Cornell Local Roads Program

Hints for Managers

Dealing with High Voltage Personalities We all know someone we refer to as having a “strong” personality, but what is meant by this label, and how do you manage someone who is potentially “high voltage?”

One way of deflecting possible problems is by talking pointedly to someone you feel has a strong personality. Find out what this person thinks about things, if possible. Sometimes if you can get to know someone of this type of temperament, you may come to understand behavior that has previously mystified you and others.

It is a well-known truth that once you get to know someone’s story, it’s hard to dislike him or her. What is this person’s story? Do you know? Would it help to know? It may well be worth a try.

Teamwork: Not just for the Birds

Teamwork might seem like a complicated subject, but to some creatures it comes naturally as a way to survive and to expend the least amount of energy, according to a BBCNews Online story.

Scientists in France taped heart monitors to great white pelicans that had been trained to fly behind a light aircraft and a boat, and a team was able to observe them during their flight.

Pelicans fly in a “V” or “squadron” formation, and they flap in time with their leader. Scientists were able to observe and gather data from the heart monitors and found that the birds’ heartbeats were lower when they flew in formation than when they flew solo. This was because they were able to benefit from each other’s air streams.

The entire group benefits because less energy is required to perform the task at hand. Working together, the birds expended less energy and were able to fly farther than when they are alone.

There is a lesson here, and it’s not just for the birds.

Concerning Honor

Lao Tzu once said, “Fail to honor people, they fail to honor you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’”

But just how do you honor people? A good leader listens to the people who work for him or her. Good leaders take seriously what people are telling them. If workers come up with good ideas, good leaders use their power to implement the suggestion, and then they give credit to the person whose idea it was. Good leaders take the blame themselves when mistakes are made, but they pass out praise and credit when something is achieved and give the credit to the people who work for them.

Follow this small bit of wisdom, and you’ll likely find that you have loyal workers who truly honor you and will probably be willing to go to the extra distance to get things done.

August 2006

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.