Exploring Different
PERSPECTIVES
Communication Skill-Building

Ever noticed that some people are a pleasure to communicate with and others are a pain?

communication skill-building

Sometimes we can get mildly irritated by communication exchanges and other times outright offended. Most everyone has particular “pet peeves” when it comes to communication—those behaviors or ways of interacting that trigger a negative response in us. If we are not mindful, once we get triggered, it is easy to spiral into unresourceful thinking which can destroy trust and corrode communication.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), also called Compassionate Communication, is a process developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s. Rosenburg discovered an insightful way of working through the conflict that arises when two individuals have contrasting strategies for having their own needs and values met. His process involves identifying one’s own needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs.

Combining elements from Compassionate Communication and personality awareness provides a powerful avenue for reframing negative perspectives and opening up lines of communication.

Steps for Reframing Perceived Negative Communication Behaviors

When you find yourself in a situation where one of your “pet peeves” is being triggered,
pause and ask yourself these five questions:

1. How do you feel when you witness this behavior in others?
2. What are your top 3 needs or values that are not being met when this happens?
3. What would be a sane, logical explanation for this other person’s behavior?
4. Given this logic, how must that person be feeling when they act that way?
5. What needs or values are they trying to meet?

Let’s explore some common feelings, needs, and values for each of the personality styles in some typical situations. By reframing an example “pet peeve” for each personality style we can better understand the perceived values violations that are occurring for both parties in each situation. This process helps to foster understanding and promote empathy which reduces negativity and creates compassion.

Connector (NF-Blue) Perspective

The Connector personality style craves kindness and compassion in communication. They desire the emotional safety to express their honest opinions. Connectors dislike conflict, negativity, and what they perceive as hostile body language or tone of voice.

A common pet peeve of the Connector personality style is when they perceive others as acting CONDESCENDING.

FEELINGS of Connectors:

  • Vulnerable
  • Uneasy
  • Hurt

NEEDS of Connectors that may not be getting met:

  • Connection
  • Emotional safety
  • Compassion

LOGICAL EXPLANATION (if other person is a Thinker):
The person is trying to uphold a high level of competency by immediately stopping you from making a mistake—saving time, avoiding embarrassment, and insuring accurate info.

FEELINGS of a Thinker that is perceived as being condescending:

  • Protective
  • Confident
  • Passionate

NEEDS of a Thinker acting condescending that they are trying to meet:

  • Clarity
  • Trust
  • Competency

Recognizing that a Thinker who is perceived as acting condescending is feeling protective of accuracy, confident in their knowledge, and passionate about their subject AND that they are trying to get their needs met for clarity, trust, and competency, helps you not take their behavior personally. In turn, when this person distinguishes that the Connector they are communicating with is feeling vulnerable, uneasy and hurt—they may consider altering their own behavior to better meet the connection, emotional safety and compassion needs of this personality style.

Planner (SJ-Gold) Perspective

The Planner personality style craves purpose and clarity in communication. They want to know details, instructions, and expectations. Planners dislike interruptions, skipping around topics, and what they perceive as indecisiveness or indecision.

A common pet peeve of the Planner personality style is what they perceive as INTERRUPTIONS by others.

FEELINGS of Planners:

  • Disrespected
  • Irritated
  • Off-kilter

NEEDS of Planners that may not be getting met:

  • Respect
  • Efficiency
  • Order

LOGICAL EXPLANATION (if other person is a Mover):
The person is struggling to retain their thoughts so they want to share it before they lose it. They feel the information they have adds to the interaction and must be interjected immediately for highest impact.

FEELINGS of a Mover that is perceived as interrupting:

  • Eager
  • Enthusiastic
  • Interested

NEEDS of a Mover who is interrupting that they are trying to meet:

  • Exploration
  • Understanding
  • Excitement

Recognizing that a Mover who is perceived as interrupting is feeling eager and enthusiastic to contribute and stay interested AND that they are trying to get their needs met for exploration, understanding, and excitement, helps you not take their behavior personally. In turn, when this person distinguishes that the Planner they are communicating with is feeling disrespected, irritated, and off-kilter—they may consider altering their own behavior to better meet the needs of a this style for respect, efficiency, and order.

