Brenda Knights Narrative
As Kwantlen people, we’re taught that the community is a circle with four interconnected parts: government, community services, culture and economic development. If these aren’t working in harmony, then you won’t be successful. They all work together. We’re the economic development, but if the culture isn’t the strong and the community isn’t strong and the governance isn’t strong, then our business won’t be successful. We need each other.
So, when I think of persuasion, it’s not just about me convincing you that I should get my own way but making sure that all four parts are working together. For example, we work together to make sure that the community side is able to share in resources of the business group. We’re larger, so we have more human resources. We encourage their managers to call on us. So, it’s about building consensus, so everyone has their needs met.
In society, we used to have neighbourhoods where people helped one another. Now we have strained family relationships. Lots of people are struggling on their own. They don’t have that support structure. But Səýeḿ is a community environment that I feel grateful to be a part of. My mom is an Elder, and our community practices Elder care. That means I can come to work and not worry about my mom. I can use my gifts to help the community because someone else is taking care of her. In a business we need to treat our employees as our family. There may be times when an employee is struggling and it’s up to each team member to be aware and support one another in times of need. It’s how a business can thrive and create work life balance for its employees. As a Manager or Leader there is the opportunity to reassign tasks or help take some of the workload off a struggling employee. A business needs to operate as its own community and for employees, it’s important for their leaders be there for them in times of need.
Persuasion is also about respecting people’s viewpoints. Sometimes, I know that there will be squeaky wheel in the room, someone who will oppose a project no matter what. If I get into a back-and-forth with that person, it will reflect poorly on me. I won’t convince them. As a leader, I have to be professional. So, I will listen respectfully and say, “Thank you for sharing that. I’ll take it under consideration.” That will at least let the critic know I’m listening, and it will show everyone else that I can handle criticism.