I remember when I joined the job force y mother and grandmother had to get use to me calling my boss by their first name. They grew up either calling their boss "Mr." or "Mrs." then their last name. This was a sign of respect. Something that is lacking today. Today, it's okay to curse on phone calls, be condescending or even cut people off that are talking on the phone. As BA's we deal with this sort of thing daily. Unfortunately sometimes these sort of behaviors are coming from the project champions, business leads or even executive sponsors which makes it very hard to know how to respond when these sort of things happen. So as BA's can we handle these situations?
- Do not react to the person with the behavior the same way. Instead do the exact opposite, if they are get loud on the phone then you get softer, if they are condescending then kill them with kindness. If you react in the same way, especially if they more credibility than you do on the project, then you will look as being confrontational. This will produce a negative perception on you which is not what we want.
- Do not confront the person with the behavior in front of a group. Pull the person to the side or have a one to one conversation at a later time. Ensure to take emotions out of it when you need to have that crucial conversation.
- Leverage that network. If you find you are in a situation when you need re-enforcement and you happen to know someone who is close to this individual then you may want to leverage that person to help mitigate this situation. Ensure this individual you reach out to is someone you can trust because that is critical to this.
- Know what battles to fight and when to fight them. Not everything needs to be fought. Some things you let go past and then other you don't. Understand your organization's culture to understand what battles to fight as the culture may drive some of the behaviors you are seeing.
- In all things remain true to you. Don't lose yourself trying to deal with difficult people. Maintain your integrity, work hard and continue to build your credibility.
The interpersonal skills are just as important as the hard skills. You need both to be a successful BA. I have seen a lot of BA's struggle because they have one but not the other, but essentially the majority of our job is building those relationships and maintaining them so we can help to build solutions for our business partners that are efficient and successful.
So I encourage you, as fellow BA's please don't lose who you are in the midst of what may be some of the most disrespectful situations. I know this is EXTREMELY hard not to do but if you don't your job as a BA could be so much harder. I am by no means saying be a doormat but I am saying be strategic in all you do and understand your organization's culture. More to come on how to understand your organization's culture.