How To Use DISCerning Communication To Deal With Difficult People Challenges
Here is a different strategy for relating to difficult people.
Firstly, appreciate that many difficult situation challenges are really DISCerning Communication issues. The difficulties are largely a clash of behavioural styles.
When we recognize that difficulties are a conflict of behavioural preferences we are able to apply proven strategies to resolve them. However, if we tie the difficult situation challenges to the individual then it is more challenging to find answers.
A Map of Behavioural Preferences
Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC)
To get a better sense of how behavioural styles confuse communication we take a few examples from Dominant Style traits.
Others interpret “Direct” as blunt, undiplomatic and insensitive
“Decisive” gets translated as rash and reluctant to conduct proper analysis
“Independent” is viewed as being selfish and not a team player.
What happens when we use DISCerning Communication?
Let Don represent Dominance and Susan represent Steadiness and examine their perspective on “Direct”.
Johnny (colleague) has a problem with body odour. Don’s approach is to place his arm around Johnny’s shoulder and speak directly to the BO challenge advising that this brand of deodorant could solve the problem.
Susan reflects for a long time on how to get the message across to Johnny without hurting his feelings. Finally, she devices some subtle approach to give Johnny a hint.
Susan thinks Don’s approach is insensitive. It will hurt Johnny’s feeling.
Don thinks Susan’s approach takes forever while she devises her diplomacy. In the end, Johnny might even miss the message.
This brings their communication to a difference of approach rather than a personal issue.
We can disagree but it is on the grounds of approach not annoying personal flaws. We open our minds to the possibility that there may be an alternative point of view. There is a tendency to be less emotional in those circumstances.
Let us review an Inducement-Style case
Team members who have a preference for the I-style are often simultaneously the source of great pleasure and immense frustration.
Reliability is the major issue for others. “But you said you would……” is a recurring phrase.
Here is a radically different perspective that might save you from pulling out more hair.
Our DISCerning Communication skills inform us that a feature of the I-Style is the desire to please. They seek success with and through people.
Given the need to please others, there is a tendency to say “Yes” readily.
There is also their need for interaction.
Let’s use Ivan as an example. You ask him to do you a favour and he says “Sure.” What are Ivan’s realities?
He has a full time job, is President of his Citizens Association, Vice President with responsibilities for Member Issues at his Service Club, enrolled in evening classes…….. Honestly, where would Ivan find the time to carry out your favour?
The bottom line is that people using the I-Style have a tendency to over-commit. Their desire to please and to connect makes them want to serve. We poke fun at Ivan by noting that when he says “Consider it done”, he instantly considers it as having been done.
How does DISCerning Communication help?
- Take care to have Ivan clarify if his response is Yes (meaning I would like to help) or a genuine commitment to completing your task.
- Discuss implementation so that the issue is moved from the surface.
- Establish deadlines.
- Put reminders in place.
- Monitor progress.
DISCerning Communication makes a difference.
These principles are also incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People program.
The program is accredited by SHRM and offers 16 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications. It involves over 16 facilitator-led, interactive hours of coaching plus 12 months of access to Online Courseware, e-Mail Consultation, Webinars and an exclusive Facebook Community.
Learn more at info[at]swpacademy.com
Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy.