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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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9.1. Management through conversation

This might sound strange, but it took me a long time to understand the value of talking to people in the workplace. I'd chat and joke around, but I rarely confused socializing at work with the actual doing of work. My upbringing and experiences in college led me to believe I had to solve problems on my own at work. In my first year at Microsoft, I'd rarely seek out the opinion of others or find someone who had more knowledge than I did and reuse it. Instead, I'd grind it out on my own and work hard instead of smart. At the same time, I watched two of my earliest managers, Ken Dye and Joe Belfiore, exhibit the curious behavior of spending a great deal of time talking to other people. I'd see them, sitting in various other people's offices, chatting away. As busy as I was, I couldn't help but wonder how they could afford to spend so much time "socializing." Being new, I didn't ask them about it. Instead, I just labeled them "extroverts," which at the time, given my background, was a minor kind of insult. Their behavior annoyed me (shouldn't they be working at least as hard as I am?), and I didn't see any value in what they were doing. How wrong I was.

As my responsibilities grew, I slowly understood what Ken and Joe had been doing. Through trial and error I learned that manhandling, bullying, dictating, or demanding things wasn't an effective tactic when I needed things from people who weren't obligated to listen to me. I noticed similar results ...

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