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I would like some advice/recommendations on how to talk to people to push them to do better. Not only so the team can work faster, maybe better, but so that everyone can "push" each other as well.

I'm a young person (this might be the main reason I act the way I do), I have been doing my job for one year and a half now. Despite being quite "fresh" in that field, I have been pushing myself and therefore have been doing well. However, I still lack the "soft skill" of talking to people who don't strive for the same exigences as I do (translation: very high, I would say maybe too high). This regards my work, but I lack those skills in my personal life as well.

I realized this might come out a bit pretentious, I hope it doesn't as I am actually curious how to get better. To summarize, I would like to avoid asking that "but why would you do that" question that is just rude.

I know some people don't do better because

  • They don't know how to. They could be taught.
  • They can't be bothered. That is a change in attitude.

I do my best to teach people with no/little experience on something, but I realised I have a "problem" with people who just "pass by". I know there is no point in that, as I can't be annoyed by everyone who doesn't want to do their job as best as they could. I find it particularly hard to ask/advise people as I'm usually the youngest one/least experienced.

Thank you for your help, any advices/videos/books would be appreciated.

  • I very much feel what you are going through. Even often I am irritated by how little people are satisfied with - I believe I have the same age and profile as yourself and struggling quite the same. – Jishan Dec 12 '19 at 9:51
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    Be careful of pushing yourself too much - burn out. Also sometimes doing things slowly is good as it avoids mistakes. Remember - "more haste less speed" – Ed Heal Dec 12 '19 at 10:58
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    "how to talk to people to push them to do better" - you do realize that there's no limit to that "as best as one could" slogan? And that some companies (in my part of the world we call them "juice press employer") might push such demand too far, where it will negatively affect other aspects (satisfaction, life balance, health)? With all that in mind, have you defined a criteria for when to stop pushing? – Igor G Dec 12 '19 at 14:17
  • Also sometimes the non-perfect solution is ok. As time matters – Ed Heal Dec 12 '19 at 20:03
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    @EdHeal I know exactly what you mean. It has happened that I burned myself too much. I have been trying to do things a bit slower, but better, and in a more sustainable way. – scampi Dec 13 '19 at 8:25
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I'm a young person (this might be the main reason I act the way I do), I have been doing my job for one year and a half now. Despite being quite "fresh" in that field, I have been pushing myself and therefore have been doing well.

That is a great attitude to have, especially when you're young, or a beginner.

It is, however, your lifestyle, not the company, nor your colleagues' duty. I'm simply telling you this because some people, lots of them even, do their day to day job because food needs to be paid.

However, I still lack the "soft skill" of talking to people who don't strive for the same exigences as I do (translation: very high, I would say maybe too high).

If "talking" means "pushing them to do more", then that is not a soft skill. It is a personal request. Which you should avoid doing, simply because you're imposing your work ethics on others who are not under you.

And if they are your subordinates, then as a manager you have every right to suggest or push things, clearly, with reviews and constructive criticisms on the quality of their work.

To summarize, I would like to avoid asking that "but why would you do that" question that is just rude.

There is nothing rude about this question. Only the way to phrase it.

  • Why would you do that instead of that? with non-critical justifications on how to do it better works miles better.
  • Why did you do it this way? - asked candidly, can initiate communication with the other party showing their POV. It is better to always let them speak their piece and understand them first.
  • Isn't X done more easily/a better result than Y?

The last one is a bit more aggressive, so use it sparingly.

You should always walk towards a colleague you want to push into something with an open ear for their opinion, and a direction on how they could do better.

Always assume that they had a good reason, even if you know they don't.

The first lesson of interpersonal relationships is that everyone has an opinion and nobody likes to see theirs ignored or crushed. Your job if you want to communicate is to show that you want to listen to their POV. Your job once you've listened to them is to explain what you think could have helped them work better, or helped the final product be better.

I do my best to teach people with no/little experience on something, but I realised I have a "problem" with people who just "pass by".

Speaking as a probably older man than you, you will most likely see over your career many people who are stuck in jobs they don't want, or who have lost their desire to learn and just do the bare minimum to get away with their salary.

If you meet such people, please always remember to ask yourself: do I think these people are detrimental to the company's wellbeing, or to my wellbeing?

If not, and 99% of cases it will be not (else they would be fired), please accept that this is how much they want to do with themselves. Perhaps they express their efforts in something else. Perhaps they're just lazy. But in any case, it is their lives. Perfectionism is all good, but it's a personal trait that fits well for a worker, not for a manager, and not for a colleague.

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  • Thank you for your explanation, I see what you mean. I do think that it should be "normal" to push for more, but I have to realise that it's a personal opinion/lifestyle. thank you for your advices, I will do my best to approach people like you mentioned – scampi Dec 13 '19 at 8:30
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If you manage these people, and they are missing their goals, and those goals are reasonable and achievable then by all means address it.

If, on the other hand, you do not manage these people then I would caution you to "keep your eyes on your own paper", so to speak. It's not your place to assess your colleagues efficiency, quality of work, etc. It's also not your place to try to impose your work ethic or style on your colleagues. It's for their manager to address. If their work impacts your ability to get your job done then address that with your manager.

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any advices/videos/books would be appreciated.

The classic book for this is "how to win friends and influence people". It's nearly 100 years old, but people haven't changed.

Give honest and sincere appreciation. Appreciation is one of the most powerful tools in the world. People will rarely work at their maximum potential under criticism, but honest appreciation brings out their best. Appreciation, though, is not simple flattery, it must be sincere, meaningful and with love.

It's easy to take people for granted when they're just doing their job, but that could make you the first person who ever thanks them.

The other thing you can do is to spread your enthusiasm and ideas. If you find a better way to do things, show people what you've discovered. If they're senior to you, ask them to look over your idea in case you've missed anything.

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  • I have just bought the book at my local library! I heard before of that book, I'll try to read it during the Christmas break, thanks for the recommendation – scampi Dec 16 '19 at 13:59
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Does your colleagues' work directly impact your own? If so, you could rephrase it as a personal request (e.g. "next time, please tell me right away if you need more information" if this caused a delay). Otherwise, I would just leave it.

Another thing you can do is "lead by example". If you do something that benefits the whole team, others may start copying you. But you can't expect them to. It's your decision to go above and beyond, so try not to be upset if they don't appreciate your efforts or take them for granted.

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