Understand yourself and others better

Last week I explored the concept of primary filters; the fact that people have a natural preference for filtering information; a preference for people, things, place, information, or activity. 

As leaders, it’s useful to have a good understanding of the individuals we work with and how they filter information because then we can use this knowledge in a number of different ways.

You can use it to;

  1. Soar with our strengths

    We all love doing what we are good at. Identifying our own and others’ natural strengths is a great way to ensure people are truly soaring with their strengths in their jobs.

    Once you have identified your preference, think about how you can adapt your role to incorporate your preference into your job. Likewise, how can you apply this to the people in your team. Get them to write down their preference along with their job description. How could their role change if they could make their preference, their primary filter, the central component of their role? 
  2. Increase our own versatility

    In his book Textbook of Wisdom; Edward de Bono, the Godfather of lateral thinking, draws a distinction between average and wise people by how they respond to situations.

    Those with higher levels of wisdom tend to have much more considered responses to situations. They consider all the things that may have caused the situation before considering all the possible responses to the situation at hand.

    They go on to consider the consequences of each response before they execute their response. In summary, wise people are a lot more thoughtful and considerate in their everyday responses to situations. 

    The good news is, with a little practice, we can all become wiser in our responses; it’s a learned skill. Use the 5 preferences (people, place, things, information and activity) to consider allresponses. To become more versatile, you can try putting on a particular preference hat in situations.

    If you are meeting with someone, think about which hat you should wear to get the best out of the situation? 
  3. Speak the other person’s language and therefore increase our capacity to persuade and influence

    We build rapport with others when we like each other. Have you noticed how people in deep rapport seem to have the same posture – to stand and/or sit in a similar fashion? Sometimes they even dress the same, speak similarly – or even have the same type of laugh. This is not an accident, people achieve rapport when the differences between them are minimised.

    This means understanding each others’ values, matching physiology / posture / voice tone andlanguage style – for example: Do they prefer to talk about people, places, things, information oractivities 

    When strong influence and liking patterns are at work, rapport is being built at a deepunconscious level. Therefore, to access states of “being liked”, or to effect useful outcomes in business, we can employ the skills of building unconscious rapport, with conscious intent. The other person or persons will not notice – they will simply feel more at ease with you, more quickly, especially if you are very “unlike” them in the first place. It is important to note that the person does not have to like you or be a friend to have rapport – particularly in a professional context.

    One of the areas that we can match and mirror is language. We can listen to the other person’spreference and the language that they use and structure our message based around their preference. Assume we want to persuade someone to support a disaster recovery project and that person’s preference was people, we would structure the message around how the disaster recovery project will reduce people’s stress, make people’s jobs easier, etc. If we can catch what it is that we want people to do in their preference, they are more likely to support our cause.

    If the person’s preference was information, we could talk about the disaster recovery in terms of the information that could be lost if we do not consider this disaster recovery project and the implications of losing that information.  
  4. Coach others

    Talk to the people in your team and tell them about the concepts of primary filters and the importance of identifying them in ourselves and others. Set up a situation in which they can explore their own preferences and whether they are helping or hindering them. Allow them to see how other people they work with have different preferences to them and provide them with the practical communication tools they can use to move towards better interactions with one another.

Understanding how we interpret the information we receive on a daily basis is an important basis in understanding our strengths, motivations and areas for improvement. It helps us in our communication and collaboration with others and will help us to be the very best versions of ourselves.

If your leadership team could do with my help in 2023 get in touch today, I’d love to hear from you.

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