3 Steps to More Effective People
I’m often contacted by owners and managers about how to make their people more effective. When I ask what’s prompting this interest in people development, I typically receive a response such as “our people aren’t working well together and we’re struggling to grow.” After nearly 12 years in working with hundreds of emerging growth companies, I suggest they begin with three simple steps:
1: Resolve Interpersonal Conflict
This is the stereotypical conflict – I don’t like something about you and you don’t like something about me. The source of this conflict is one of misinterpreted perception. For example, one individual perceives another individual isn’t doing his job. When actually the individual is doing his job, he just has a different approach. These situations are resolved by using individual behavior and motivator assessments to help individuals improve their interpersonal skills.
One of the greatest benefits of administering these types of assessments is the awareness individuals gain about preferred approaches to problem solving, team interaction, serving others and following procedures. They also learn that these preferences are not good, bad, right or wrong– they are just different. Understanding the differences in how others approach tasks and interact with each other is the first step toward resolving interpersonal conflict.
After reading their assessment, it’s not unusual to hear someone say: “I didn’t realize how I was coming across.” When people accept each other’s style as an expression of communication and not an attempt to get under their skin, interpersonal conflicts disappear.
2: Minimize Intrapersonal, or Me-Me Conflict
This conflict occurs when an individual has internally conflicting behavioral styles. Here are two of the most common examples:
- A person prefers to complete one task before beginning another, and at the same time has a short fuse and is energized by addressing problems quickly. This person’s high-steadiness and high-dominance behavior styles compete with each other. They struggle with being a people-oriented introvert and a task-oriented extrovert, at the same time.
- A person prefers to have all of the facts before making a decision, and at the same time is easily persuaded by others. This person’s high-compliance and high-influencing behavior styles compete with each other. They struggle with being a task-oriented introvert and a people-oriented extrovert, at the same time.
Similar to two people with these conflicting styles who are forced to work together, a single individual can have an internal conflict. They tend to over-think when they need to make quick decisions and under-think when they ought to take their time. Making decisions, especially during times of stress, isn’t easy for someone with an intrapersonal conflict. If not addressed properly, this person will begin believing that their job or the people around them are the cause of their daily frustrations.
You can minimize intrapersonal conflicts by administering individual behavioral assessments to help individuals understand their personal behavior style. The result will be a less stressed, more productive employee.
3: Eliminate Job Conflict
Job conflict may be interpersonal or intrapersonal. In either case, it occurs when management expectations conflict with an employee’s ability to meet the requirements of the job. For instance, an introverted supervisor is expected to offer ongoing positive reinforcement through one-on-one coaching and team meetings, but prefers to communicate by email and doesn’t see the point of acknowledging employees for a job well done.
Eliminating job conflict will not only save you hours of frustration, it will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee turn-over. For the past several years, I’ve used a patented custom job benchmark process to help establish key accountabilities so that I can match people with the proper skillset to specific positions. This process can also be used to benchmark a position prior to placing a new person. It can also be used to benchmark your existing people with the positions they currently occupy. As interpersonal and intrapersonal skills improve, job conflict will go away.
You don’t have to be a business scholar to understand that growth is hindered when your greatest asset, your people, are ineffective. If you want to improve the effectiveness of your people, leverage the power of behavioral assessments to resolve interpersonal conflict, minimize intrapersonal conflict and eliminate job conflict. When you make this commitment, your people will begin working together and growth won’t be such a struggle.
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Founder of RedRock Leadership