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Improving Communication by Understanding Personalities

Many people have heard of the "Golden Rule", which is summarized by treating people the way we want to be treated. But have you heard of the "Platinum Rule"? The "Platinum Rule" says "Treat others the way THEY want to be treated"! Sounds great, but this begets the question, "How do they want to be treated"? The secret lies in understanding their personality and your own tendencies. Often our own tendency will rub others the wrong way, creating more problems than it solves. For example, I was recently getting ready to give a workshop on the Maxwell Method of DISC, which explores the various personality types and their styles of communicating. I knew I needed to lead with vulnerability for this particular group in order to show them that it was ok to be open with each other. My DISC type (I,D,C, if you are familiar) has a weakness that I tend to overuse. It is impatience. I went to my wife and told her what I was doing and asked how it affects her when I am impatient (you can hear the train a comin', right?). She was very honest with me and told me that it makes her feel anxious, that I'm faster and smarter than her, that what she is doing isn't very important and that she should be better. It also sets her back from where I wanted to go, because she then has to work through the issues I created just to get back where she was, so I'm really shooting myself in the foot and working against her and myself. Oh, she also said it is annoying! Wow, I never meant to do any of those things to my wife! Just think, if I hadn't seen my report and asked the question, I may have continued to cause all those problems and never known how difficult I was making things for her and myself. This type of personality dynamic causes so many problems and is avoidable, with a little understanding! Often, when I am called to work with various organizations, I'll find that the team members are often very passionate, sincere, devoted to the mission.... and driving each other nuts! It is because they are communicating from their bias, while not understanding the other person's personality and preference and communicating in a way that others can receive. It is always a great joy to me to see the light bulbs coming on as team members begin to understand themselves and each other better and gain insight in how to best communicate and connect with each other. When they begin to understand, morale is improved, time wasted due to needless offenses is eliminated, the culture is enhanced, and productivity is increased, so the bottom line improves! What benefits a little understanding can create. If this sounds like your team, I'd love to help. Please contact me at and we'll plan how to best work together to build your team! All the best!

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