A coaching client of mine is having some issues managing his staff. Apparently a few of his employees are starting to complain openly at meetings. It turns out that he is having issues with four of his staff members, and that all four are female in an organization that is about 50/50 split between men and women.
So this is an interesting finding. It is easy to jump on this individual as doing something wrong, or on me for highlighting this kind of issue in our politically correct world. But that’s not the point of this blog, so please don’t go there in your posts.
Here is the point:
I find that many of my clients have trouble relating to a variety of types of people different than they are. These include different: sex, age/generation, religion, ethnicity, urban vs. suburban, political views, children vs. childless, married vs. single, different ways of communicating (bottom-line, analytical, political, metaphorical, etc.), different focuses (financial, technological, aesthetic, status, revenues, costs), values, and education.
It is amazing the world is as peaceful a place as it is!
Here is what I think I know:
1. People buy from people they like.
2. The more you can tolerate, respect, and value different types of people, the more broadly successful you will be.
3. The better you can adapt to the styles of different people, the more broadly successful you will be.
4. If you know that you get along particularly well with a specific type of person, take advantage of that fact. Market to that group, assuming you can reach them. Be the go-to expert for that group. In other words, if you can’t be broadly successful, be successful in a niche.
5. So are you a broadly likeable person or someone who needs to focus on marketing to a specific type of person? Which should you be? There is no right or wrong here (although I can imagine some of you feeling guilty if you are in category #4.). Know yourself, and focus on what you do best.
(Tangent: How does this relate to my coaching client and his problems managing his staff? Well, he is an employee with employees, can’t readily fire these individuals, and needs to learn to adapt to the employees assigned to him. Regardless of whether he is “right” or his employees are “right,” he needs to figure out what will motivate and influence his employees. He has to adapt. But again, that’s not the point of this blog.)