One of the basic truths of the workplace is that your ideas do not matter if you are not able to communicate them, and work with others. The ability to work well with others, to bring them to your side, and to pull them into your vision is absolutely a necessity when looking to accomplish something worthwhile. But how do we develop the skills to bring people behind us and communicate effectively in a way that will resonate with them? Most people use intuition when dealing with others. We see ourselves in them, and we empathize with their feelings. But this method is not always enough. We may struggle to understand how others are feeling, or we may simply interact with such a wide variety of people that we need to have a larger arsenal of tools and skills for understanding others.
Unfortunately, understanding others is not an exact science. No matter how much you study, how many people you interact with, or how much you try to analyze someone’s body language or nonverbal cues, you will never be able to perfectly understand how others are feeling or what they need to hear. So we all need to develop the skills necessary to succeed in interactions even when we may initially struggle to get along with or understand another person. That being said, here are a few things that you can keep in mind when you are struggling with someone.
First, try to talk clearly with them. Sitting down and talking through problems is a common strategy for dealing with every relationship. And when there is money on the line, it is even more critical. Make sure that you know how to discuss issues with your coworkers so that you can understand how they feel about things. If you meet someone that you struggle to get along with, you can mostly just go about your life and forget them. But if they are a coworker, it is critical that you find at least a work around. You do not have to like someone to understand them, and understanding is what you need. Second, observe. Watch them, and figure out what works and what doesn’t when interacting. Even if they are a bit of a black box, if you understand the inputs and outputs, you can do what you need to create a productive relationship. And that is the only thing that you need.