Recently I encountered a situation that I haven’t experienced for a while.
I placed a lovely young lady in a high pressure, dynamic, ASX listed company on a contract. A hands on, hit the ground running, ASAP, kind of role. Knowing her and her personality very well, she is the type of lady that will ask a lot of questions, she needs to understand why she is doing something before she does it. An admirable trait but sometimes where there are time constraints and stringent deadlines, time doesn’t permit for understanding how everything fits together on a macro level. You just need to get on and do it. Sometimes people feel confronted by so many questions.
She is getting a handover from a very experienced lady that is not only trying to download her role, but take on a new one simultaneously.
Two very different personalities, a different learning style, a different teaching style. How do we make this work so both parties obtain the desired outcome?
Not to be confused with confrontation. Not to be confused with criticism.
Communication is one of the main factors that people leave their jobs; friendships fall apart and puts added strain on relationships. It is all about having the confidence to say how you feel, communicate with the other person and try to come to some sort of understanding and acceptance in order to move forward.
If it is so crucial, why don’t people make more of an effort? Why does communication scare so many people?
Is it because you have to give something of yourself in order to get the desired outcome? Is it because when it comes to communicating how we feel, often it isn’t the easiest thing to do, not only in the workplace but in every day life. In a situation like this, where the communication is so very important, is an email going to cut it? NO.
Can emails or texts be misconstrued? ABSOLUTELY!
Talking face to face, each person is giving an insight into who they are, how they like to work, what are the outcomes they need to work towards, do they work better to deadlines? All of these things are so important. You will never get the desired outcome by initially emailing to solve this issue. Don’t get me wrong; I believe in emails, phone calls and texts where appropriate, but many situations call for good old fashioned face to face relationship building. You can see how the other person reacts, see if they are happy or sad, see if there is someone or something troubling them. These are all key factors in getting to know someone and being able to create a harmonious working environment.
My advice was to talk to this lady, face to face, maybe outside of the office; to really get to know each other, how they can make it work, what is the best way to train her so she can maximise her productivity and learning, make sure she really understands what she is doing, why it makes sense and how it all fits together.
We are all very different; but there has to be a certain level of respect and communication from both parties in order for them both to perform to their maximum. This is where leadership and management comes into the equation. In roles where you are responsible for a team, what is the best way to get you know your people?
TALK TO THEM.
Find out what makes them tick, find out what are their drivers, their demotivators, the tasks they really enjoy, the tasks that they don’t. THE MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERS AND MANAGERS HAVE A HIGH DEGREE OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE; they invest in their people, take the time to TALK to them, they can see when their people are happy or troubled, and adapt their style to make sure whatever is going on in their lives; you manage differently but still achieve the goal of maximum output. There is no single rule for managing a team of different people; it is a case by case basis. The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same don’t you think?
In my experience, I have found asking someone ARE YOU OK goes a long long way…a lot of the time people just want to feel supported and valued. Ironically, I just now received an email from this young lady! She has told me she has spoken to her colleague and they are meeting this afternoon.
Hopefully there will be a positive outcome.
Marianne Savas – Divisional Manager