Recently, I offered four “habits” people exhibit that, if you spot them, you can use to forge better connections and enhance personal communications. Just to recap. . .
1. PROCEDURE <—> POSSIBILITY
The “procedure-oriented” person tends to follow a process very thoroughly. On the other hand, a “possibility-oriented” person will be interested in exploring other options or innovative ways of doing things.
2. PROACTIVE <—> REFLECTIVE
As you can imagine, the “proactive” type will be action-oriented while the “reflective” type is the analyst in the group.
3. MOVING TOWARD <—> MOVING AWAY
When asked a question, the “moving-forward” person will answer what they want and what they expect while a “moving-away” person will use the negative—I don’t want this, I will have less of that.
4. INTERNAL <—> EXTERNAL
When looking at a situation, the “internally” oriented people will evaluate it using their own standards whereas “externally” oriented people will reference external standards.
(Want the full story? Read the full Part One of how to Unlock the doors to communications and build solid relationships)
Now, let’s look at four more habits people seem to fall back on when connecting with others (and dealing with life, in general). Again, if you recognize these in people, you can use that valuable information to strengthen your relationships through your communications with them.
5. SAMENESS <—> DIFFERENCE
On the sameness end of the spectrum, you will find people who feel most comfortable in a world that stays the same. They will look for similarities. They prefer routine, stable patterns. Not surprisingly, they don’t like disruption and change. They’re also more process-oriented. They could easily stay in the same job for 10 years or more. You will hear them use words such as classic, traditional, proven, usually, always, historically and others.
On the other side, you will have people who love to take risks, they love revolutionary change. As soon as they’re good at something, they lose interest and don’t want to do it anymore. They enjoy a changing environment—look for them to change jobs every 12–18 months. They will use words and phrases such as breakthrough, no way to compare, new ground, it’s like black and white.
It’s interesting to note that only about 5–10% of the population is on the “sameness” end of the spectrum while about 25% are on the “difference” end in North America. Most people are in the middle which means that while they like things to remain largely the same, they can deal with changes from time to time. They don’t mind change, but gradual change is more acceptable. They will use words such as evolution (not revolution), incremental, gradual, improved, advanced.
Why is this helpful to know? When you are implementing changes in your organization, for most people, using a softer language will help. Doing things step-by-step, using words such as learning, growth and adaptability will help. The type of organization in which you work will likely determine this mix of people, of course. If you work in a start up, it is very likely that you will have a larger proportion of people on the “difference” side of the spectrum.
6. SPECIFIC <—> GLOBAL
This one is quite easy to understand. When dealing with a project for instance, some people will be very detail-oriented and factual; they are the “specific” type. “Global” types tend to summarize tasks or events into an overview. They talk about goals and direction, details are not perceived as important. Usually, their sentences are much shorter, and their emphasis is on the present and the future.
7. SELF <—> OTHERS
This habit determines if people put the emphasize on themselves or on others. For those who are more focused on themselves, you will hear them say me, I or myself. Usually, they like facts, data, places. On the opposite end of this spectrum—the people who are focused on others—you will find people who are very sensitive to non-verbal communication who focus on feelings. Usually, they have a challenging time taking criticism.
How to tell the difference? Simply ask the question: “how do you give feedback?” The “self type” will feel more comfortable with feedback and will talk about facts whereas; someone on the opposite side will feel slightly more uncomfortable, highlighting the feelings of the other person.
8. IN TIME <—> THROUGH TIME
The way people deal with time often depends on cultural elements, and sometimes the same person can be different at work and at home. However, people who are “in time” are in the now and are highly connected to their emotions. They are more reactive and live in the moment in a very intense way. They could be late, but not be aware of it. They take things as they come.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, people who are “through time” are very aware of the passing of time, and are usually on time. They’re usually very good at planning. They tend to remember events in general and are not very emotional.
I hope you are having fun exploring these deeply entrenched habits people carry around with them. Have you identified these habits in you? In your colleagues and friends? And most importantly, have you tried to change the way you communicate with them now that you have identified some of them? How did this change your relationships? I’d love to hear about your experience.