Lets revisit these two employees that I introduced in the last post – one who likes to think things through before they speak, and the other who talks a lot as a way of activating their thinking.
When these two people problem solve together conflict can arise. The thinker wants the talker to stop talking, and the talker wants to thinker to speed up and get excited! So the question is, how can these two people start to view these differences as complementary and not just areas of frustration?
The first step of course is to realise that these differences exist and that neither style is better than another – each style has strengths (and weaknesses!). I have been in this same situation myself, where I am the one who likes to think things through carefully prior to speaking…from my experience, here are some useful tips to help you on your way…
1. Change your attitude (not necessarily easy to do!): knowing that the other person likes to talk, just give them the space to do this, and get involved in the conversation…it won’t kill you to get out of your comfort zone a little.
2. Communicate: Let the other person know that you may need a little time to think things through, rather than just blurting out an idea on the spot.
3. Investigate the strengths of the other person: The ‘talker’ is someone who may be more in tune with how an idea may impact on people around them, so ask them questions about how the potential solution will have positive or negative consequences on people
4. Speak their language: Go out of your way to engage with them in conversation
Now all of these four points (and there are many more things you can do) may be uncomfortable to put into practice, but they can change a relationship instantly. When you realise that people are generally not trying to make your life difficult, but are just coming at an idea from a different perspective, the tension and the conflict no longer exist to the same degree.
The focus of this blog post has been on the “thinker” and a few strategies for them to consider – next post will look at the talker and some strategies for them to engage in more effective communication.
DiSC is a great tool to help people understand these communication differences, and how they can be turned into complimentary styles.