Two senior managers had just resolved their long-standing conflict, and the whole office was breathing a sigh of relief. The tension had backed the president of the company into a corner, and he feared that one or both would leave.
“Why do you need that?”
Just when it seemed they were out of the woods, another incident cropped up that threatened to collapse their new cease-fire. One manager told me what happened: “I just asked her for a simple report, and she said, ‘Why do you need that?’ She’s stiff-arming me again, trying to keep me out! Just when I thought things were better, the conflict is starting all over again!”
I asked the manager if she still had her communication cards from our team session on DISC. She found it on her desk and flipped through to read the “Do’s and Don’ts for Communication” section. There it was in black and white:
“Understand her need to ask questions, especially ‘why’ questions.”
The manager laughed out loud and asked, “Does this mean I should expect her to ask why all the time?”
“Yes,” I said, “she will always ask why, and it’s not that she’s trying to keep you away. She needs to know the why so that she can understand what you want and what else might be needed to complete the task. She’s actually trying to help you by asking why.”
All the tension left her shoulders as she said, “Oh. Well, that changes everything. I thought she was being territorial and trying to keep information away from me. If that’s how she communicates, then I guess I should just tell her why I need it without being offended.”
Pulling Back the Curtain
You have experienced the same thing, I’m sure—probably on both sides. You’ve been the victim of being badly misunderstood. Someone misinterpreted your words in a way you never intended. It’s also likely that you have misunderstood someone else’s communication. The DISC profile pulls back the curtain on what works and doesn’t work for communicating with teammates.
One of the reasons I recommend DISC to senior management teams is because of the immediate results I see in communication and mutual understanding. Another manager recently told me after a painful argument, “The only reason I didn’t leave is that I read [the boss’s] communication style and saw why he was taking that approach. I still don’t know how to solve this, but I understand him better now.”
A Do’s & Don’ts Communication Manual for People
The DISC profile we recommend has exactly that. Our most proactive clients use the report pages regularly in their team meetings to build rapport and reduce or eliminate interpersonal conflict.
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