How to manage as well as you operate

27 October 2003 by
How to manage as well as you operate

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Recognise individual differences - and do something about it

According to psychiatrist and human resources professor Dr Elias Porter, we base our working performance around one of the following roles:

  • The "doer" is assertive and directing
  • The "supporter" is altruistic and nurturing
  • The "thinker" is analytical and independent

Interaction between different types can cause conflict. For example, imagine a head chef (a doer) becoming frustrated with having to wait for the stock-taker (a thinker) before completing his ordering, or a finance director (a thinker) becoming frustrated with the HR director (a supporter) for spending money on staff welfare.

If you can recognise the roles and traits of others, you will be able to work with them more effectively. Thus you will develop better working relationships, create better teamwork, and achieve better results.

Gaining rapport

According to studies on communication carries out by Professor Albert Mehrabian, 93% of messages received are non-verbal. It is not what is said that is key, but the way in which it is said. One of the reasons for the lack of rapport between departments - for example, between the kitchen and the restaurant - is that people are speaking at different speeds and volumes and this inevitably causes disharmony. To get on, you need to be like them. It's a known fact that people like people who are like themselves.

Dealing with conflict

In his book I'm OK - you're OK, Thomas A Harris refers to the three behaviours that we use to respond to all situations - Parent, Adult, and Child. The autocratic or Parent approach of "I know best" will encourage the childish response "Says who?" or "Get lost!"

The Adult approach is what we should all aim for. This means giving clear factual (not emotional) responses with reasons, while at the same time respecting the other person's point of view.

Choosing your response

People often learn to respond to a situation in a certain way. They often pick up this response from their peers. However, this may not be the best response.

The key is to separate yourself from the process and learn a new response that works for you. When you become emotional you are immersed in the moment. By observing and standing aside from the situation you will have an opportunity to consider your response. This isn't easy - it is much simpler to respond automatically - but by doing this you could find more productive ways of dealing with situations. This will, in turn, boost performance and the harmony in your workplace. These new, more positive responses will, after a while, replace the unwanted habits and become automatic.

Produced by Caterer-online in association with learnpurple.

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