People make managing people hard. God said as much in the book of Genesis. I mean people were handed one simple request—don’t eat The Damn Fruit from The Damn Tree—and sure enough they done did the one thing. People are stupid.
What often makes interactions between people difficult is a lack of an ability to listen and empathize combined with an absence of soft skills. I don’t have a scientific study to back this up, but I’ve managed and mentored hundreds of humans to know that 85.6% of people don’t shoot out of the magic world portal with the ability to relate or talk to other people.
This problem is why we have gone through an entire forest after forest after forest printing business books about the need for successful communication between people, how to do it, and why this creates a “win-win.” Eventually, HR got the memo and invented the “1:1,” a bi-weekly event where a manager and the employee are forced to speak for thirty minutes. The intent of these times is for the manager to provide dedicated time for open and honest dialogue regarding the business relationship.
Instead, as far as I can tell from many (a ton) conversations I’ve had with people who suffer from bad, 1:1 conversations, in these situations the manager abuses the time to:
1. Arrive five minutes late
2. Ask for an update about the person’s current project
3. Talk about themselves
4. Check their phone for messages
5. Ask what people are saying about the manager
As it turns out, in the “people suck” area, we have one more problem: we’re not great at investing time to train leaders (managers) on developing skills related to listening and empathy.
It’s okay though, if God couldn’t control two people around an apple tree then we can’t exactly be held to a higher standard.
However, that doesn’t mean we have to stand idly by, letting so many bad managers poison the Trust Tree (I wonder, what’s the carbon footprint of time wasted in bad 1:1s? I don’t have a TI-85 otherwise I’d calculate this myself.)
This is exactly why I help my friend Jen Dary build her business, Plucky. She helps managers, new and old, be better at their job by developing proper people skills. So when she came to me with an idea to help people host better 1:1 conversations I didn’t hesitate. I’ve had far too many conversations with designers who’ve suffered from empty interactions with their managers to know there are too many people out there expelling enough useless carbon monoxide to cause massive flooding in Tahiti.
The result of our collaboration is the Plucky 1:1 Starter Pack. A deck of smartly written, wonderfully designed cards that will enable even the most Luddite manager (Hey Ray) to have more productive, meaningful conversations with the people they manage. Based on Jen’s broad experience mentoring studio owners, industry titans, and brand new spanking managers alike, this initial pack of cards covers a wide array of topics that will force those soft skills to any 1:1.
Perhaps if God had these cards in olden times, then today we’d all be buck naked, eating peeled grapes, and riding tigers towards double-rainbows.
Alright, enough of my yuckity-yuck. Go, read Jen’s post about the creation of the 1:1 Starter Pack, and then buy a pack or ten. I don’t make a wooden nickel off sales of this product; I just want to help build better communication between people. Which means less of my time spent consoling victims of bad management.