camaraderie and productivity involve relating to others across a chasm
of significant behavioral differences. Improving your "people skills"
helps you figure out how to bridge the gap between yourself and others
thereby making the organizational climate more supportive and
Now is a
perfect time to assess the office atmosphere in your organization. (Why
wait another second?) Is it often tense because individuals lack the
people skills of communication, flexibility, and accommodation? Are
individuals free to focus on the goals of the organization instead of
climbing the walls thrown up by misunderstanding and opinions hardened
Statistics say that you spend
about 80% of your time communicating during any given day. If you are
normal, you spend about 80% of that communicating time puzzled about the
perceptions, views, and responses coming from co-workers, peers, and
family members. You might even wonder what UFO dropped them off and
forgot to pick them up.
These tips will help you
depuzzle human behavior:
Accept the fact that there are four main styles of functioning and you
represent only one of the styles. Therefore 75% of the world sees life
differently than you do. To de-puzzle behavior, accept the other person
"as is"–just the way they are. You will never change them to see your
exact point of view.
Focus on the strengths of the other person, not the liabilities.
Contrary to the way some people believe and act, they do have
weaknesses. No one is perfect in every way. So de-puzzle them by
separating out strengths from weaknesses.
Take note of their activities. Where
they invest their time tells you what they value. Do they volunteer for
problem-solving or risky projects? Are they involved in associations or
ad hoc committees for improvement? Do they take extra time for their
children’s activities? Are they involved in a political party or a
religious group? Make quiet observations. You will learn much.
Observe their desk and how they dress. Are their desks meticulous? Do
they dress in a casual way or a flashy way? People who have super clean
desks often like extreme detail in presentations and support materials
presented to them. People who dress more casually usually have a more
relaxed and "homey" way of relating. And people who are flashy dressers
tend to like action and fun activities.
5. Their reasons, not yours.
Understand people do things for their own reasons, not for yours. Find
out what their reasons are and you can influence them in an
6. Generational differences.
Place them into their
generational perspective. People who are Baby Boomers see work and
relationships very differently than the Generation X’ers. Each
generation has its special needs. Listen to them. Ask them questions.
You will discover how to design your interactions to fit their age and
perspective of life.
7. The stress factor.
Realize that people who are under
stress are always puzzling. They act in strange, irrational, and
immature ways. Don’t try to understand them if they are angry. Let them
vent and calm down. If they are frustrated and overwhelmed, help them
work through their problems. As you talk with them, offer insights and
alternative viewpoints. Usually people under stress have tunnel vision.
8. Learn how to disagree, but
still be friends. Everyone
wears a sign that says, "Don’t make me wrong, just kindly disagree."
Giant steps are taken in mental and emotional growth when you understand
that conflict is not necessarily good or bad, it just is and forever
will be. In order to de-puzzle conflict, let it be a tool for generating
ideas, then taking each other’s opposing ideas and creating a better
9. Offer respect.
The highest form of respect is to listen intently to other’s thoughts.
Don’t dismiss an idea before the person who originated it is finished
explaining how it will work. If you do, you may wonder why their
behavior is cool and stand-offish. This puzzling behavior, however, is
10. Try a little charisma.
Smile at them. Compliment them. Sincere and deserved flattery will still
get you everything–including relationships that are more open and
honest. Why? Because at our warp speed of life, not enough time is taken
to be friends and to give sincere thanks for hard work and extra effort.