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Communicating Within a System: Appreciating and Respecting Individual Differences
2010-02-22 17:52:09

Like it or not we all live and communicate within systems. A system being defined as a group of people with which we must interact on a regular basis. For most of us we all have to go to work, we all go home to our families, and many of us are involved in other systems such as Church, Teams, and School. That being said it is very important to learn to communicate effectively with the people within our systems. It is important to learn to appreciate and respect the different personality types, the different strengths that individuals offer within our system. Conversely it is important to recognize and respect the weaknesses of people within our system. We all have our behavioral strengths and weaknesses, respecting those differences creates healthy systems. When the individuals of a system respect one another, work off each others' strengths, then that system thrives. When individuals don't understand or appreciate differences in others then the system becomes unhealthy and begins to fail. This is what makes effective communication and understanding the emotions of normal people important because all of us are different. Each of us interacts and perceives the world differently based on how we are mentally wired. So, what are the major differences and how do we know the behavioral preferences of our peers, how do we know about their strengths, their weaknesses? Think of it like this, when a new business opens there was someone that drove the idea, someone with the determination that thought it could be done. Many business owners are dominant, direct, and decisive leaders. Without these behavioral characteristics we wouldn't have new businesses popping up. In this scenario we will call the business owner a type "D", and in general population only 10% of the world has this behavioral style. After deciding the business could be built someone needed to help finish designing it. Someone needed to help create the infrastructure, the processes, how to track the company information. We needed someone that was calculating, creative, and careful, we needed a Controller. This person is generally more reserved and task oriented, they are very logical, they make great accountants and technicians within a company. In this scenario we will call the Controller a Type C, and in general population approximately 20-25% of the world has this valuable behavioral preference. Once the Controller had designed the company with the supervision and input of the business owner. We needed someone to sell the idea, we needed someone to tell everyone in the world about it, we needed a sales person! This person is generally outgoing and people oriented, they are inspiring, influential, and interactive. We will call this person a Type "I" and they represent about 25-30% of the population. After all had been organized the company needed customer service representatives. We needed people who were supportive, stable, and steady. This person is generally reserved and people oriented, they represent a majority of the population, approximately 30-35% of the world is a Type "S". The "S" is the glue of an organization because they are so supportive, preferring team work and cooperation. Together with these 4 behavioral preferences we have a fantastic team, we have someone that is in charge, someone who is good with all of the details and planning, someone to sell the product, and someone to work with current clients. If we lose one part of the team we stop functioning. Or if we don't respect a certain type of behavior we end up with problems in our system. One thing that is important to remember is how difficult it is to do someone else's job. You can ask almost any sales person if they would like to do the accounting and they will almost always tell you, no way! Most accountants or system designers can tell you right away they don't want to be a sales person, most don't want to have to talk to people all day long or stand in front of a group and give a presentation. Respecting each other's natural behavioral differences is critical when we are in a system. So if you are wondering why one of the systems you are in has too much tension and is uncomfortable, perhaps learning about the emotions of normal people, or studying DiSC, could help turn that system into a thriving respectful team again.

Sam Johnson teaches effective communication and leadership skills through personality theory. He is certified in DiSC Personality theory and Professionally trained in Myers Briggs. His acedemdic background is also rooted in communications skills and leadership.

Communicating Within a System: Appreciating and Respecting Individual Differences


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