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How to Understand People in Business

Part of the Business Studies For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If everything about business revolves around people: staff, customers, backers and suppliers - then it’s essential you know and understand them. Here are the steps you need to take in order to get the best out of people in your business:

  • Try and see situations from other people’s point of view. This is not to say that your own point of view is not important. But by attempting to see the world through the eyes of other people you’re demonstrating mutual respect and understanding.

  • Set absolute standards of conduct, behaviour and performance. If you do this early on then people will quickly understand what you will, and will not tolerate. Make it absolutely clear that you will not tolerate bullying, victimisation, discrimination or harassment within your business.

  • Evaluate performance collectively. If someone has made a mistake then take steps to find out why. Don’t just bawl them out or sack them; if you do this, you will never find out why the mistake was made and you will not be able to learn from the situation.

  • People behave irrationally. This means you can never predict how people are going to behave and respond in any given set of circumstances. All you can do is to know and understand as much as possible about individual and collective behaviour so that you have the fullest possible range of responses available to you when you need them.

  • Always treat people with a positive attitude (at least until you are given a significant reason to do otherwise). If you approach people with the attitude that everything that they are needing and wanting from you is possible, you’ll never go far wrong.

  • If you say that you’ll do something, do it! If you make a promise or have said that you’re going get something done by a particular deadline, always try and deliver.

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