It’s my last week for this Praxis project. How exciting is that?
From this past month, I’ve gotten a lot.
Read four books on social/emotional intelligence.
Connected my friend with a professional contact.
Interacted with people I didn’t know and learned a lot.
Created four blog posts on my findings.
And finally, this week, my project was interviewing my assistant manager and came away with some advice on dealing with office politics.
Here’s what I learned from interviewing my manager.
- Give difficult people a chance.
There is a time and a place to leave a job. There are times when your work environment is actually really bad and you do need to leave it. But most of the time, when you’re around people who are difficult to work with, you just need to push through and have a positive outlook. That’s something my manager told me in our interview and this was also the advice I received from this week’s book: give the people you don’t like a chance. Assume the best in their intentions and don’t antagonize them. Get to know what they are interested in. Notice what they do well and compliment them on it. It’ll do you a lot of good in the long run and you’ll be happier at work.
- Create a place where people want to come back.
Whether you’re a manager or a janitor, you have a role to fulfill and you have a responsibility to make sure others want to work with you. You may think that Janette from IT is really annoying and difficult to work with; what if you’re the difficult person too? We all have our vices and parts of our personality that aren’t fun to be around. But if you’re striving to be that person that creates a space of fun, hard work and connection, you’re going to make your job such a better place for others to work in. And it’ll do wonders for you too.
- Understand your social needs and communicate them.
Understanding how you learn is important because then you can explain to your manager why you have trouble understanding their expectations sometimes. Understanding that being in a group of five people is overwhelming but three is the perfect number will help you to better plan your next project. Knowing what it is that you need out of your workplace will make it so much easier for you to have a clear head at work, to communicate with others and know when you’ve found where you’re supposed to be.
- Addressing conflict is always going to be better than ignoring it.
When you ignore conflict, it festers. But if you address it, it will go away. It’s not easy; it’s not fun. But you’re making a better work environment if you do it. And the only way you can address it is by going to the person you have a problem with. It’s not going to be solved if you’re complaining to Susan about how Janette is a jerk. Talk to Janette. Not only will it make your job life easier, but you might also be surprised by the response: maybe Janette was completely unaware of how her actions were being taken and is not such a bad person after all.Interviewing my manager was not as hard as I expected. Try interviewing your manager. Thinking of questions isn’t that difficult. Just imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend and want to understand one of their interests or hobbies. An interview is basically the same thing, just slightly more professional. And it’s a whole lot of fun.
I recommend it.