I was talking with someone and they were asking about the ‘how to’ of managing people. They wanted the scenarios they needed to plan for so they could create a spreadsheet with the appropriate responses. Their thought was to then study the spreadsheet so that when people behaved a certain way they would know what to do. I understood their desire to have it all written down, and yet I had to smile at the thought that every response to managing people could be listed and stored in a spreadsheet.
No matter how we calculate it, no matter what formula we try to use, dealing with people does not have any black and white answers. One formula does not explain all and there will always be someone who does not fit into any spreadsheet. There is no way to list every way to interact with them or understand why they do what they do. People are the messiest and the most rewarding part of life.
I asked the person who wanted to create a spreadsheet how they would feel if the only way people would interact with them was from a list of standard responses. They thought about it a bit and didn’t think it would bother them unless the responses didn’t suit their need, that’s why the spreadsheet needed to be very thorough. I again smiled and told them that if they ever had all the answers documented they needed to quit their job, write a book and become a bazillionaire!!!
Everyone wants to know all the answers to dealing with people because people are messy. There is frustration and comfort in knowing that no one has all the answers, that there is not only one way, and that the way you do it may not be the way someone else does it. When you feel frustrated or uncertain about dealing with people take comfort in knowing that everyone who interacts with or manages people has felt that way at one time or another in their life. One Size does not fit all, just like one formula does not solve all problems.