We are approaching “Thanksgiving” here in the US – a day that encourages families and friends to gather around the table and give thanks for the good things and good people in our lives.
This holiday can be both an opportunity and a curse. Some families have personalities that seem to clash – and rather than it being a day of thanks, goodwill, and sharing, it becomes a day of survival or stress.
Interestingly enough, those same people that seem to get on your nerves at family gatherings operate every day in the world with others that respect them and listen to them.
Remember – diversity is a fact – it is a condition – people are DIFFERENT in how we look, how we think, and how we interact. Inclusion – is a CHOICE. We can choose to understand ourselves and others (what we call self and team awareness) and change our reaction to others’ differences to a thoughtful and intentional response.
I remember having a conversation not long ago with someone, where if we had not been aware of and managed our understanding of our personality tendencies, it could have gone very differently.
This individual tends to look at things from a perspective of other people doing things to intentionally hurt them or make them mad, in other words, some of the things others did had “intent” to cause harm.
We had to change how we approached interactions and think about how I tend to typically portray things and how they tend to “take” or perceive things.
They also started giving the benefit of the doubt that people weren’t intending harm, pausing to reflect what the other person may actually be trying to convey before they respond. The result is more diverse and inclusive thoughts and more open and effective communication.
Do you have that family member that:
- Tends to always be in a hurry and seems to “run over” others?
- Tends not to listen, but keeps talking about what they want to talk about?
- Tends to get frustrated with things that don’t go exactly their way?
- Tends to go into their shell and avoid any potential conflicts?
- What about some combinations of these?
These are all personality-tendency attributes that, if not recognized and managed, can cause stress and dysfunction in any relationship.
To overcome the differences, we must commit to ourselves and to our families that we will try to be aware of and manage those tendencies that may be different from others. By being aware of and managing your tendencies, you are modeling behavior that your family and friends will notice and probably want to emulate.
We have had the pleasure of working closely with Equilibria, an organization that has spent the last 14 years collecting and analyzing information on how different personalities see and manage risk.
By analyzing over 600,000 data points, we know that individuals with different personality tendencies react in very predictable ways to things like stress, poor communication, conflict, and other tendency-driven “traps.”
Equilibria used this technology to help the over 10,000 volunteers for SuperBowl 51 in Houston Texas, learn to recognize, understand and manage their personality tendencies which resulted not only in a great SuperBowl experience for more than half-million visitors, but also resulted in more effective family, school and business interactions using the techniques they were taught.
My Robservation is, Diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be something we only do at work. Most families and friends do not pay enough attention to personality tendencies as they pertain to how they manage their interactions. By recognizing how individuals with different personalities interact (that’s diversity), we can manage our responses to improve outcomes (that’s inclusion.)
You can find out more about how your personality deals with risk by downloading the E-Colors App onto your mobile device and taking a few minutes to Find out your E-Colors. Have your friends and family do the same and start discovering how your personalities impact how you see things, and how you tend to react to different personality tendencies and traps in others.
Perhaps replace the “political discussion” at the next family gathering with a discussion of your e-colors and how each of you likes to give and receive information. You will be surprised and amazed at what you discover.
Please share some of the things you learn in the comments. And remember, Intentional Leadership starts with YOU.