I like people who like people

A while ago, I was talking to a boss about how much work they have and how many fires they have to put out. They also have to deal with lots of different people in different jobs and departments, and it all adds up to complexity and what seems like a bunch of headaches. But the boss simply said, "I like people." And I believed it. I rarely hear people say that they like people, because I think a lot of people don't like people. They just tolerate them, or act friendly and then talk about them when they walk away. People are, of course, able to run their personal lives how they want, pretty much, but when it comes to work, it's important that managers like people. (ok, I just realized this is related to another blog post that I wrote: If you're in the people business, like people)

I've experienced managers who don't like people. They don't say it, but it's clear they don't. They want the position, money, and/or title, but they don't want to deal with people. They seem to want to work alone and avoid interaction, or they have little tolerance for questions or comments. They don't even like small talk. Why are these people working with people? They should make room for people fans who want a management position and who are willing to learn how to most effectively maximize their human interaction.

Outside of teaching, I haven't had to manage people, but I really like people. And I like working for people who like people, because they have a kind of appreciation of people's quirks, and aren't afraid to leave their office doors open, or walk around the place to see how folks are doing, or answer their phones and emails when there are problems. It's very important to have private time, and no one should have to work 24/7, but it's really great when someone takes the time to explain something or say hello instead of expecting people to work like robots devoid of emotion.

And it's not about avoiding confrontation and doing only what others want you to do in order to be liked. People who like people can have standards and give constructive criticism, and still like people even when they don't really reciprocate. It's really an appreciation of human beings and all the drama of life. Those are the kinds of people I like and enjoy working for; they know not everyone is perfect, and they appreciate diversity, not just in terms of ethnicity and background but viewpoints as well. People who like people don't mind if people disagree with them; they're fine with discussing something and will listen to someone else's varying opinions, because they know that the world is vast and not everyone is the same. Plus, they know that only knowing others who agree with them is limited; there's so much to explore, and they're not afraid to dive in.

Sometimes I meet people who explicitly state that they don't like people and don't want to deal with them. Other times people I encounter act in a way that reveals how repulsed they are by people, especially those they can't control or who don't match up exactly with their standards. We're not going to like everyone, but people should at least give others a chance, and give them a break when they mess up or aren't perfect. Some people are so petty that if someone doesn't look or act in a way that they want, they blackball them and make them feel small. Others simply shut people down; they can't stand small talk or attempts to connect (unless everyone is busy working or making a deadline, which is understandable) and cut off the conversation. All they want to do is function in their own space and don't want any kinds of interruptions to their own agenda.

Now that the social world is changing during this virus, the anti-people folks who have jobs or situations where they don't have to interact with people can thrive because they can just remain alone, and the new societal framework will support them. I want to say more about this topic, because this is really more of the work-related aspect of it, and in the general world, I really like people who like people, so maybe that deserves a post as well. But the bottom line is that when I get the chance to work with people who like people, it makes the work environment a lot more pleasant and less detached or cold.

p.s. Amazon Kindle book and print book at the Eckhartz Press site, www.wickerparkwishes.com 

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