I had the pleasure of working with a group of bright, challenging and enthusiastic apprentices recently. At the very start of their careers, I was able to introduce them to the concepts of self-awareness, different personality preferences and consider strategies to help them improve their effectiveness when working with colleagues. This is often the sort of development opportunity that is saved until later in someone’s career once they’ve achieved the accolade of being on a talent programme or a senior management team. Their lecturer’s commitment to supporting them with employability skills right at the outset of their career was both refreshing and admirable.
I asked the students at the end what they would take from this session, aware that we had only just started to scratch the surface, but hoping that I’d ignited something in them to start to think. Some of the answers were as follows;
- How to work better with different types of people
- Let others talk more
- Listen more
- How important communication is
- Make me more tolerant
- Let others take the lead
- Make you think
- Accept and understand other people to get a better response, get the most from people and make people more effective
- Understand why I find it hard to work with some people
- Not everyone works the same as me
Of course we all have our preferred style of working, but being able to recognise that someone else may have a different approach is a great step forward in being able to work more effectively with colleagues and celebrate our differences rather than dismiss them. Having a framework and common language to help navigate those differences makes it a much smoother process, whether you are at the start of your career or have years of experience under your belt. Ultimately it helps to create a more positive working environment that promotes collaboration and productivity.
At the end of the day, the students asked me what the goals were for my business. I gave them the usual commercial response of sorts of clients I want to work with etc but then I thought about what the goals are for me through the work I do. I believe people spend too much time at work to not be happy there. I want to help improve working relationships so people can get on better with their colleagues and managers and feel engaged. I want that happiness and positive approach to relationships to spill over into all parts of their lives.
Not too much to ask is it?!
What training did you have early in your career that made the biggest difference? Please let me know in the comments below.