I find it interesting to observe a disagreement, especially between two opposite personality styles. By the look in their eyes and body language, they are mentally in a kung fu crouch, ready to pare and jab or jab then pare.
I spent the day with a pharmaceutical salesperson and his manager. Duane, the salesperson, was a high “C” personality. He was very good at communicating important data to the doctors he called on. It fit his style very well which earned him higher than average sales. But managing and coaching Duane had proved to be difficult for his manager. Duane would often “blowup” when a coworker or manager would ask why he had done something in particular. This would especially happen if there were any nonverbal clues that he might have done something wrong. I spent the day with them, first observing their interactions. Then, I started to interject one simple phrase that changed everything. This one simple phrase, allowed me to ask Duane anything about what he had done and receive, in return, a calm and detailed explanation. That phrase was “Duane, not to challenge, but to learn… Why did you do it that way?” After I had used this phrase several times with Duane, he could tell that I was not challenging him. I did not have to use that phrase for the rest of the day. It was a revelation for that sales manager. He told me later, from that day on, riding with Duane was a very pleasurable experience. It had saved him immeasurable amounts of stress and well over $25,000 in replacement costs had he needed to let Duane go.
Understanding personality styles and key phrases that help direct, encourage, and modify certain behaviors will allow effective communication to flourish. Next week, we will discuss another powerful phrase from Habit Builder training to greatly enhance effective communication.