3.2 Deciphering the Communication Styles of Managers
High S, their inclination is to take their time before acting and make decisions based on people and emotion so the s here stands for steady. So again going back to the original two questions we asked, the high c's inclination is to take their time before acting and to make decisions based on logic. Well the big thing that I would suggest you all do about four seconds after we close this session is Google Disc, d-i-s-c. You'll find lots of information.
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Welcome back. I’m Margaret Meloni, and we’re here today with Anthony Harmetz to talk some more about communicating with your manager. Anthony is a consultant who specializes in personality style. Welcome, Anthony.
Thank you. It’s good to be here.
And so, Anthony, what I wanted to talk to you about today was to help us better understand how we can communicate with our managers, especially those who are higher up in the organization. And I know you have a lot of expertise in this area, and I’d like to hear a little bit about your background.
Okay, well I’ve been coaching and mentoring senior leaders for about a decade. I’ve been coaching and training people in the workplace to work better with their managers and with other people in their workplace for about 20 years.
Okay, I think that makes you an expert. Okay so Anthony what advise do you have for people who need help communicating with their managers?
Well Margaret, what’s been helpful in communicating with anybody, for me, is to be able to understand their preferred working and communication styles. And what I find with upper management is that many of us do not get a lot of time with upper management. So it’s important to be able to very quickly determine what their style is so that we can relate to them effectively.
Okay that makes complete sense but I have to ask you, how do we do that?
Well, one of the style models is fantastic for quickly determining what somebody’s style is and knowing how to adjust to them is called DISC.
Okay, and I’m familiar with DISC so tell us more.
Well DISC is a four styles model and the DISC is an acronym for dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance which makes it really easy to type people into four styles by asking yourself just two questions. First is this person’s natural inclination to act quickly or to take time before acting. And secondly, is this person’s impulse to make decision through facts and logic or is their impulse to make decisions through people and emotions.
So if I’m following you. With these two questions I can size up a person’s DISC style.
Right, with the answers to those questions we get four possible styles. Someone whose impulse is to act quickly and make decisions on logic.
Mm-hm. Someone whose impulse is to act quickly and make decision on emotion.
Okay. Three, someone whose impulse is to act slowly and make decisions on emotion, and fourth, someone whose impulse is to act slowly and make decisions on logic.
Okay, is it really that easy to type people?
Well, it’s a little bit more nuanced than that, because we don’t always act on our gut preferences. So, for example, you might have someone whose instinct is to make decisions by emotion. But, they’ve learned to make most of their decisions through logic. Or someone who’s really naturally rather slow-paced, but they work in a really fast-paced environment so they’re making lots of decisions really fast.
Okay, now how would you suggest we get started typing people?
Well, since it can be a little bit nuanced and challenge to type people, what you should do is start typing the people who’s styles are really obvious. People who sort of have extreme personalities. And then later, once you’re getting good at that, you can work on the people who’s styles are a little more nuanced.
Okay, then let’s go to that fast paced, logical manager, and give us some tips. What are the traits that person would have?
Well, they’re direct, brief, and results oriented. In this model, we call this person the high D, D for direct.
Okay. And I think we can all probably relate to that type of manager and that sounds like the personality that we tend to think of as being at the top of the organisation. Well the truth is that all four styles are often leaders at the top but this is the one that’s our stereotype of the strong leader. So, they’re self assured, they’ve got a clear vision of how things should be and sometimes they’re so direct that they can even seem intimidating or maybe even blunt.
All right. Well then what’s the best way to approach them?
You’ve got to be brief, direct and to the point yourself. And you don’t want to start out by making a relationship with them. That might come later or it might not but that’s not the place to start.
Now as you say that, what I’m envisioning is I would speak to them in bullet points and not paragraphs.
Exactly, you want to be well prepared so that you can be brief when you’re talking to them. And you want to be to the point, because they may get impatient with you if you go on too long and start rambling. And you have to present them with alternatives when it’s time for them to make a decision and then let them make the decision.
Okay. So I’m going to leave the decision making to them.
All right. And that’s one type. Now what’s the next type for us to think about.
Okay. Let’s discuss the person who’s fast-paced and likes to make decisions through emotions and other people. We call this disk type the high I. And the I stands for inferential. These people tend to be outgoing and animated. They relate well to other people and as leaders they’re very charismatic.
