When Spending Time With People Gets in the Way

Have you ever felt you had so much to get done you didn’t have time to spend with people? The emails, calls and knocks on the door make you cringe. Spending time with people gets in the way of what feels to be most important.

When I teach coaching skills to leaders, I’m often asked how to balance the time being with people with the time needed to make sure work is getting done.

The question is often followed by the statement, “There isn’t enough time for long conversations.”

The irony is that the focus on getting work done over being with people is the reason why many people leave their jobs, either mentally or physically. Forcing a focus on the task guarantees errors, gaps and less than stellar results. No wonder everyone feels frustrated, disappointed, and unfulfilled.

Focusing on the processes, tasks, and milestones that must be met can sabotage achievement of the best outcome.

The secret behind getting good results

Your impatience as a manager or a performer is your greatest pitfall. People you work with become a means to the end instead of them being respected partners working to achieve something together. No one feels valued or important in this scenario, yet people need to feel valued and important to want to give their best efforts.

In order to get good results you have to focus on people more than on problems and tasks.

The secret to getting good results is to count on others to achieve the vision of the results you created together, to appreciate their efforts, to sincerely invite them to ask for help when needed so nothing falls through the cracks, and to seek to understand their needs and great hopes whenever you engage in a conversation.

Let spending time with people get in the way
 Marzky Ragsac Jr. - Adobe Stock
Marzky Ragsac Jr. – Adobe Stock

Taking the time to have meaningful conversations will try your patience. Recognizing when you discount people when you feel the pressure to get work done is a great awareness to develop.

Achieving great results mean you care about the people who interrupt your work wanting a piece of your precious time. When people get in the way of your work, you have the opportunity to connect with them so they are inspired to achieve more than both of you expected. The conversations don’t always turn out well but missing an opportunity to make spending time with someone a special moment can actually harm relationships and results beyond the lost work you thought was more important.

If the anticipated result falls short, you can revisit how work was done and what happened that was not predicted to learn what you can do better together in the future. If in the process limitations are discovered, honest conversations might feel difficult but not demeaning. When you have regular conversations with people, the hard conversations are balanced with the good.

What if every workplace conversation could enhance a relationship, facilitate learning, and inspire purposeful, quality performance? You could make spending time to hold regular, meaningful conversations your #1 goal.

Building a high-trust, high-performance environment means everyone is treated as a significant human being. Values, strengths, and talents will differ as well as personalities. People will rub each other the wrong way as styles clash. The underlying respect for what each other contributes to the shared vision and the agreed on goals is the thread that keeps everything running well.

You can find many resources for building a shared vision on Jesse Stoner’s website, in her award-winning blog and her books. Then read these posts to help you develop respect and re-create respect once you’ve lost it for someone you work or live with.

Taking a moment to fully see the person in front of you is the greatest gift you can give to them. We all yearn to be seen, be understood, and feel valued for who we are beyond what we do. This is how you inspire the human heart to soar. It’s amazing how much good work can then get done.

If you would like to have me speak at your upcoming event or talk about leadership training and coaching, please reach to me at: https://covisioning.com/contact/

Marcia Reynolds

tel:+1 602 954 9030

4 thoughts on “When Spending Time With People Gets in the Way”

  1. kathy taberner

    Hi Marcia: Thanks for this blog. I could not agree more! The Industrial Era of focus on task completion is behind us. As you have written above, the focus is now on relationships, those connections that create deeper understanding and help everyone to support each other to complete work tasks in a way that works for them. Because we each have our own unique perspective, we all have our own way of doing things and the important thing is mutually working to connect and understand the end goal, not the details of getting there. We can all figure those out or ask if we need to. When we build those relationships we message trust in others to get the work done. To do this, we need to let go of the need to control each step of the process and trust others can get there. Our sense of control is now through understanding others, not telling them what to do. Thanks so much for this

  2. This is absolutely spot-on, Marcia…thank you for so eloquently capturing the workplace mindset that is so typical but also so harmful. I’ll be passing along to several clients and others who grapple with this challenge daily!

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