I recently attended a seminar on leadership presented by Vincent Phillips, CEO of Communications VIP and Professor of Public Speaking at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
In his presentation, Professor Phillips posed a thought that stuck out to me: “Instead of treating others the way you want to be treated, treat others the way they want to be treated.”
But how do you know how they want to be treated? With so many personality tests from the well-known Myers-Briggs to “What color is your parachute?” to DISC assessments, it’s easy to get lost simply trying to figure it out.
Then once you and your friends or coworkers have been “diagnosed” as a certain type, how do you navigate the waters of communication between a person who is ENTJ vs. INFP? And how do you remember who is who, when you can’t even remember who you are?
According to Vincent Phillips, knowing who you are is less important than being able to recognize and adapt to who others are. Knowing the preferred style of communication of your boss, coworkers and friends, and communicating with them in their “native” language is what makes you most successful.
Professor Phillips developed the L.E.A.D. technique by combining historical data with today’s ever-changing professional culture. Below is a breakdown of what each letter represents in regards to the four major leadership communication styles:
L: Laid Back – reserved, loyal, team players, supportive
E: Energetic/Emotional – talkative, sociable, gregarious, excited
A: Analytical – detailed, organized, logical, cautious, calculating, accurate
D: Direct – bottom-liners, blunt, risk takers, competitive
According to Vincent Phillips, everyone falls into one of these four styles, and about 80% of us are at least two! Most leaders tend to be laid back (40%), followed by energetic/emotional (28%), direct (18%) and analytical (14%).
Each personality style has its strengths and weaknesses, motivations and communication preferences. When you know how to avoid defensive triggers in other styles, you can modify the approach to apply behaviors that will build rapport with all four styles!
Use this as a cheat sheet when interacting with your coworkers, boss or family to increase leadership efficiency and reduce miscommunications.
DO: Emphasize team, allow time for questions, give next steps, build trust, and reassure
DON’T: Rus, single them out, demand, leave them solo, assume, and exclude their input
DO: Show interest, address them personally, give the big picture, involve their emotions, let them talk, set follow-up
DON’T: Be drab, speak monotone, be too formal, focus on details, be all facts, forget to follow-up
DO: Be specific, research first, focus on facts, provide in writing, give due dates, organize content, respect personal space
DON’T: Be vague and ambiguous, make assumptions, say “trust,” “hope,” “try,” forget to give parameters, go on randomly, dodge their question
DO: Be blunt and clear, state purpose up front, use short sentences, stick to the goal, provide a challenge to conquer, be logical
DON’T: Worry about hurting their feelings, use long explanations, be analytical, dodge accountability, overuse “and” or “because,” provide excessive detail, lead with emotions, take things personally.
Professor Phillips explained this complicated group as: “[They] can curse you at 9 a.m., and invite you to lunch at noon.”
As humans, the dynamic that makes us unique is the same element that can make leading and communicating with others challenging. By learning how to interact with all types of personalities, you’re sure to excel in all facets.