Thursday, September 17, 2009

I need to start this post by saying that I can't take any credit for what I'm about to share. I just had lunch w/ a group of pastors and one of them (also a church planter) had some great thoughts on managing people. And while I don't consider myself replete with wisdom, I hope I am wise enough to pass on good insights when I hear them. So, thank you Joe Cate for your thoughts and here they are:

It's important when you work with people (and everyone does) to be able to manage your expectations. There is a difference between judging and managing expectations. The first implies a value judgment, the second implies a recognition that people are different and therefore we should expect different things from them. As a means of helping to understand people and therefore manage expectations, Joe places everyone he meets into one of four categories:

Friendly Dog - you know that dog who is super excited to see you and up in your face and licking all over you and then he sees a squirrel out of the corner of his eye and takes off in the opposite direction? The friendly dog is the person who is excited and supportive and right beside you as long as you can keep their attention. (Joe mentioned the dog in the movie "Up" as a good illustration)

Quiet Dog
- the quiet dog is equally excited and eager to be your friend, but will want some time alone to rest.

Friendly Cat
- cats tend to enjoy things more on their own terms. The friendly cat will want you to meet them at a point, but if you can do that they're on board and eager to sit with you in the place they've selected.

Quiet Cat
- the quiet cat is the person you don't typically notice in the room. If you approach them calmly, they may eventually join in, but if you let the friendly dog go after them they're going to hide forever and maybe even disappear.

If you can recognize which of these someone is, it's easier to put them in the right position and expect the appropriate things from them. If you have the same expectations of everyone with no allowance for temperament, you are destined for constant annoyance and frustration.

Which animal are you?

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