It's Not About You

September 13, 2015 / TREAT OTHERS THE WAY THEY WANT TO BE TREATED

It's Not About You

September 13, 2015

Paula Mulford Professional Development Consultant, Communication Expert

Paula Mulford conducts professional development programs and delivers keynote speeches. To learn more about Paula, please go to her website at www.paulamulford.com

The key to achieving unparalleled communication in a leadership role is to realize that “it’s not about you”. People respond enthusiastically to a leader who genuinely cares about what they think, producing higher engagement and productivity for individuals and the company overall.

We Live in the “Age Of Me”
Evidenced by the selfie and people promoting themselves through social media ad nauseam—self-absorption has never been more pervasive. People no longer follow leaders who are always looking in the mirror. The most compelling leader is humble, yet confident and competent. What makes a leader humble? They know what they don’t know; they seek to learn and get better. This type of leader values, and requests, the input of others.

In Communication, Reverse the Golden Rule
Let me suggest that the starting point for connecting with others is to check your attitude, motivation and intention. Try reversing the Golden Rule: “Communicate unto others the way they want to be communicated with; not the way you want to communicate.”

In other words, the definition of successful communication is speaking the way the other person can hear it, not the way you want to say it. 

Adapt to Other People’s Preferred Style of Communication
We all have different personalities, ways we perceive the world, ways we think and process our experiences, and ways we like to communicate with others. We also have preferred ways of receiving information and relating to others. While some people prefer the bottom-line others, need emotional context to understand a message.

For maximum effectiveness, your communication style should be adapted to the person you are trying to influence. How do you do that? Look for obvious clues. The majority of people fall into four broad categories that can be easily identified.

1. The Bottom-liner: This person seeks to add value and is more focused on getting the task done than on people. Be direct, tell them what they need to know, what you want and, above all, don’t waste their time. They like choices and hate stories.

2. The Processor: This person needs time to think and they like to get things right. An easy clue is they will frequently say, “I need time to think about that.” They crave information and data, so be organized and talk in lists. They like to be perceived as experts, so say, “You’re an expert on this, and I’d like to know your thoughts.”

3. The Relator: This person wants to be in harmonious relationships and part of a team. They like conversations to begin with a greeting and an inquiry about something related to them. If you lead with something personal, they will be ready to do business and be in sync with you. If you care about them, they will be in your corner. Talk in terms of “we”, not “I”.

4. The Expressive: This person is a socializer who is full of enthusiasm and spunk. Lead with some form of specific, positive recognition––it’s the gas in their tank. Be positive and let them know how they can make a difference in what you hope they will accomplish. They will work with passion if they feel they will be recognized. Appreciation is the key to the heart of this person.

Once the preferred style has been identified, an intentional leader can shift into the appropriate communication mode or “gear”. 

Photo: Leo Reynolds

Paula Mulford Professional Development Consultant, Communication Expert

Paula Mulford conducts professional development programs and delivers keynote speeches. To learn more about Paula, please go to her website at www.paulamulford.com

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