Do Not Change Your Communication Behavior

In my practice, I work closely with leadership and functional teams on topics such as redefining the business model, managing change, and alignment. I see so many different behavior types, utilizing one of many TTI Success Insights assessment tools. One in particular exams how we do what we do. Success in life, work and relationships stems from understanding and having a sense of self – of deeply comprehending who you are, what you do and how you do it.

The research-based, validated TTI Success Insights assessment we use at Stone Mountain Advisers, LLC measures Behaviors in five behavioral dimensions using the DISC theory. DISC measures Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance and was first developed by William Moulton Marston.

Our Behaviors/DISC assessment is key in helping people understand HOW they behave and their ability to interact effectively with others in work and life, as well as how they respond to the following challenges:

  • Problems and challenges
  • Influencing others
  • Pace of environment
  • Rules and procedures

Within the DISC Behaviors assessment, a key element is revealing and understanding how a person wants to be communicated with and not communicated with. In a recent assessment debrief, I was asked by a client why she is always expected to modify and change. My simple answer:

You don’t have to change. You have to educate people how to work best with you.

Why shouldn’t you change?

Your authentic leadership style is unique and it works for you. There may be elements of your behaviors that should be modified, like an offensive temper. You should not become less focused on quality, for example, when in an environment where colleagues do not care about it. Additionally, if you need others to share facts and figures with you in order to make best decisions, there is no reason to change this.

My point is, there are certain aspects of you that create tremendous value in your organization and your team. If all behave the same and possess the same motivators, your group will struggle to progress.

When should you change?

As mentioned, there may be some tough habits or behaviors that need to change. You may consider toning it down when working with some people. For example, a highly expressive Low S/High I actively seeks communications and relationship with a variety of people, as part of a DISC profile. These leaders are sociable and are great mixers. To other behavior profiles, this person could be considered a time waster due to their need to socialize. Should the Low S/High I change?

How about he or she modify or tone it down around those whom she knows prefers less chatting and more straight to business communication? In this case, authenticity is not sacrificed.

How do you educate people on how to communicate with you?

Tell them. Be direct and clear, in a non-threatening way. Doing so during a routine discussion or when you first start working with someone sets a clear tone and expectation. It removes the guess work on how you operate. If you are a conflict adverse individual, take advantage of a casual discussion to express this. Follow up in writing for those who need an additional form of communication to absorb information. The worst thing you can do is wait until conflict arises to share how you prefer to communicate. Work out rules of the working relationship early and reinforce often.

If your team is deep in conflict mode or is going through transition, this might be a great time to put efforts into alignment. I would love to talk to you about our simple alignment platform work and successes we have seen in our practice. Let me know how we can help!