dealing with people

#60 A Complex Work Obstacle: Dealing with People

You’ve got the hard skills, which partially represent the equation for a thriving career. What do you do, however, when dealing with people who are difficult, unmotivated, or who act like bullies?

The Science

Science is the part of a career that STEM professionals live for! We love spreadsheets, data, coding (some of us anyway), the analysis and the problem-solving. We speak our own language of numbers and acronyms. 

And we also love the things in life that are certain. For the most part, numbers are certain, math is certain, science is (assumed to be) certain. Plans, instructions, and checklists also make us feel certainty. After all, if we perform according to protocol, nothing should go wrong, correct?

Hence, we marvel in the sciences and the problem-solving tactics during college. That’s why we go to college for heaven’s sake. We want to study that which can produce a concrete answer. Answers are black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. 

The Problem

Unfortunately, there is quite a problem with this kind of one-sided training. The problem is that there is a critical disconnect: dealing with people.

The training you receive in college, i.e., the hard skills, serve very practical purposes:

– They allow you to obtain a professional job. 

– They allow you to perform the scientific part of your job. And if you don’t know how to complete a technical challenge at work, you have the brain to figure it out. 

– Your technical skills form a foundation upon which you continue to build. You may choose to reinforce those hard skills, or add newfound skills, such as communications, leadership, or sales. 

This is fine and dandy.

However, who taught you how to deal with human nature at work? For example, what is the right way to handle a toxic work environment? What is the best response when management bombards you with unreasonable requests? How do you address a difficult, needy customer that signed a big fat contract which is funding your work?

This, my friends, is where the disconnect lies. Your scientific training will not equip you to manage the largest uncertainty in the workplace: people.  

The Disconnect

College prepared you for a portion of your everlasting professional challenge. The other challenge involves the art of dealing with people.

The Science of a Career: Hard SkillsThe Art of a Career: Human Nature
non-emotionalemotional
controllableuncontrollable
concretemysterious
unbiasedunfair
logicalillogical
predictableunpredictable
solidfluid
definitivequestionable
unwaveringunsteady
reliableunreliable
unpretentiousmanipulative
The Science and Art to a Successful Career

You may have been blindsided in the workplace by human behaviors. Likely, you were not taught that career success depends on the art of dealing with people.

So, what is the best tactic when coworkers or bosses are stubborn, unreasonable, or uncooperative?

I will provide the short version of a complex answer: strengthen your internal foundation. The stronger your mental wellness and your internal perception of self, the more skilled you become at managing others. This includes elevating your self-worth, your self-acceptance, your self-confidence. It also includes the willingness to be vulnerable, to set boundaries and to be authentic.

The art of dealing with people can seem tricky, frustrating and overbearing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Ask me how you can start to dominate your interpersonal skills and make your career thrive!

If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!

Categories: Your Happiness