Much of the work we do at PPStrat is done closely with leaders and managers of teams at all levels, helping them make the connection between their DiSC® style and leadership. From there we carve out a clear path to maximize their effectiveness. With one unified model of leadership—vision, alignment, and execution—our first step in the process is in building that understanding. On a fundamental level, leaders must understand their own leadership styles and how their tendencies influence their effectiveness in specific leadership situations.
We didn’t reinvent the wheel, but rather, we built on many years of collective experience across pools of experts and many years of collected research. Turns out, there is something truly important about understanding your communication style.
Why do we start with a leader’s own communication as a means to build a powerful strategy for inspiring high performance.?
Because as leaders, if we can’t make sense of ourselves and how we communicate, we’re never going to understand the different ways that people are hearing us. If you communicate your mission, vision, values, and priorities to your employees, and only 25% of the team hears your message the way it was intended, that’s not effective. 75% of your people could have vast misperceptions that prevent buy-in and group cohesiveness, and at worst, drive a wedge between you and them. That’s not at all what you intended, but the communication barrier caused a costly and avoidable problem. If you understand the various ways your communication might be interpreted, you can help others understand your intent and customize your message or r approach so that each faction gets your true meaning.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to help others understand you, not the other way around.
Know What to Delegate
Your communication style reveals what’s important to you and your greatest strengths. It also reveals behaviors that fall lower on your list of concerns and your potential weaknesses. There is tremendous power in knowing where you shine and where your focused attention thrives, in that you can design your efforts toward where you’re the most effective and delegate others with greater skill and passion in your less effective areas. Leaders that do this well unlock an entirely new set of gears to drive progress, innovation, and productivity in their organizations. You also create opportunities for other leaders to emerge in your organization.
Improve Your Effectiveness
Based on their own DiSC style, leaders can recognize the priorities and tendencies that shape their approach to the fundamental work of leaders. Then, they can then begin the work of exploring how to play to their strengths and overcome challenges and improve their overall leadership effectiveness.
We work with leaders all the time, helping them identify strategies to develop preferred behaviors based on context-specific best practices. Everyone can get better at communicating!
Kristina Kennedy, Co-Founder and COO of Kickstand Communications, an award-winning PR Company in the Technology space says, “As a high D, my attention to results and making decisions quickly can sometimes come across to firm members of another communication style, as callous or narrow-minded. I’ve learned that at times, I need to pause and allow others to process my requests, and that I need to ask more open-ended questions when I’m delivering my message to make sure I’m being understood the way I intend.”
Never is this more important than in the context of conflict, which is a natural occurrence in any organization. Our most recent webinar, Productive Conflict, discussed a self-focused approach to reframing our automatic thoughts for a more thoughtful and strategic process of communicating during disagreements and heated situations.
If only more leaders recognized the power that comes from self-control as opposed to attempting to control others. With the latter, at best, you’ll get compliance. With self-control, your influence warms the hearts and minds of your team around a mission and vision that they will eventually share. Buy-in trumps compliance any day of the week.
Watch the full Productive Conflict Webinar
David Ryan is a mineral acquisition specialist at a mineral investment company, ES3 Minerals in Austin, Texas. He says, “We’re expanding, and with expansion comes new processes and organizational structure. Our leaders are very good at communicating how internal changes support the organization’s mission to provide the highest level of service in our space. Our President makes time to talk with us individually and gets feedback regularly to know how we’re interpreting the decisions being made.”
It’s that kind of attention to communication that companies of all kinds can use to weather change and maximize opportunities, leveraging their people as their biggest asset.
One of the most inspiring researchers in this area is Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist, Victor Frankel. Dr. Frankel survived internment at four concentration camps during World War II. Critical to his survival was his acceptance and belief that amidst having every other choice stripped from him, he still held the power to choose his response to what was happening to him. Dr. Frankel’s experiences with the Nazi regime created his foundational insights on self-control. Dr. Frankel’s words still ring true.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Let Dr. Frankel’s advice give you the courage to dive deep into what makes you tick, and the choices you can make every day to represent your priorities in the best way possible, the way that inspires and empowers others around you.