Executives and senior managers often overlook their most important business asset: their personalities. We are blessed from birth with a personality that has an inherent power all its own. Too much though, we tend to discount or ignore it in favor of more objective qualities such as vision, planning, analysis and decision-making. Yet, interpersonal skills can encourage powerful motivations in others. When people are motivated, amazing things can happen.
I have found that executives and senior managers underestimate the impact they have on their people from a interpersonal perspective. They don’t realize how much their actions trigger the grapevine that many of them dislike. Rather than fight it, use it. The grapevine is word-of-mouth advertising. These effects are similar to the ones produced by management by walking around (MBWA) (detailed PDF on management by walking around), but our personalities are the tools that make it work. Moreover, there are specific interpersonal techniques that bring MBWA to life. I’ve discussed three in previous posts:
When executives and senior managers apply these techniques to employees, employees invariably tell other employees about the experience. A bank president was famous for remembering names; employees always recounted that talent when they talked about him. Thus, there is not only a direct impact on that employee but a residual one with others. It’s similar to the way the sun heats a stone and then that stone heats other things.
The downside to these techniques is that they require discipline and patience. Their effects have a compounding effect over time when relentlessly applied. However, our personalities are more powerful than any other motivational system on the market.