Would You Have a Drink With Yourself?

Have you ever considered what sort of an impression you make on others at work?  Consider that each of us causes ripples among the people we interface with, whether direct or indirect.  We leave a mark, for good or ill.

Likely there are three audiences you should be interested in; the management above you, peers and colleagues at your level, and those below you in the hierarchy – whether subordinates or rank and file employees.  Now picture each of these groups pondering your actions and developing an opinion.

  • Management:  Senior leaders who can have a direct impact on your career.  You want these folks to nod their head and smile when they think of you.  You would like to be known by name and face.
  • Peers:  You have to work with these people, to interface with enough human relations skills to get things done.  Your goal is to assist work processes and the people surrounding them, in order to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.  You want respect here.
  • Rank and file:  Either your subordinates or those affected by your decisions/recommendations.  These are employees who may be dependent on you, but who may also whisper about you, or spread rumors – or can rally to your cause.  You ignore these people at your peril.

Each group has a separate agenda, and over time you as a professional practitioner or manager will have developed a reputation by your actions, your decisions (or lack) and through the word of mouth of those who interact with you.  The net result is a label, a persona that surrounds you, describes you and marks you as a “type.”

Now ask yourself, would the people you work with, or work for, wish to spend time with someone like you?  In other words, are you someone admired, someone viewed as a valuable source of experience, someone to learn from?  Someone worth knowing?

Or would these same folks cross the street to avoid you?

This Is Important Because . . . .

Would you want to have a drink with someone like yourself?   If you would, what is it about that persona that you think would make sharing social time a worthwhile effort?  If you’d rather not waste your time, what is it about that person in the mirror that’s such a turnoff?

Most in the profession are very intelligent; many are even brilliant technical practitioners.   But that’s not what this is about.  This a matter of whether that technical savvy, that textbook learning can be converted on a daily basis into the effective application of that knowledge and skill within the work environment; how that application impacts and interacts with those around you.

Too many managers and practitioners “don’t get it” when it comes to dealing with employees – and as Compensation has a direct and constant impact on those employees, this ability to deal with the human element becomes of necessity a critical component of success – or failure.

Looking In The Mirror

  • Do you have a reputation as a numbers person, or as a people person – or perhaps you’re viewed as presenting a balance between the company and the employees?
  • Is your interpersonal style one of engagement, or do you prefer to be left alone, to operate as an individual contributor best left to their own devices?
  • Are you more comfortable dealing with theories and concepts, or facts & figures, vs. dealing hands-on with the political and emotional realities of the workplace?  Numbers people are often uncomfortable when required to interact with other employees.

Recently I refereed an argument about whether the cost of living or the cost of labor was more important in setting annual merit spend budgets.  The debaters battled with charts & graphs, regressed formulae and reams of statistics – when a bit of common sense and practical experience would have shown how Leadership reacts to the question.

Both practitioners missed the point, lost within the argument over technical accuracy and blind to the dynamics of human nature; both ignored common sense and the reality of employee perceptions.  Both turned off their audience by their high-toned professorial pronouncements.

Not the sort of reputation you’d like to have at work, is it?    Not with everyone watching, keeping score.

A well-rounded compensation pro not only understands the analytical side of providing competitive rewards in an effective and efficient manner but is equally comfortable dealing with the softer side, the people side of the profession. 

Having an understanding that real people are affected by recommendations, that morale, productivity, and engagement have a price tag as real as payroll dollars flowing from the company, is a critical awareness that every manager should have.

Once you have that combination in place, adding a bit of persuasiveness, a bit of knowing how to change behaviors, is like possessing the mortar that holds the bricks together.

Then you’ll have a complete (mostly) compensation pro.

That’s someone I’d like to have a drink with.

Chuck Csizmar CCP is founder and Principal of CMC Compensation Group, providing global compensation consulting services to a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations.  He is also associated with several HR Consulting firms as a contributing consultant.  Chuck is a broad based subject matter expert with a specialty in international and expatriate compensation.  He lives in Central Florida (near The Mouse) and enjoys growing fruit and managing (?) a clowder of cats.

Creative Commons image, “Amelia Cat II,” by brownpau

This post originally appeared on Compensation Cafe
Author: Chuck Csizmar