Posted by: Matthew Molinari | June 6, 2012

There’s a Guy for That

I am going to diverge a bit off my normal topics but I was thinking today about the different categories that people are put into and how that influences the way they interact with people. This seems to be particularly true in the business world where most people are put into three categories: marketing/sales, finance and operations.

How many times have you heard someone referred to as a “sales guy” or “oh, he’s more of an operations guy”. It’s weird how one tag can really frame perception of us. What are you really saying if you refer to a co-worker as a sales guy? In some references that might be a positive connotation and in others it may be intended as a dig at that person.

I think in the larger picture when you think about these labels you are actually thinking about much more than selling or financials. When you refer to someone as having a marketing frame of mind you may be saying she knows how to relate to people and how to get people to follow her. This certainly makes for a good leader because they usually won’t have a problem working with others to help overcome any short comings they themselves have as a leader. I think it also gives them a good perception of how consumers view the company and how employees in department A view those in department B. Their background could very easily lend itself to better teamwork and improved customer service levels.

If you are a finance person then this lends itself very well to leadership as well because you are able to understand the entire business and how each department works together towards the larger goal of the company as a whole. You are probably able to spot trends and ways to improve individual lines of business that can help cut costs or increase market share. You can help other people in the company understand how each department is much like a spoke in the wheel and how their inputs relate to the bigger picture.

Having a background in operations also doesn’t preclude you from being a strong leader because you know all the ins and outs of the business and have probably worked on the front lines with many of the employees. Over the years you most likely have learned to work with people under pressure as well as determine how to deal with fires as they arise. People will inherently trust your opinion because they know you’ve “been there”.

Really, there are strong upsides to each type of personality and in the end no one person can be everything. The best thing to do is know your strengths and allow others to fill in the gaps for you. The biggest problems most people face is when they try to be “the guy” in every situation. There is no shame in asking for help when something falls outside your comfort zone. So, what type of “guy” are you?

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