Survival of the friendliest
Article by: Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger |
As we know it’s not the fastest, the strongest or the cleverest that survive but the friendliest. Admittedly in reference to evolution it’s survival of the fittest , those who adapt most quickly to their environment but I am referring to the workplace. People who are seen as friendly, cooperative , easy to talk to and get on with tend to survive and prosper. They survive the reorganisation, they survive a bad boss, they make steady progress up the career ladder often much further than their ability warrants. They are the people who are appointed to senior management posts as a result of their charisma, who charm colleagues and know how to keep on the right side of a difficult boss.
We don’t normally refer to managers as, “friendly” because this doesn’t sound very professional instead we refer to their networking skills, their ability to cultivate contacts and build positive relationships. Their ability to make the person they are talking to at that particular moment feel they are interested in them and totally focused on what they have to say. These interpersonal skills are often refers to as soft skills. Although they can have a harder edge if applied to negotiating , investigating or interviewing ( interrogating ).
When I think of the friendly manager I think of someone who is most effective face to face. Someone who develops contacts in HR by taking opportunities to visit HQ and calling in to the HR team to say hello, putting a face to the names. The manager becomes a regular visitor someone who is routinely offered a coffee and from there a non work conversation takes place in which the manager learns and remembers some information about colleagues life out side of work. As opposed to the manager who only contacts HR when there is a problem or they want something. The same approach is taken with finance and partner agencies and is equally as effective.
This relationship is built up over time such that when this manager seeks advise, help, support or a favour not only do they usually get it but support services will go the extra mile for them.
Soft skills, emotional intelligence , friendliness are proven survival skills but charisma and charm should not be mistaken for leadership potential . Leaders must also have ability to inspire, willingness to challenge and the courage and confidence to act without asking permission.