We’ve all done it – in job interviews, in our elevator pitches, in networking conversations with potential contacts – we say those five words: “I’m a real people’s person.” We say it, but do we really know what it means?
Does it mean that you’re extroverted, gregarious, outgoing, that you make friends easily? Does it mean that you’re empathetic, compassionate, and relate well to others? Or, does it mean that you inspire others, that you’re able to work with others to maximise their productivity? Could it mean that you value others, you place their interests above your own, you’re committed to providing them with a quality service – every time?
I recently sat with this question, and I thought about the two seemingly conflicting ways that you can be a “people’s person” in a professional context.
The Manager and the Worker Bee
Whether you’re queen of your workplace castle, or buzzing about getting the job done, you need people skills in order to work successfully with others. But you need to use those people skills in different ways in order to best meet the requirements of your specific role.
It’s important to unpack this, because you might be surprised at just what kind of people’s person you are. It’s important too because having excellent people skills doesn’t necessarily make you an excellent manager of people – and this can be a difficult realisation for a people’s person to embrace!
You might look at the matrix above and think that you have traits in multiple blocks, but there is likely one block that resonates most with you.
- Are you surprised by which block you seem to be most closely aligned to?
- Have you worked with managers who were actually better service-providers, or with service-providers who should have been managers?
- What can be done when someone is in the “wrong” position for their unique skillset?
- How best can we support both managers and service-providers to use their people skills in the most productive ways?
We’d love to hear your responses – please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat further or to book a consultation to talk about the people’s people in your team!