What are the motivations of people you interact with? I ask the professional, what is your perspective? Through what lens are you and others seeing your work, the organization – the world? “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity” – Dale Carnegie
People not only come in all shapes and sizes, but they come with different personality types as well. Remember, that someone’s “terrorist” is another person’s “freedom fighter”. The IT professional must be aware of such people issues. Connecting with people (bosses, colleagues, juniors, clients, public) is integral to your career development. Growth isn’t just about your software skills. What is your colleague’s reality? “We are looking at the same thing but not all seeing the same thing”. For example an ownership mentality is usually required when dealing with a client or the owner of business. Networking for a cyber centre? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. And please listen well. Never limit career growth and opportunities just to your knowledge and skills.
Growing relationships however isn’t about solving math or logic problems. We are differently wired. What motivates you is different from what motivates me. Your world view is different from mine. Our background and experiences shape our opinions. People aren’t machines; the people matter is more than an issue of getting the technology right. What is my understanding of what is happening? Can’t seem to achieve much with your IT manager? Where is she coming from? Where is she going? And how about the business executive you provide tech support to? What perspective is he using to judge me? What is my background? We may be the same age and have the same qualifications on the same job, but does that mean we will see things the same way? If children in the same family don’t think the same way why should complete strangers to think alike?
Even if your forte is technical creativity but never fail to acknowledge the power of interests, expectations and ingrained opinions. Move beyond mastering technology techniques. You cannot be on the same page with people you can’t understand. What are their interests? In addition I’m sure you know that nobody is perfect. People will assess you in terms of perceived strengths and weaknesses. You may or may not meet expectations. Sometimes, irrespective of the quality of your technical contribution, not everyone may get on board with you. Or without your knowing it your attitude and actions may stir up the wrong impressions.
What do you make of an uncooperative and unpleasant colleague who is of the opinion that the company should have promoted him rather than hiring you? This has nothing to do with your MCSE or you ability to do the job. This is life. But who said it would be easy? People’s perspectives aren’t about logic – they come from people’s reality driven by greed, fear, recognition, love, present and previous experiences, stereotyping, etc. Connecting with people is essential for career growth. But to connect in a way that makes progress, you must come to peace with the different motivations.
HAVE YOUR SAY: How important are people skills? Please share your comments, thoughts and opinions.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting