How to Gain From People Who You Think Don’t Like You
Originally published: 25/11/2019 15:36
Publication number: ELQ-26038-1
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How to Gain From People Who You Think Don’t Like You

In business we all have to work with and lead people that are not like you, and don’t think like you - Learn how-to here


One thing we all have to learn in business is how to work with and lead people that are not like you, and don’t think like you. In my experience as a business advisor, that’s probably the biggest hurdle to success encountered by every new business owner. Your biggest challenge may be members of your own family, some of your best customers, or a key business partner or investor.

For example, like me, you may be an aggressive, logical, and “get things done” type of person, who created a new product, but is easily frustrated by others around you who are committed, but tend to make decisions slowly, or rely more on emotions than the facts in any situation. For me, it was a session with Myers Briggs that finally opened my eyes on how to deal with different people.

Some notable business people never figured it out, and allowed differences to lead to business or personal setbacks that probably didn’t need to happen. Examples include the Theranos failure brought about by Elizabeth Holmes’ inability to work with her team, the early Apple setback due to differences between Steve Jobs and John Sculley, and the travails of Uber under Travis Kalanick.

The reality is that the business world is becoming more a global space, so all of us have to learn to understand and capitalize on people of different generations, cultures, points of view, and priorities. You have to manage your business with more people not like you, as well as a more diverse set of customers. Here are some key principles that I have found to make this work:

  • Step n°1 |

    Build more relationships with people who are not like you.

    If you limit your relationships in business to people who are just like you, your business potential is severely limited. Get to know your business associates as people, to understand their personality, strengths, and motivation, before you deal with them on business issues.

    Only by first understanding their differences can you fully appreciate that what others bring to the table, even if it is contrary to your view. Don’t let the current focus on emails, procedures, and message exchanges convince you that work is a mechanical process.

    How to Gain From People Who You Think Don’t Like You image
  • Step n°2 |

    Don’t assume others are intentionally being difficult.

    They are simply being who they are, and they are as frustrated with you as you are with them when things aren’t working. They are thinking and making decisions based on their unique personality, cultural background, and their previous experiences. Your challenge is to adapt to them.

    For example, I have found that some people are most effective after talking you through a situation, while you may prefer to jump to action quickly. By better understanding each member of your team, you will know when to listen and when it’s time to push for action.

    How to Gain From People Who You Think Don’t Like You image
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