Learning how staff members like to communicate

As a team, we’ve done personality profiling of our team members, looking at how they like to be communicated with. It took me awhile to realize that not everybody communicates the same way I do, and I can be a little bit direct sometimes. So, understanding how other people like to be communicated with has been a real eye-opener for me, the leadership team and the business. Now we know how to get the best out of those people — how to motivate them, how to speak to them, how to communicate and the best time of day to communicate with them. It’s really made us work together more cohesively as a team, and we all understand each other better.

We had a situation quite recently. We have two team members who have very different personalities and very different learning styles: one takes notes; one doesn’t. The person who takes a lot of notes was trying to train the other person on how to do something, and the other person wasn’t writing anything down. And it ended up with the person who is a note taker blowing up at them and exclaiming, “You’re not listening! Why aren’t you writing this down? You’re not paying attention!” It was incredibly unprofessional. So, we had to have a word with them afterward. It turns out the person being trained was paying attention, and she could recite it all perfectly. It’s just that she had a different learning style.

We then had to have a conversation with both members of staff and just say, “Look, you’ve got to understand that not everybody works the same way you do, and we’ve communicated this to the team. Perhaps somebody doesn’t need to write things down all the time. Or some people might need things to be explained to them twice. We’re all different.” We all learn differently, but yeah, it can have disastrous consequences when it doesn’t go right for all concerned in the offense at that time.

It’s still a work in progress, but we’re definitely on the right track now.

Carla Brown, FPFS, is a five-year MDRT member from Cuddington, England. Hear more in the MDRT Podcast: 

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