One of my many bosses (I’m up to at least three now) wrote a good post today called “Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?”
This is probably the most valuable lesson I’m continuing to learn throughout business school. As a callow youth, I believe my personality (and many, many others’) was geared toward being a devils advocate, a contrarian. This is sad in a few ways, for one thing looking to argue for the sake of winning is akin to fighting the tide, in time you’re left exhausted and wondering why you set out as such in the first place. Secondly, if you’re position is merely to be right regardless of position you aren’t really going anywhere. I can’t recall if it was Mark Twain who said that taking the opposite side of any argument is easy excersize, paraphrased, anyone can be a critic. Anyone can argue for no good reason. I’m certainly not proud of this trait in my earlier lives, regardless if it stemmed from a need for mental exercise or not.
It warrants mention that as you move up the so called corporate ladder, there are only smarter and smarter people. These people all want to do well, they all work very hard. There is a natural tenacity of the private sector, a healthy tenacity. When working with others at a high level within a corporation it’s important to remain neutral and unbiased, keeping the best interests of the company in mind. It’s easy to get caught up in politics, in competition or some other form of objective dilution.
The way you treat others means the world. The stance you take on proactively assessing and completing projects with people who you hold absolutely no leverage over (or those you do!) is indicative of your ability to transcend the small stuff. I’ve already had a few instances where misspeaking has proven a detriment to relationships here, nothing that I couldn’t fix, but unnecessary nonetheless. Maintaining a rational perspective regarding interpersonal relations may prove the most difficult task for a manager. It starts small. It always starts small. The words you choose to address others, the way you converse regarding topics and issues, if you really listen to others and value their input is transparent to the outside world, whether you like it or not.
Words are weapons, wield with wisdom.