Yesterday was a busy day, and one of my meetings ran over by 15 minutes! I wrapped up promptly and quickly checked my phone, I had a text message saying “You going to be long!?”
For some of you reading this, you may be thinking… so what, just get on with it!, some may think that was short, and have more questions than answers. Some of you may assume I have upset someone, while others may consider this to be a jovial way to get me to hurry up. The point is we can all interpret things even the smallest, simplest of things, in our own way. So why is this?
In Curium we believe that we all have strengths and preferences when it comes to behaviour. Understanding what these are and how they change in different contexts can help us become more aware of ourselves and others and allow us to choose better outcomes.
I could have chosen any of the above interpretations and this will have then impacted on what happened next in terms of my behaviour. My natural interpretation would have been to assume that I had upset the person who text me and they were responding with a rather short and what could be seen as blunt text, meaning when I saw them I brought with me a negative perception before we had even started!
As it turned out, I smiled because I understand the preferences of my team colleague, they have a preference for getting things done, getting results. Their intention was far from wanting to upset me. Time is precious, I was late for our meeting and they wanted to get it underway, and this was there way of saying it. Knowing this I was able to remove any emotion I might have had about the text, and see it for the intention that was behind it.
The challenge is always to be open to others’ preferences and recognise that what you might perceive someone being from their behaviour, might be incorrect. I have been fortunate to explore this using the TetraMap instrument, for myself and across my team and it has been an invaluable tool in achieving much better communication outcomes.
TetraMap measures people’s preferences from their own perspective, groups those similarities into elemental symbols – Earth, Air, Water and Fire to help us recognise preferences to improve communication. Brilliantly it also tells a person that it is okay to be the way they are no matter what the elemental scores.
Knowing this stuff has really helped me and my colleagues value the strengths and preferences everyone brings to the table. Our working life is definitely easier and more productive as a result!