Unless the two essentials in an interaction — practical and personal needs — are honoured, the outcome of conversations might not be entirely successful.
Flashback to those days in school and then in college where our teachers and professors used to tell us one thing, “Enjoy these days, they will never come. Your life is just starting and you have no idea how hard it is out there in the real world.” Every time they said this we all wondered “What are they talking about? I am going to get rid of these books for life; what could be worse?” And then we entered ‘the race’, an endless race to be recognised as the best in whatever we do.
I still remember our tutor at the accounts coaching classes telling us, “If you don’t know how to solve financial accountancy you are dead. You have no future.” I am sure every faculty member told us similar things. And we ran to become perfect at the skills we were trying to specialise in — be it accountancy and finance, marketing, engineering, literature, statistics or anything else.
What all these good people told us was definitely true; in fact it will help you fetch your first job well!
But there is one thing that research tells us will take you a long way for years to come. We call this ‘interaction essentials.’
This is split in two parts — personal needs and practical needs. Remember your favourite faculty in school or college, who was not just good at the subject and excellent at teaching it but did something more. He touched our lives in many different ways. His ability to teach us a complex concept in a simple way was helping us meet our practical needs.
But the ways in which he treated us, made us feel good about ourselves, answered our stupidest question and yet answered it with all sincerity, he made us practise all by ourselves and created a safe environment where it was “OK to fail”; this, my friends, was him meeting our personal needs without us realising it.
Now how does that translate into work-life?
For example, when we step into our roles in a corporate environment as young individuals we have so many things to take care of.
Learn about the company, communicate and collaborate with different stakeholders like bosses, peers, external or internal customers. We also have to face a lot of challenges like meeting targets or set objectives, collecting data from other departments to present to senior leaders, achieving deadlines and much more.
While many feel that it’s easy — all we have to do is communicate with others — we forget that how we communicate is as important as what we communicate. It’s so rational and logical to have a talk with others involved to get things done, but then why do conflicts arise? It is because one of the two elements of interaction essentials is not honoured.
Interaction process either as individuals or as leaders is very critical and has to be practised day in and day out. The personal needs that we refer to as Key Principles (KPs) were derived after years of research and when they are applied, people feel valued, respected and understood.
Our research also tells that these KPs have direct impact on levels of engagement, motivation and productivity of individuals.
In the race to achieve tasks and targets we often get so focused on the job at hand that we don’t see anything else. But like your favourite faculty member you will meet your favourite boss and would be surprised or rather amazed to see how similar these two people are!
The writer is member, Key Leadership Team, DDI India.