Okay. So this is the high I type, and what’s the best way to approach a high I type? Well it’s best if you can paint a picture, create a vision of what you want the results to be and you also want to share some of your emotions and you can relate to them personally.
Okay so if I’m following then, the best way to approach a high I manager would be build rapport, be friendly.
But you also want to take care of the details for them. They don’t always need the details. They need to buy into the big picture. And you need to take care of the details for them.
Okay, this makes sense. Now, we’ve covered the high D and high I, so I’m going to put a big bet on the line here and say high S is next?
High S, their inclination is to take their time before acting and make decisions based on people and emotion so the s here stands for steady.
Okay I think I know some people like that. What else would you like to tell us about the high s?
Well a high s manager is slower paced and their natural preference is to make decisions through emotions. So they tend to be polite and tactful. Very good listeners.
So our approach to a High S manager is what?
Well, you need to start by breaking the ice and being a little bit personal. You want to friendly relationship with them. You want to be polite yourself. And you don’t want to push them. You want to ask them sincere, open-ended questions and get them talking. They may not share what they’re really thinking unless they know that you care and are open to hearing it.
Okay, then that means it’s time for us to take a look at our final type, the c.
The c, yes. So again going back to the original two questions we asked, the high c’s inclination is to take their time before acting and to make decisions based on logic. So they care about accuracy, precision, thoroughness, and data.
Okay, and I come from IT. So I think I know that personality, potentially.
Lots of High Cs in IT.
So when communicating with a High C manager, what’s best?
You really want to be well prepared and well organized. So you wanted to do that with the D so that you can be really quick and to the point, and you not get tongue tied. But with the high C, you want to do it because they’re going to ask detailed questions. You may need to be more thorough, you may need to find the exact piece of data that they ask for in your materials really quickly. And don’t try to influence them to make a decision. Let them know what the pros, and the cons are. Don’t try to sell so much. Let them know what the pros, and the cons are, and then let them make their own decision, and know that they may not make that decision on the spot. You may go away, and they’ll get back to you later.
Okay. So those are our four major types. But, what if I don’t know someone’s type before I need to communicate with them.
Okay, two ideas for you here. All right, good.
First ask other people that you know. You might ask them hey, does he seem to be slow paced or fast paced? Hey, does she seem to be personal and somebody you can easily relate to or somebody who’s a little bit more reserved. And secondly, if you don’t know anybody to ask then you can, if they are at the upper levels of the company. There maybe videos of them that you can find and watch.
Okay, so that’s interesting so people could be watching in and trying to type you and I right now, right? Okay.
Kind of scary.
So this is very interesting.
Yeah, if you were watching you could look for cues like the d person might be authoritative, stand straight, be brief and to the point. And the I type might be more animated, and they might move their body a little bit more, and seem a little bit more charismatic. The S might seem polite and a little bit more quiet, maybe, than some of them. The C might be a little bit more thorough and detailed.
Okay, now do you think that everybody falls into, really neatly into one of these four categories, or four types?
You know Margaret, I actually do. But.
That said, I don’t think that it’s necessarily easy to type exactly where people are on the spectrum. Just by knowing somebody a little or even knowing them a lot because we do flex around the spectrum and we’re all in different places at different times. But I think we sort of have our home spot.
Okay, well this makes sense because human beings can be complex right?
Okay yeah. And so we don’t have too much time today to go into all kinds of additional information. I’m sure there’s a lot more we could discuss, do you want to maybe point us at some references?
Well the big thing that I would suggest you all do about four seconds after we close this session is Google Disc, d-i-s-c. You’ll find lots of information.
Okay this is really great. Now you and I we’ve been sitting here. We’ve been talking about the work place but is disc something that can help me in my personal communications and personal life too.
And in fact it can solve intractable problems like how to get your kid to do his homework, or the challenges between you and your mother or your father. And just understanding better which their style is, how they want to be treated.
That sounds like something that takes practice. Okay, so we’re almost out of time. Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I think that DISC is just really a great style for, not only for working with managers, but for working with and communicating with all of the people in your life.
Yeah, and I think you’ve given us some really great advice here today, thank you so much. And thank you for being with us and teaching us about DISC.
Well, thank you so much for having me.
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