Know Your People


I am meeting with my boss in a little while. He doesn’t really seem like a boss, it’s a part-time job that I get to do from home, exactly the kind of work I need to do to keep me busy and fulfilled and I’m working for my best friend’s company. My ‘supervisor’ is the President of the company, who is also a close family friend, but he is still my boss and should be regarded as such on a workday.

Anyway, we haven’t talked in weeks and I have several ideas I want to pitch to him. But I’m not sure how to go about it. I know this guy really well, but I don’t know how he receives ideas and information best. I’m still getting to know him in this arena.

Think about your people, the ones you interact with most and need to communicate well with; what do they need from you in order to understand best? One of our children must read information in order to process it, hearing it does little to no good, while another child must hear it, the written word seems useless. Also, one child needs time to sit with a new idea before making a decision while the others can roll with new information as it comes in. My guy needs facts and figures and if possible, a recommendation from an expert to help him make a decision, while I bank on my feelings and intuition.

I had a professor in grad school who recommended when getting to know a new professor or boss, to ask their preferred mode of communication; some prefer email while others like phone calls or text messages. Communicating with someone in their favorite way can make a big difference in how the information is received. Last week my guy and I were walking in a cold, fierce wind and he started to say, “Hey, I have an idea…” I cut him off immediately and said no idea would seem like a good one right now, could he wait until we were warm?

We need to know how best to get a point across to those we interact with most, and maybe even let others know the best way to communicate with us. If you leave me a voicemail you can be very sure I will probably never hear it, unless you are one of about six people on this earth. But if you text me, there’s a good chance I will respond very quickly. We’re all different, know what your people need from you.

As for my boss, I emailed him my ideas and we are talking in the next hour. We’ll see which way works for him!

2 thoughts on “Know Your People

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  1. I’m working with a business coach this year and just took an inventory called the Kolbe A. It indicated with complete accuracy the way interface with the world. You’re so right. Insightful Jen!

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