A couple of days ago without too much thought, I posted on Facebook (FB) about the severe storms that pushed through our Houston area. I showed a picture of a burning house with text saying “Someone on the street perpendicular to our house got struck by lightning.” Immediately, one of my FB friends saw the post and must have thought, quite literally, that someone got struck by lightning. So they replied back and asked – “The house or a person?”
And then earlier this week, I took my new puppy to get her shots and was asked by the office assistant to go into the first room on the left. However to do that, you first had to literally take an immediate left in the hall to go down the hallway and then the room was the first door on the right. But the assistant was just simply stating what she viewed as the first door possible to go into, that was in the left direction of the hallway.
Confused yet or are you able to read between the lines?
Sometimes, when I’m reading information or getting instructions like the office assistant gave me, I feel like I’m looking at the Rorschach blot. They seem very ambiguous. However to others or the person conveying the information, the information may seem perfectly clear.
As a consultant, I often utilize personality assessments and spend a lot of time working with others to evaluate their style of communication, learning, and engagement because it helps to improve performance, productivity and profits. And I’ve found over the years that too often, we take for granted or simply believe that others communicate, learn, and want to be engaged the way we do. But many times this leads to frustration for both parties, possibly the whole team, and the result is usually under-performance.
As a leader, it’s extremely beneficial and ultimately profitable to set your team up for success by knowing exactly how they do each of these things: communicate, learn, and engage.
So if you want to optimize performance, I’d implore you to communicate and behave in a way that will satisfy those needs. Otherwise you’re spending more time and money by sending them to look for a door that may or may not be the first on the “your” left.