An important skill that is easily overlooked on the road to success
- Author:Hopely Li
- Release on :2016-11-11
Taking into consideration another person's goals, interests, and beliefs is central to any relationship. It's not enough to be named team leader if you want to get the cooperation of others -- especially when the people on your team aren't your direct reports.
"Anybody at any level in any organization has to influence people who influence other people," Bradt says. "You have to co-create a shared purpose and drive toward the cause, and they don't teach you that in school."
The simplest way to learn someone else's perspective is to ask, and then listen carefully to the answer. You can also read body language and consult with colleagues.
Perspective taking is particularly useful when it comes to your boss. These days, supervisors and managers have more responsibilities and stress than ever -- typically with fewer resources. They're often doing the same job that two people would've filled a decade ago.
"You are there to help them and to make them look good. Any way you can do that, do it," says Klaus. "Look at the personal side of that boss rather than as a figurehead. Think about him or her as a person. The compassion, empathy, is really important."
Look at your to-do list. To get to the bottom, would you need to work solidly for a day? A week? A month? A quarter? You're not alone. We all have more tasks and responsibilities than hours in the day it would take to complete them. The answer is to prioritize rigorously and manage your own energy.
"The whole secret to time management comes down to saying, 'No, thank you. If I take on that project, I won't do the other ones well,' " Bradt says. If your supervisor or teammates demand that you shoulder more tasks, insist that they provide additional resources, give a later deadline, or help you decide which of your other responsibilities to off-load.
It doesn't benefit anyone to keep saying yes, whether that's to new projects, conference calls at inconvenient times, or other additional work. You'll end up burnt out with a mediocre track record.
Instead of letting other people's problems and urgent requests dictate the shape of your day, decide for yourself which tasks you need to complete personally and do well, and make those your first priority. List them on a sticky note on your wall if you need to be reminded of them when emails or calls distract you.
Along with prioritization comes the need to delegate well. If a task doesn't need to be completed by you, find someone else to delegate to, and manage the project indirectly. (The items at the very bottom of your to-do list may never get done -- and that may be OK.)
"At any level you are always delegating. You are always relying on others," Bradt says. "If you don't have too much to do, the organization is in trouble."
To effectively delegate, you must first believe the person who's taking over the task can complete it well, even if the path or the solution itself differs from what you would've done. Give clear direction, lay out parameters, make needed resources available, and provide any needed training. Then, step out of the way.
To develop any one of these skills, the most important piece is practice. Start small and persist. Ask for feedback from colleagues and mentors. And don't give up!
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