The People Factor

Posted on Jun 7, 2013

Generally when we work with people who are similar to ourselves, we find that things flow smoothly and we understand each other.

However, when we work with people who are different, our differing approaches and expectations can sometimes cause issues.

Learning to work effectively with others is an important skill to develop. Make sure you remember these key things:

1.  Understand that we are all different and that’s okay! Our differing perspectives can add valuable insights into situations and prompt new ideas.

2.  Let go of the need to persuade people to adopt your approach. Sometimes we feel the need to do this because our individual approaches work for us, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to operate.

3.  Let go of your expectations for how people should work. It’s not how a task is done – it’s about achieving the outcome, so avoid trying to control the process. Doing this will also allow others to take responsibility for their roles.

4.  Understand that you’re not expected to know intuitively how people like to work. Simply ask people what they need in order to complete a task and how they like this information delivered. Once you know how someone likes to work make sure you tailor your approach accordingly and allow them the freedom to do it their way.

5.  Be clear with people about your expectations. It is always a good idea to confirm this in writing. For example, in an email confirming the task, actions and responsibilities or in a job description.

6.  Keep the lines of communication open at all times and be open to inviting feedback and queries. Let them know that you want them to ask questions and share items they are finding difficult – anything that gets in the way of achieving the outcome needs to be addressed.

7.  Bring someone objective into the situation if you are still having issues. There is nothing wrong with asking for help in these situations – it’s what you need to do to achieve your goal and cultivate a pleasant working environment. An objective outsider with skills in this area should be able to discover the core of the issue and move you both forward in a positive way.

Working with people is about respecting each other’s differences, learning to support each other effectively and ultimately achieving the desired outcome together. Taking the time to develop these skills will not only make you more effective in achieving your tasks it will also make the process more enjoyable!