Plastic, toy monkeys. The worst communicators ever! Image courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock.

No matter what type of career I think I’ve had, I have always ended up becoming more of a mediator between parties.  More often than not, it’s between two parties that are at odds, have a difference of opinion and for some reason can’t seem to work it all out.

I guess this is how I have become invaluable to the organization – I just help people work shit out.

Quite honestly, this same philosophy can also be used by anyone who wants to be invaluable in their career and organization.  It’s such a simple skill that no one bothers to work on.  This is fortunate for me because I’ve got a knack for being an intermediary between two parties.

I can break it down to the most fundamental of ideas: communication and understanding.    Understanding is obviously the more important of the two, but communication is fairly close.

As it was written in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “seek first to understand, then be understood.”  Basically, it means really listen before trying to get your point across.  Most of the time during any arbitration, people are getting their argument loaded without really listening to what the other side has to say.  It is in your best interest to listen and try and understand first before unloading your argument.  It will definitely help in the long run.

Now about communication – it has been mentioned over and over again by many leaders that communication is key.  I think what most people fail to mention is that clear communication is far superior to all other communication.  Sometimes not saying anything is much better than being a poor communicator, especially during tense moments where the wrong thing could spell disaster for any agreement.

Moreover, making sure you have clear and simple communication in all types of media is very important.  From emails to phone calls to tweets, making sure your message is exactly what you want to say will spell success for any endeavour.  More often than not, poorly written emails are the cause of many misunderstandings and angry exchanges.

So if you’re thinking about improving yourself in your career and standing out from the rest, just remember:really listen and speak as simply and as clearly as possible.  The more diligent and disciplined you are with those skills, the more successful you will be.


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