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Six Tips on Dealing with People

Managing people is truly an art form. If you have ever had a team of people working for you, you know how challenging it can be. However, when you get the right team of people together and you’re able to teach, motivate and inspire them, you can move mountains.

I would have preferred to brainstorm about this for weeks and provide a longer, more complete list. I’ll have to save that for the book, I guess.:-) I felt like getting these six thoughts up on my blog right away. To wit, here’s an incomplete list of six tips on dealing with people.

1. Stop beating around the bush. People (men especially) hate begging for answers. Clear, concise communication aids in team-building. However, keep in mind that bluntness, rudeness and honesty all occupy the same grey area. Do your best to pick the right shade.

2. Don’t bother telling people to “just relax” when they’re upset. It’s not helpful. It only makes it worse. For you, It may be a time to say nothing. Listen to and absorb the venting. That’s how you can help. Bob Burg touched on this yesterday.

3. Smile. This goes SUCH a long way. Even my 7 year old has discovered this. She has noticed how the smiles she directs at people change their demeanor towards her. And she likes it.

4. Stop interrupting others while they’re talking. Even if it’s banal blabber, they desire to tell you this stuff. A person’s stories are important to them. They want you to have perspective so you know where they’re coming from. When you interrupt someone, you disrespect them at a deep level. This is hard for me. I have a terrible short-term memory and must blurt my thoughts out before I forget them. If I’m sitting with a pen and paper (or iPad and stylus), I’ll jot the thought down so I don’t forget to mention it. If I am with someone I’ve known for a long time, or if I’m having a heated discussion with someone, I just can’t wait to talk. I have to work hard to resist the urge to interrupt.

5. Follow your own rules. This goes not only for managing people that work for you, but parenthood as well. You’ve heard “leading by example” a million times, so I suppose this is the 1,000,001st time. It’s that important. Breaking this rule kills teams. An example: you run a company and throw a tantrum because your employees never show up “on time,” even though the work day has never had an official start time. So in a tizzy, you set 8:30am as the official start of the day – be on time from now on! And then you casually show up the next day at 9:45am. Boss, you can’t do that! This happened at one of my previous jobs, and it made it increasingly difficult to take anything the boss said seriously. It was predictably unsettling.

6. Are you capable of walking in another man’s shoes? Can you truly see things from another’s point of view? If we as humans could do this, we’d likely eliminate half the wars we fight. While that would decimate the defense industry, it would keep more families, friendships and teams together. Even in difficult situations that seemingly require an immediate decision, try to take the time to discover what motivates others. Not only will this help you make the most reasoned decision, but it will better prepare you for the next time a challenging situation arises. For instance, from a business perspective, I can say this: the goal of a business negotiation should not be to defeat the other side, but to work together for mutual benefit. That more properly sets both sides up for deal 2, 3 and so on.

Leave a comment below and give me your tips 7, 8, 9 and 10!


  1. Roxannemiller1 says:

    Great list, Chris. I would add #7: Always respect others. Examine your own assumptions about others and treat them as you would want to be treated. In other words, remember the Golden Rule.

  2. Good stuff Chris…my number 7 would be to treat people like adults. To often, it seems to me, managers get hung up on measuring the wrong things…did you leave early, did you come in late, did you make too many personal calls, etc…instead of focusing on measuring the performance on the assigned work, which to me, is the one thing that actually matters.

    • Thanks Greg! I have to agree. Too often, teams are unfortunately comprised of people that require a more hands-on approach. That might mean that the hiring process deserves a bit more attention

  3. Step 5 is sometimes the hardest thing to do, isn’t it?

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