By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. All the managers in my company are being asked to do more with less. Most days I just feel like tearing my hair out! Do you have any suggestions about multi-tasking especially when you manage people?
A. I approached Dr. Mehmet Oz, heart surgeon, columnist, author and television personality who is a master of multitasking. Plus, surprisingly, he's a genuine, calm and down-to-earth guy.
I started out by asking Oz how he manages a hundred people on his television set, maintains numerous business partnerships, and supervises his staff at Columbia University. Oz observed, "It is all about getting to know each person you work with well enough to find out what his or her dream is and then helping them realize that dream."
He noted that in any group he manages he treats his staff like family. "In a family you don't sugarcoat things," Oz said. "You look in each other's eyes and tell the truth. In the workplace, sometimes this means people are in the wrong job and they leave, but they leave for a job that is a better fit."
He compared the work that goes on in the operating room to the work on any workplace team, "In an operating room, each member of my team has a job and certain strengths. When operating, I need to stay focused on my work and let my team have the freedom to do their jobs."
I asked him if he ever finds these "workplace as family conversations" difficult. He acknowledged that really getting to know people at work means more conversations about painful emotions. "It is impossible to fix a feeling until you make sure the other person knows you have heard that feeling," he observed.
I asked him why he thought that, in most workplaces, people end up suffering not because of the work but because of other people. Oz pointed out that everyone on the planet will experience pain, but not everyone needs to experience suffering. "Suffering is the decisions we make and the behaviors we chose when we are busy trying to avoid our pain," he explained. "When we cannot feel or cope with our pain, we do foolish things with other people and then we suffer."
Sitting with Oz, I couldn't help but wonder how he maintains such a calm presence. He shared that he practices Transcendental Meditation. "When I meditate, I go to that place where truth lives," he said. "I can see what reality really is, and it is so much easier to form good relationships then."
I asked him how he inspires such loyalty in those that love, know and support his many professional endeavors. Oz's eyes took on a characteristic twinkle as he suggested, "If you want to change someone, care about them."
Oz finished our interview by emphasizing how important it is for people in the workplace to realize there is a we in every me. He concluded: "There is a common ground, when we get to know each other, where everyone can win. Find it and let people surprise you as you serve their higher good."
THE LAST WORD(S)
Q. Do you have any tricks to avoid offending people at work?
A. No, there's no Jedi mind trick that can control other people's reactions. There are quite a few tricks for what to do once someone decides they are upset.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
(c) 2010 INTERPERSONAL EDGE
This column was originally printed in the October 10, 2010 - October 23, 2010 edition.