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The art of reading people to ignite your super-senses.
The Secret to Understanding Humans - Larry C. Rosen - TEDxsalinas

Is she someone who inspires you to go out and give it your all? Ideally, most working groups should include people with interests in all four dimensions of interpersonal work. As a manager, you are responsible for making that happen. When all team members share the same orientation, they tend to recruit other people cut from the same cloth.

There is no such thing as the perfect personality profile for a specific business function. Our research, however, has found that certain jobs attract people with particular relational strengths, whether in influence, interpersonal facilitation, relational creativity, or team leadership.

Accept each other

Interests: Individuals who excel in this field typically have a strong interest in team leadership. High scorers in this relational dimension are extremely sociable, enjoy working with customers, and prefer environments that call for a great deal of interpersonal activity.

Our sample of salespeople showed elevated scores in the influence dimension as well. As the influence score increases, so does interest in direct sales; higher interest in team leadership suggests that a sales management career is more likely. Interests: HR generalists typically score very high in interpersonal facilitation—higher than they do in influence. Of course, profiles vary from person to person and at different levels within the organization, as is the case for any functional role. It would be unusual, for instance, for a vice president of human resources in a major company to have a low score in influence.

Interests: Managers who are in their element on the front lines of customer contact, particularly in consumer-oriented service businesses, have notably high team leadership scores. These people enjoy the rapid pace, the variety, and the social element of directing a team charged with meeting the day-to-day demands of customers.

Interests: The marketing function calls for both analysis and imagination, and it is a role that focuses on human behavior. As a group, marketers are quite relational, scoring much higher than other business professionals in the relational creativity dimension and showing higher-range scores in team leadership and influence as well. Although they are a step removed from the end user, good marketers are deeply interested in the thoughts and feelings of their customers.

Individuals skilled in relational creativity tend to be very empathic—an important psychological asset for effective marketing. The fact that marketing is a team-oriented function may account for the elevated interest in the team leadership dimension among our sample of marketing managers and executives.

Interests: Living up to the stereotype, managers in science and technology in our sample had a lower average score in the influence dimension than did business professionals as a whole. None of the other three relational dimensions is notably elevated for this group, either.

Individuals within a sample group, of course, may have profiles that are substantially different from the average for that functional group. Interests: We found that the majority of financial services professionals who work in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, trading, business development, corporate development, and venture capital score high in influence.

Their interest in this dimension sets them apart from their financial services colleagues in less relationally oriented roles like accounting, financial analysis, equity analysis, and portfolio management. Interests: Communications and PR professionals in our sample scored even higher, on average, in relational creativity than the marketing people did, but notably lower in team leadership. To fill the gaps, conduct an informal audit of the available interpersonal talent pool.

Start with your direct reports, and then scan the broader organization for people with the relational skills your team lacks. Be careful not to fall prey to stereotype and overlook talent hidden in unexpected places.

Before you continue...

But managers in areas outside your own, if skilled, will be able to—and should be happy to—share this kind of information with you. It is to the significant advantage of any organization to develop a cultural norm of sharing information concerning the motivations and talents of people in various work groups.

You can reconfigure teams, combine them, break large teams into smaller work units, or, of course, introduce new members in order to fill relational gaps. An entertainment company we worked with, for example, had a group with two people who were strong in team leadership. So the company reassigned one of the people from the first group, which continued to flourish, though down one member.


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And the second group, newly infused with team leadership, picked up its pace dramatically. That will help him gain acceptance more easily. Several years ago, we worked with a division of a management consulting firm that was, for all intents and purposes, engaged in a turnaround. After several months of this, a new HR manager with a much tougher personal style was brought in.

And as a manager, your competitive advantage lies in your ability to get the most out of them. We reward what we recognize as valuable. Unfortunately, much relational work, especially interpersonal facilitation, goes completely unnoticed for what it is. The result: out of sight, out of the reward chain. For example, in , Joyce Fletcher of Northeastern University studied the work that individuals skilled in interpersonal facilitation performed in organizations.

When she shadowed a group of engineers in their daily activities, she found that their relational efforts frequently went unappreciated. Of the four relational dimensions, interpersonal facilitation is the one that is most closely identified with feminine characteristics and, perhaps as a result, the one that is most prone to undervaluation.

