How To Communicate With More Success
Communication is a part of every day, but often we don’t do it with much success. That leads to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, confusion, and a host of other not so happy experiences.
I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I’m still learning how to adjust the way I speak to others in a way that takes into account their personality and way of receiving information.
A Personal Communication Example
When my daughter was young, I would share several chores for her to do along with all the details so she would have all the information she needed to complete the tasks – at least that’s what I thought I was doing. Like most D/C (think controlling perfectionist) I would want both the specific tasks and details up front so that I could make a plan and execute it.
For my I/D (fun loving/controlling) daughter, the many details overwhelmed her causing both the tasks and my helpful details to go in one ear and out the other. Most days she would dutifully attempt to tackle the first chore only to find something significantly more fun to focus on along the way. Let’s just say getting chores done was a challenge.
The chore challenge with my daughter highlighted our differences and made me realize I needed to make some changes. It was the beginning of my fascination with personalities and quest to understand the differences.
A Leadership Communication Example
Years later, I had the privilege of leading a team of amazing ladies. Each one brought different knowledge, skills, and personalities to the table! The lessons I learned with my daughter proved incredibly helpful in working with these women. I was able to communicate with each gal on the team in a way that worked best for them and the way God made her.
Being able to communicate with individuals who have a different personality profile from your own will allow you to be a more effective leader. It also minimizes the friction and conflict that comes with misunderstandings.
When it comes to personality, there are no better or worse personality types. They all have strengths and the all have weaknesses. And they all approach life differently. Understanding your own personality’s preferences is a great place to start. If you haven’t already, consider taking a DISC personality assessment. Odds are good that you are speaking to others the way you would want them to speak to you. Then, becoming clear on how to recognize the personalities you encounter so that you can adjust your communication accordingly.
Here’s what I find incredibly helpful about the approach DISC takes. For starters, it’s a four-temperament model so it’s easy to remember and apply. And it takes a look at your personality from two perspectives: Graph #1) What you think others expect you to be like and Graph # 2) What you are really like – the real you that comes out under pressure. It’s interesting to see the ways your personality shifts in the presence of others.
Communication goes both ways – how we deliver information and how we receive it. It’s natural to deliver information the way we would want to get it, but because we are all different it’s important to adjust the way you communicate based on how the person you are speaking to likes to receive it.
Ready to discover what works best when it comes to communicating with the various personalities? Let me introduce you to a few friends:
As you can see, there are some natural challenges when it comes to communicating. For example, Drew loves choices, but offering options to Steve might overwhelm him. Or sharing a host of details will completely cause Izzy to check out while Cathy is hungry for the details!
Everyone is Unique!
In real life you won’t find a Drew, Izzy, Steve, or Cathy. In fact, most of people are a combination of more than one personality or behavior style and are dominant in one of the four personality types and then have a secondary personality type. For example, as a D/C D is my dominant and C is my secondary personality trait. My friends above simply give you a clear picture to help you to begin to understand yourself and the people in your life.
Which friend (or friends) do you identify with? Have you spotted the people you live with, work with, or lead?
When I tapped into the fact that my daughter was an Influencing Izzy/Driving Drew, I was able to make doing chores more fun and communicate in a way that worked for her. Rather than relaying a list in a serious fashion, I needed to lighten up and ask her to do one task at a time in the most lighthearted and enticing way.
Communicating successfully with the ladies on my team required me to be detailed and specific for some and a whole lot of fun for others. When we all met together, I needed to be sure I spoke in ways that would connect and be meaningful for all of their wonderfully unique personalities. The success and morale of my team hinged on how well I was able to accomplish that task.
What adjustments do you need to make to better communicate with the people around you? If you were a more flexible communicator, what difference would it make?
Curious about your DISC personality profile? Contact me to learn more the DISC assessment and an assessment debrief for you or your team.