A “people person” is liked by other people, has great communications skills, makes great leaders, and attracts people that are similar to them. If you aren’t a “people person” whom and what are you attracting and how does that affect your business?
“The greatest thing about business is the people. The worst thing about business is the people.” ~Unknown
I have been told this and I have shared it numerous times when I or my clients are challenged with the interaction of employees, clients, suppliers, contractors, and freelancers. Like everything in life, there is a Yin/Yang relationship with other people. Even the people we love the most we are not always in love with. So why do we think that we should always love the people we bring into our business and why do we not allow ourselves time to revisit our own role in our relationships before making decisions?
I believe there are many things you can do to create amazing relationships in your business. Here are three key rules you can apply to your business relationship that will help you manage conflict and reduce lost time and money associated with that.
1) Don’t hold on to bad people.
The old rule, “hire slow and fire fast” applies here. Spend time assessing whether people are the right fit for your business relationship. Evaluate them with respect to your core business values, your vision and your mission statement. These are important tools to use when making decisions about your business relationships. If the person does not fit your values then don’t hire them. If you have already hired them and find out they are not the right fit, fire them. If you have made it past the trial time on the job, and they don’t fit, fire them with reason (do this legally) and give them the benefits they deserve. The longer you have a toxic person in your business the longer they will affect your core business values and eventually your bottom line.
2) Don’t make decisions when you are angry
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie
This applies to you as well. We all have moments (well maybe not the Dali Lama – who knows?) when our emotions get the better of us and we become angry at something or someone. Anger is a defensive emotion from our more primitive days, that helps us protect ourselves from danger. If we are angry we can protect our clan and our belonging from others that are from outside our circle. When we get angry at people that are inside our circle of connections, we are trying to teach them to fall-in-line and support the group.
The challenge with this thinking is, our anger can come from our own mistakes, can come from a feeling of betrayal, or from a situation that is unexpected, amongst other things. When we become angry our primitive brain stops asking the “thinking brain” what to do and then acts on its own. Do you really want people in your business making decisions without thinking? No, of course you don’t, so you have to ensure you also are not doing this.
3) Don’t get defensive
Being defensive is the act of immediately going to an excuse as to why something is the way it is, why you chose a specific path or made a specific decision. You may have the perfect solution, but if someone else has an issue with it, the best way to defuse the emotions and get to a solution is to first listen to their complaint, acknowledge that you have heard and understood it and then offer to talk it over with them. I look for ways to say, ‘yes’ to their request for a change, that will also support the best outcomes for the business and the people in it. Sometimes that is simply offering to sincerely listen and evaluate the situation with a willingness to make a change if needed. This means that if the other person is correct I would have to find a way to implement their perspective. If you are not skilled at conflict resolution then get someone who is to help you. I have found, in the past, that when I was sure my point of view was correct and someone else’s was wrong, that the two points were often focused on the same endpoint with two different ways to get there. That made saying yes much easier. I would never have been able to get to the resolution without first listening and evaluating their perspective and needs.
As the owner of the business, you have to model what you want others to do in your business. If you want employees that treat others, including your clients, with respect, then you had better not be ranting about another person or situation that made you angry, spouting off excuses to defend the decisions you have made. If you want to have great relationships in your business you have to learn what it takes to be a “people person”.