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  • Writer's pictureDanuta

Are you sure that you can manage your employees using only words?

Human is a being who has been directed by someone since birth and directs someone else from his first breath. Our first managers were our parents, they were deciding for us: what, where and when we should do. As time passes, we grow up, more and more try to resist and follow our path. A child of several days manages his parents using the simplest and most primitive method - manipulation. He forces them by crying to do things necessary for him to survive. Later, when it turns out that such a simple and primitive method works to meet basic needs, he uses it to get pleasure. When we are two or three years old, we get another tool to drive people according to our path - SPEECH, here is more room to show off. Learned through crying, we start with prescriptive sentences, give me ..., buy me ..., do it for me ... when our vocabulary starts to increases, some of our parents teach us that this is not the best way to get what we want. They teach us the basics of good communication, using words like please, thank you, sorry. Unfortunately, some people stop at the previous stage - prescriptive, referred to as a claim.

We grow up, enter various environments, kindergartens, schools, yards, works. Our attitudes, movements, gait increasingly reveal the way we talk to people, what kind of people we are. We meet others, we observe their behaviour, and we react to it - often without even knowing that our reaction is caused by the action of another person. In many cases, we don't even realize we are responding. The simplest example of how much we react to nonverbal behaviour is the "sandbox".

Imagine a sandbox where two children are playing. A boy approaches them with an uncertain step, and downcast sits on the edge of the sandbox and watches - those kids who were playing at that time do not even react to him. A second boy approaches, smiling confidently, stands over the playing children - he is often invited to play. A third boy walks up, he also walks confidently, but his fists are clenched, and he has narrowed eyes. Playing children can see him from a distance, and they start to hide their toys, depending on the intensity of the fear caused by the boy, or they stay playing in the corner and do not invite him to play with them, or they take their toys and just walk away.

This is a perfect example of how our nonverbal communication influences the behaviour of other people.

What can we gain or lose by behaving in a certain way?

The quoted "sandbox" is also a great example to make us realize how often we are in conflict situations and how we solve it without any words. Our nonverbal messages determinate what we will get from others.

The conflict occurs wherever there are two people, in the store we want to buy the cheapest, best-quality item, and the seller wants to sell the worst-quality item as expensive as possible. In our sandbox, it's about fun and toys. The first boy, using a submissive attitude (without toys) will not gain anything, he will sit in the corner, and the children will continue to play alone, most likely when he dares to speak to them in a trembling voice, will provoke an aggressive attitude, they will refuse him, defending him their toys. The other boy, despite the lack of toys, will show with his attitude that he has something else to offer, good fun and many ideas, he will be accepted by other kids. However, the third boy, most likely, will take their toys himself, as a consequence of which he will play, but at the next opportunity, other children will avoid him.

When we grow up, we forget that we are all the time in the "sandbox". For managers, their playground is their organization. However, unlike children playing, adults can (or should be able to) benefit from the experience and knowledge of others. They can analyze the behaviour of others and consciously adapt their own. Unfortunately, many managers forget about these simple principles, and they downplay their ignorance of the principles of interpersonal communication. They also do not understand that even though we do not see the conflict, it exists, it surrounds us all the time. Almost 100% of our contacts with other people are based on conflict situations; we have become accustomed to many of them and do not consider them as such.

In this short series, I will focus on showing what management is - managing personnel, who managers are or rather who they should be. I'll answer the questions: Which? And why exactly those attributes a manager should have? I will show what styles managers use to guide people, what methods are the most effectivity and why.

I will show the interpersonal side of managing people, how much the general managers' attitudes affect the behaviour of a regular employee.

In many organizations, especially those where knowledge of the so-called "Hard" - technical, strict, downplayed interpersonal skills, while, as it turns out in the following articles, a manager who is very knowledgeable in interpersonal communication and can use it properly can achieve much better results than the one who has no knowledge about it. The understanding what organization, management, communication and staff of an organization is crucial to efficient and proper management.

I will discuss, from such a vast and continuously explored area of our life, three aspects of communication: styles of communication, methods of communication and conflicts. I found them to be the most important from the point of view of managing people.

One from my previous articles touches this ground already

And now when behaviours incompatible with our nature have been forced on us, with this series, I would like to remind some of you and realize those who do not become aware of that, how important communication between people in business is.

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