In I Don't Know What I Want . . . But I Know It's Not This, career consultant Julie Jansen won over readers with the same comforting, clear headed approach that she brings to her many Fortune 500 clients. Now she tackles a problem that affects every working person, regardless of occupation: difficult people. Whether the problem is an
You Want Me to Work with Who? was recommended to me by a coworker after I finished It’s Always Personal. I think they’re good companion books because, while It’s Always Personal talks a little about how emotions motivate people at work, You Want Me to Work with Who? actually gets into how to deal with the people HAVING those emotions.
The book is built around the 11 emotional intelligence keys: confidence, curiosity, decisiveness, empathy, flexibility, humor, intelligence, optimism, perseverance, respect, and self-awareness. The person who has balanced levels in all the keys is the one who’ll do really well in business, apparently. People who have imbalanced keys are the people you hate having to deal with– and, if that imbalanced person is you, there are work sheets and action plans on evening things out.
I actually took the time to do all the quizzes and some of the worksheets. If you skip that stuff the book is practically useless, as I do think it’s aimed more at self-improvement than just “how to deal with an annoying coworker.”
I went through all the self-assessments and it turns out I have a lot to work on. I kinda knew that already, though– my self-awareness score was pretty high.
Any deficiency can be worked on and improved, if you’re willing to make the effort, and the book has lots of ideas and tips on how to start your personal improvement project.
For example, I want to be more empathetic. The book gave me two good ideas on how to start the process:
1. when people are talking to me, instead of saying “that happened to me,” say “tell me more.”
2. when they go ahead and tell me more, be sure to listen and ask pertinent questions.
Basically, be interested in people more.
By being more aware of how I act, make decisions, spend my time during and after work, etc. I’ll gain a better understanding of how my emotions affect my coworkers and how they perceive me. Plus, once I start improving my keys I’ll be more effective at work and my career will be awesome
Or at least that’s the idea!
So there’s two focuses to this book: yourself, and everybody else. Not only do you figure out your own weaknesses, you’re also identifying other people’s weaknesses. And then you figure out what to do to make it easier to work with them!
There’s lots of examples of different personality types and problems you may run into at work. I definitely recognized some from various places I’ve worked at, and I wish I had this book back then to give me some hints on how to handle persnickety coworkers.
There is VERY good advice in how to deal with said coworkers, with different levels of advice based on whether you’re dealing with a peer, someone junior, or someone senior to yourself. It’s practical stuff that nevertheless can be missed if you’re too upset to see the bigger picture.
I also gotta say that the author has a very soothing writing style. She’s very good at breaking down why someone acts a certain way while also leaving room for you to figure things out yourself. Nothing’s too scary to fix and just because you’re weak in one area doesn’t mean you’re a bad person who’s doomed to work in a basement cubicle for the rest of your career.
Be proactive! Talk to your coworkers, work on balancing the 11 EQ keys, and everything will turn out fine.
I really liked this book, so much so that I want to pick up a copy for keeps. I can definitely see it coming in handy as I move through my career, and I’d like to do some of the quizzes again over the years to see if I’ve improving or not.
Read: February 10-18, 2015