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Peoples post: an expert view on people by Ruth Howden

From the Editor

Ruth Howden has been at UNIT4 for 20 years working in a global people-focused role. As a Support Manager on a daily basis she is dealing with new people challenges. In this short interview we ask her what her secret skill is when working with others and what she has found makes people more productive in the workplace.

What do you think helps people connect with one another? The obvious answer would be to have something in common, but even if you don’t appear to have anything in common, if you really want to connect you will find something. An interest in people and what they are doing is key. Listen to them, spend time with them. Be honest, be yourself and keep in touch!

What is your charm or secret skill when dealing with people? I’m not sure it’s a charm or a secret skill but mine would be to treat everyone as an individual, get to know them, be friendly, approachable and respectful. Let people see you as a human being because you get far more out of people being a ‘people person’.

What is your favourite app? And why? Being severely navigationally challenged – Google Maps is a saviour.  I wish I had this when I first met my husband. We were going on a diving trip to the Farne Islands on the North East coast of the UK and we both assumed the other would be good at navigating – wrong!  After an hour of driving we ended back where we started. In our defence though we did set off from a farm in the middle of no-where. Plan B was to have the sun on our left which worked! Good job it wasn’t raining. This clearly shows technology is so helpful but of course so are humans!

What is your favourite quote about people and why? My Favourite quote about people is “we’re all human, well, most of us are anyway”. I have met my  share of interesting personalities over the years and some are all about the facts without the feeling! Many years ago we used to have a list on our wall in the support department of customers we would try and “cultivate.” We had a good degree of success on this too! About people I would say: “People never cease to surprise you”. It’s that situation when you think you’ve got it all worked out, you’ve prepared your communication and then something comes in totally left field – ‘never a dull moment’ – ooops that’s another quote!

What do you think is the secret ingredient for productivity at work? A common goal – a team working together! I love it when I hear a few of the support consultants getting together to help one of the team with a tricky customer problem. The discussion and interaction is brilliant. Value and respect your people, peers and management alike, make sure they know they are valued and what it means to you. The secret ingredient I think is “ideas”. People who are engaged in the work they do will always have good ideas – so make sure they get feedback and their ideas are implemented whenever possible. Last but not least, don’t forget to have some fun!

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