"A quick word..."
If those words strike dread in your bones, then you’re not alone. It's even worse when they come from the lips of someone who you just can’t seem to gel with and who whatever you say, you just can’t seem to get your messages through properly.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if everyone dealt with issues and communicated in the same way?
As someone who will do pretty much anything to avoid conflict, I’ve struggled in the past when dealing with people who seem to thrive on it.
I understand that having things out in the open and expressing what we really feel is often necessary, and the healthy way to deal with things, but my instinct is always to smooth things over, say what needs to be said to put people at ease and therefore potentially store up problems for another day.
All of which must be profoundly frustrating for the other person – usually someone who values direct, frank communication. Someone who tells it like it is and expects other people to as well. If you’re one of those people, you probably want me to get on with this and cut to the chase: how can this story add value for you?
So being conflict averse is a part of who I am – it can be a massive strength as I’m often described as a natural diplomat and viewed as someone who’s skilled at getting people working together. But unsurprisingly, it’s held me back in the past: I was hugely uncomfortable giving people anything other than glowing feedback and if I occasionally blundered into an argument somehow, I would just clam up and say virtually nothing.
I’ve therefore learnt strategies to deal with conflict, so now, although I certainly wouldn’t go out looking for it, when a conflict presents itself, I can deal with it skillfully. I can have open and honest conversations with people and say difficult things. I’ve learnt how to spot those that have a more no-nonsense style than me and speak and write more directly and concisely with them so they hear what I have to say, rather than being put off by unwanted diplomacy and what they might see as a lack of clarity.
Every strength if overused is a weakness, and therefore every ‘weakness’ can be used in the right circumstances as a strength. Those direct communicators can be seen as rude, aggressive and blunt in some situations and by people with opposing styles. The magic happens when we know how to and when to exhibit those styles.
What I’m getting at here is that we all have ways that we prefer to communicate, and be communicated with. If you’re aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and have the tools to spot those preferences in others, you can communicate more effectively with everyone.
What we need is a shorthand, so we recognize what communication preferences we and other people have, and can then adapt our styles to make our communication more effective, just like my example above.
Thankfully, the shorthand does exist in the form of DiSC personality profiling. It’s simple and that’s why it works. It has the power to transform workplaces (and homes!) everywhere.
So here’s the shameless plug; if you’d like to find out more about how you can use DiSC to improve communication in your workplace; give me a shout today. I can run workshops at your office or do one to one sessions where we explore your profile and put together an action plan based on your unique style and preferences.
I’m also running a rare open-to-all workshop, where you can learn all about the four basic communication styles and how to spot them and communicate with them better, at the stunning Workshop & Play in Ampthill Bedfordshire.
With all of my workshops and coaching packages you will receive a detailed personal DiSC profile with lots of information about your personal style, those strengths and weaknesses and suggestions on how to adapt your style to communicate better with others.