Manage Difficult People Challenges with DISCerning Communication

UpsetMan_canvapurchase

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)

BehaviouralStyleCharacteristics_beyondThe Four_v270514

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Discuss implementation so that the issue is moved from the surface.
  3. Establish deadlines.
  4. Put reminders in place.
  5. Monitor progress.

DISCerning Communication makes a difference.

 

These principles are also incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People program.

SHRMThe 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.

 

 

Advertisements

How To Be More DISCerning With Others

 

woman-789146_640

My 2+ granddaughter makes it clear when I can sing along and when I am to be silent. I discern that compliance is required.

Discernment enhances inter-personal relations and effective leadership. This is wrapped up in an approach that I call DISCerning Communication.

The concept incorporates behavioural preferences.  Questions about the value and validity of classifying behavioural styles have been raised.

Reference to an analogy of clothing preferences puts the issue into correct perspective. In reality, behavioural preferences are directly equivalent to our taste in clothes. We can put on or take off shades at will. At the same time, our library of photos will reveal a shade preference.

I have a preference for wearing blue. However, a pitfall would be to label me as a blue-shirt man. I am not wed to blue and wear other colours.

It is beneficial for the clothing store owner to know that there are people who have a preference for blue so as stock accessories and variations to satisfy them. However, it would be an error to confine their dealings with me to only items of blue. I might be seeking to diversify my wardrobe or could be encouraged to try on something new.

The fundamental principle is the need to separate the behaviour from the person.

The store owner should handle demonstrated blue shirt preference by showing things that go along with blue shirts. However, she should treat theindividual with an open mind, not knowing what they might want this time. Once the customer indicates a preference then the owner should roll out the things that are best suited to that style.

This approach dramatically improves the capacity of the store owner to satisfy customers. She identifies the cross-section of preferences that she will serve and works out how to best serve the needs of each preference. She does not need to be concerned that customers might have complex tastes. She focuses on learning to discern when a preference that she has classified is displayed and roll out her tested strategy for satisfying the identified needs.

Now, it could be that in a single encounter, the customer displays different – even conflicting – preferences. That is fine. Be clear about which preference is being addressed at any point in time and present the solution that meets those needs. Then move to the next.

The challenge we have created with behavioural classifications comes from the need to affix labels on others. The store staff says here comes blue-preference Trevor and shuts down every other expectation of my behaviour. Then when I am drawn to the flaming red turtleneck there is shock and their faith in the classification concept is dented. Focus on behaviours not on individuals!

Properly defined the behavioural classifications are consistent. People are not. Learn to identify behaviours and how best to respond to or manage them and life’s journey is a lot easier to navigate.

Step 1: Master the descriptors of the classification framework such that you can distinguish among behaviours (not people!).

Step 2: Learn how to get best results in relating to each category in the framework.

Step 3: Discern when each category is being displayed and apply the ideal strategy from Step 2.

That is the real value of behavioural classifications – facilitating inter-personal relationships. Stapling types as labels on the foreheads of others is misuse.

Avoid relying on “He is X”; “You are Y”; “I am Z” use of classifications!

Inserting the word using  makes all the difference in the world. “He is using X” alerts me to use X appropriate responses. I am also open to the possibility that he could shift to using Z at any time and I am flexible to apply suitable Z strategies.

However, the question remains: Is the store owner who invests in having customers fill out a questionnaire that highlights their preferences wasting time and money?

Not at all and here is why.

The store owner soon realizes that the range of preferences could be reduced to a manageable number of classifications. For simplicity here, she realizes that at its core her customers have a prevailing preference for variations of red, yellow, green, blue.

She uses that understanding to learn everything about relating to the nuances of each category (colour) and meeting their needs. She figures that showing blue might attract my interest but the minute I signal I am into red today, she rolls out her red sales plan.

The beauty of behaviour-based discernment is that the owner has the flexibility to deal effectively with both old and new customers. She discerns what’s going on with each customer in this moment and acts accordingly. DISCerning Communication works!

Next time, we discuss the value of  behavioural classification frameworks in leading others.

 

Ask about the SHRM-accredited 3-D Leader Certification: Dealing with Difficult People. Earn SHRM Professional Development Credits.

The next cohort of the ICF/SHRM accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award is January 2016.

E-mail: info[at]swpacademy.com

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.