Five reasons behavioral interpretations go wrong

Yet the fact is, all four dimensions of relational work contribute to the bottom line—in terms of productivity as well as attracting and retaining talented people. Productivity is fueled by passion; people work hardest when their daily activities provide an outlet for their deepest interests. And many of your people can make significant contributions to your organization in this relational realm. Just as we reward what we value, people do what they are rewarded for.

As a manager and leader, it is your job not only to recognize and reward your direct reports for their relational performance but also to ensure that they do the same for their reports, and so on through the ranks. Give everyone direct feedback, and explicitly state that a portion of raises and bonuses will be tied to those contributions—keeping in mind that not all positions call for proficiency in all four areas.

You may also be able to tailor the nonfinancial rewards you give your employees. A person who is strongly interested in influence, for example, is likely to place a high value on the reward of being able to express that interest directly. Regardless of her formal work function, try to sculpt her job in a way that allows her to be an influencer. Although it may not be easy to find, be on the lookout for creative work to give to the person interested in relational creativity. A sophisticated self-analysis can be done using an assessment tool that we developed in the course of our research available at www.

Once you have a good sense of your relational profile, take some time to analyze each of your positions or assignments over the past two years. What relational profile would have led to optimal performance in each situation? How closely does that profile match your own? Where did you shine? Did a lack of interest or ability in any of the four dimensions interfere with your success? Were you able to compensate in some way? Now consider your current position. Think about areas in which you may have more relational interest than your job requires.

After all, the lack of an opportunity to express a strong interest can be a significant source of dissatisfaction. Finally, think carefully about what your next position might be, and even the one after that. What will the relational demands be?

Where will you naturally excel, and where will you probably run into trouble? Think about how you can sculpt your future positions so that they are more closely aligned with your relational strengths. If it is clear that you will need to develop a stronger capability in a dimension you have little interest in, try the following suggestions for building the appropriate skills.

Be warned, though, that building these skills will feel like swimming upstream because your efforts will not be driven by a fundamental interest in the dimensions themselves. You also need to be honest with yourself. If the relational demands of a position or long-term career path exceed your ability to develop the requisite skills, you need to do one of two things: Engage the help of peers or assistants to compensate for your relational shortcomings, or—if this approach fails or is impractical—rethink the wisdom of taking that position or going down that path.

A large gap between the relational demand of a position or career and your ability to meet that demand can lead to a career breakdown, something you certainly want to avoid. We have looked at this kind of work in finer detail so that you and your employees can understand the roles where they will shine and make your business prosper. Such awareness is an important element in keeping projects and initiatives on track.

Understanding Others Quotes ( quotes)

So when you find yourself inclined to relegate relational work to the back burner and you will , remember that a business strategy is only as good as the people who carry it out—and if no one is around to carry it out, your future does not look good. James Waldroop waldroop careerleader. Timothy Butler James Waldroop. June Issue Explore the Archive. Executive Summary Reprint: RE Nearly all areas of business—not just sales and human resources—call for interpersonal savvy.

The Idea in Brief Looking for fresh ways to motivate your employees? Function: Sales and Sales Management Interests: Individuals who excel in this field typically have a strong interest in team leadership. Relational Dimension: Team Leadership, Influence Function: Human Resources Interests: HR generalists typically score very high in interpersonal facilitation—higher than they do in influence.

Relational Dimension: Interpersonal Facilitation Function: Management of Direct Service Delivery Interests: Managers who are in their element on the front lines of customer contact, particularly in consumer-oriented service businesses, have notably high team leadership scores. Relational Dimension: Team Leadership Function: Marketing Interests: The marketing function calls for both analysis and imagination, and it is a role that focuses on human behavior.

Relational Dimension: Relational Creativity, Team Leadership, Influence Function: Science and Technology Management Interests: Living up to the stereotype, managers in science and technology in our sample had a lower average score in the influence dimension than did business professionals as a whole. Function: Negotiations and Financial Deal Making Interests: We found that the majority of financial services professionals who work in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, trading, business development, corporate development, and venture capital score high in influence.

Relational Dimension: Influence Function: Communications and Public Relations Interests: Communications and PR professionals in our sample scored even higher, on average, in relational creativity than the marketing people did, but notably lower in team leadership. Where do they look when they answer?