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Psychology and Communication as Complementary Skills for Manager

Different Skillsets
Personal Growth
Leadership

19 January, 2020

Ilya Kozlov, VP of engineering at Taxfix, explains how making a big investment in the area of psychology boasted an even bigger payoff in his engineering manager role.

Problem

As an engineering manager, there were a few people that I found difficult to talk to in terms of delivering a message and understanding how they received information. Stemming from my desire to spend more time with people, I found the biggest impact for me in exploring psychology as a means to better initiate and explain things to others.

Actions taken

As I switched to a full-time engineer manager position, I decided to take a psychology course of roughly 200 hours. It was a course for trainers: most of the participants were business trainers, high-profile salesmen, art therapists, or managers. This became even more in-depth in terms of group dynamics of how people react to things, how to react to those reactions, and how to understand the dynamics while you’re speaking.

It further diverged into personal communication, where you really need to understand the right approach for specific individuals early on in a conversation. There is a bunch of psychology behind it and techniques that can be used. We had a crash course about MBTI and a few other powerful tools as well.

Most importantly, were the workshops where you can actually train those skills in scenarios within your groups. All the workshops were recorded, so you could see yourself perform and learn how to make improvements.

Lessons learned

  • Upon completing this course, I am now able to adjust the way I communicate with varying personalities. I was effective in putting this to use after discovering that none of my peers were getting along with our interim manager. I was actually able to build relations based on my understanding of the type of language I needed to use with this person.
  • You can learn to train your weaknesses as well. It is really hard for me to ask people to do something and I was training specifically on that. Not only on asking as a manager, but asking as a person, so at the end of the day, you can ask a big favour of a random person on the street if necessary. This lends itself well to how you would sell something or initiate another thing. For me, it was extremely useful and gave me a really good foundation for all the engineering manager things that I have been doing.

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