Improve Your Communication. Improve Everything.
Updated: Jul 14, 2020
I've always been a bit of a talker, but as I got older, I learned something that transformed my life. Talking isn't always communicating, and communicating well is a critical component to success. How well you communicate affects every area of your life. It affects your marriage. It affects how well you parent your kids. It affects your career. If you're a leader, it affects how well you lead your team. How well you communicate affects every relationship in your life and every area of your life.
I'm an extrovert, and some people believe extroverts have an easier time communicating. I don't think that's true. I believe every personality type has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to communications. You may be familiar DISC personality profile. The DISC profile is a great system that gives you an easy way to see how different types of people interact with each other. If you've got kids, there are even books out that allow you to profile your kids. I highly recommend it to help you understand and communicate with your kids better.
Let's take a moment and discuss communications "tendencies" through the lens of the DISC profile. Before we get into this, realize that all of us each have a little bit of every personality type. Many times, we will have 1 or 2 personality types that show up as dominant for us. These dominant types are where we most often operate in our daily living. However, depending on the situation, we'll dip into other personality areas if required. If we operate in these areas that are not "natural" for us, it can cause all kinds of side effects like depression, fatigue, and more. Kind of like an introvert being forced to act like an extrovert. It can be done, but if it's done for too long, really negative things can happen. I know because I've lived with a wonderful introvert for 22 years. She works hard to keep up with my "extrovert", and I have seen the side effects it can have on her.
D = Dominance
Characterized by the Lion
Person places emphasis on accomplishing results, the bottom line, confidence
Lions can tend to be domineering to those around them and as I've experienced often don't consider people's feelings. Lions need to temper the strength of their communications otherwise the people they are trying to communicate with can feel intimidated and not speak their mind effectively "shutting down" healthy communication. This can happen at work, at home, with a spouse, with kids, with friends and family. Often accomplishing a task or goal trumps people's feelings when it comes to communication. A lion will step all over people's emotions in the quest of the goal. Lions need to learn to be softer spoken so others feel safe to speak their minds and hearts.
I = Influence
Characterized by the Otter
Person places emphasis on influencing or persuading others, openness, relationships
Otters like the be playful and the life of the party. Often "we" can seem aloof to other people and not caring in our communications. I say "we" because I'm an otter. I like to have fun. Sometimes when things should be serious we're still wanting life to be fun. As such, sometimes otters will avoid serious issues or communications preferring to enjoy life. We're a lot of fun to have around, but sometimes frustrating to the lions and beavers who want to get things done. Many otters have a tendency to talk a lot and over-communicate which can become rambling. We often make people feel like we're not listening to them because we'd rather be talking. We need to learn to listen.
S = Steadiness
Characterized by the Golden Retriever
Person places emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, dependability
Golden retrievers love harmony. They hate conflict and they are super loyal. I know because I married one. An awesome one. Because they love harmony and despise conflict, golden retrievers often avoid difficult issues and communications. They'd prefer to "sweep things under the rug" that disrupt the harmony at work or at home with the family. However, difficult issues can't be avoided forever and they eventually surface. Golden retrievers need to feel heard and appreciated so that they can better communicate their thoughts and heart's feelings. While the lion is dominant, the golden retriever is submissive with introverted tendencies.