Thinker (NT-Green) Perspective

The Thinker personality style craves logic and objectivity in communication. They want to know the facts, the big picture, and tend to ask questions for more information. Thinkers dislike redundancy, emotional outbursts, and what they perceive as incompetency.

A common pet peeve of the Thinker personality style is what they perceive as BEING CONSTRAINED by others.

FEELINGS of Thinkers:

  • Held back
  • Limited
  • Unappreciated

NEEDS of Thinkers that may not be getting met:

  • Creativity
  • Freedom
  • Big Picture

LOGICAL EXPLANATION (if other person is a Planner):
The person wants to stay consistent, stick to an agenda, or keep things propelled forward in a linear fashion. If they allow creativity or straying from the plan, it could cause time delays, inconsistencies, and unpredictable results.

FEELINGS of a Planner that is perceived as trying to constrain others:

  • Focused
  • Organized
  • Momentum

NEEDS of a Planner who is constraining that they are trying to meet:

  • Productivity
  • Purpose
  • Structure

Recognizing that a Planner who is perceived as trying to constrain the creativity of others is feeling focused, organized, and maintaining their forward momentum AND that they are trying to get their needs met for productivity, purpose, and structure, helps you not take their behavior personally. In turn, when this person distinguishes that the Thinker they are communicating with is feeling held back, limited, and unappreciated—they may consider altering their own behavior to better meet the needs of a this style for creativity, freedom, and the big picture.

Mover (SP-Orange) Perspective

The Mover personality style craves action and enthusiasm. They want speed, spontaneity and impact. Movers dislike slowness, too much processing or theory, and what they perceive as boring conversations.

A common pet peeve of the Mover personality style is when they perceive others are being INDIRECT.

FEELINGS of Movers:

  • Confused
  • Suspicious
  • Unempowered

NEEDS of Movers that may not be getting met:

  • Clarity
  • Involvement
  • Results

LOGICAL EXPLANATION (if other person is a Connector):
In the spirit of cooperation, the Connector is being flexible and trying to accommodate different preferences and opinions. They want to avoid conflict and maintain rapport. They do not want to come across as over-bearing or pushy.

FEELINGS of a Connector that is perceived as being indirect:

  • Insecure
  • Afraid
  • Polite

NEEDS of a Connector acting condescending that they are trying to meet:

  • Reassurance
  • Appreciation
  • Harmony

Recognizing that a Connector who is perceived as being indirect is possibly feeling insecure, afraid, or simply wanting to be polite AND that they are trying to get their needs met for reassurance, appreciation and harmony, helps you not take their behavior personally. In turn, when this person distinguishes that the Mover they are communicating with is feeling confused, suspicious and unempowered—they may consider altering their own behavior to better meet the needs of this style for clarity, connection, involvement, and results.

The point of this exercise is not to “justify bad behavior”. It is to provide insights into the motivation behind the behavior. Understanding the motivation behind the behaviors of ourselves and others fosters empathy, which lays the foundation for Emotional Intelligence.

Empathy is understanding or feeling what another person is experiencing from the other person’s point of view.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior to achieve success in life. It is a measure of awareness of one’s own and other people’s emotions.

Emotional literacy is not fixed at birth, it can be developed over time. The simple practice of identifying and labeling one’s own emotions is the first step towards building the skills needed for effective self-regulation of emotions.

Practicing the five steps presented here for reframing perceived negative behaviors will strengthen your ability to use the emotional information you gather to help you adjust your communication in difficult situations.

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This article is derived from the Exploring Different Perspectives activity contained in the Personality Lingo Communication Skill-Building Trainer’s Kit.

COMMUNICATION Trainer’s Kit

Communication Skillbuilding Personality

Do you find that some are a pleasure to communicate with while others can be a pain? What you say and how you say it can make or break trust, morale, productivity and your organization’s bottom line. How effective is your team’s communication? Understanding the distinctive ways in which different personalities approach communication is a key ingredient to success at work and in your personal life.

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