way in each and every situation, I think that it would quickly become boring. Fortunately (or unfortunately), interactions with people (customers and/or staff) are never necessarily predictable or uniform. It requires considerable thought and effort for us to come through person-to-person interactions, with a (subjective) favourable or desirable outcome.

One of the keys to successfully managing human interactions is seeking and gaining UNDERSTANDING. Eleanor Roosevelt said “Understanding is a two-way street”, while the Greek philosopher Plato said “No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.”

Understanding doesn’t just relate to knowing what is going on right at that moment, but also includes gathering any applicable background information. It is also important to understand the situation from the perspective of the other person (i.e. get the other side of the story). It is easy to make snap judgements and rulings based on a cursory, superficial glance, but it is wiser to invest an appropriate amount of time, listening, asking questions and then clarifying, so that you have a full and complete understanding. You can then employ empathy, sympathy, correct behaviors/mistakes, guide/mentor, comfort or whatever is necessary to ensure that both of you emerge from the interaction positively. Tibetan leader, Lobsang Tenzin, said “Communication will bring understanding and understanding will cause harmonious mutual relationships which can establish peace and stability.”

When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it's like giving them emotional oxygen.” – Stephen Covey

The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.” – John Locke

Another key is really just a tool to gaining understanding, but since most humans are really good at it, it bears mentioning. LISTENING, truly effective listening, is critical if we are to understand people, as well as their needs and wants. It is an essential element of communication. Boy Scouts founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, taught “If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” I’m not a big Trekkie, but William Shatner made an interesting observation about listening. He said “Why does the lizard stick his tongue out? The lizard sticks its tongue out because that's the way it’s listening and looking and tasting its environment. It's its means of appreciating what's in front of it.”

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill

Personally, I think that EXAMPLE is one of the most powerful ways of managing people. I’ve always been a lead-from-the-front (or at least the upper middle) kind of person. I try and demonstrate what is important to me by what I do. I’ve always tried to show that if I am asking someone to do something, it’s because I’m prepared to step up and do it myself, if necessary. If I’m asking someone to work alongside me, I’m actually going to work ahead of them as much as I can, not stand back and watch it get done. To me, example is a tangible demonstration of commitment, whether to a relationship, principles, or whatever it might be.

One of the most important actions, things a leader can do, is to lead by example. If you want everyone else to be passionate, committed, dedicated, and motivated, you go first!” – Marshall Goldsmith

In motivating people, you've got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example - and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” – Rupert Murdoch

There are volumes written on management people, from all sorts of perspectives. However, if you focus on being genuine, listen to understand and act in a way that is respectful, considerate and consistent, you’ll find your way.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on July 30, 2018.