How can we lead people successfully if we don’t understand them? That question inevitably leads to this one: Are they supposed to understand us in the daily interchanges of business, or we, them? Understanding is underrated and often incorrectly evaluated.
Leadership is about people knowledge and understanding, and understanding is underrated. Knowledge and understanding are absolutes when people are part of the mix. Therefore, the greatest skills are our knowledge and understanding, not our techniques. Sometimes the person we can’t do without is the one we don’t understand. It’s not only our need to understand others, but their need to be understood. Have you met the leader who operates as though it is everyone else’s responsibility to understand them? Things never go well when this principle is in play.
Understanding others is a key people skill that is available to all, and this understanding is underrated.
Understanding is doubly difficult if we don’t understand the basics of human design. This is why temperament assessments are used more than all psychological tests put together. They begin at the beginning of how a human’s psyche operates, uncovering the urges and drives of what shapes a person.
Too often, we don’t begin at the beginning. We start with a person’s dispositions and attitudes, with minds already influenced by previous encounters, and on and on the buildup of obstacles to understanding another person accumulates. Therefore, “correct” understanding is underrated. Sometimes the more we interact with them, the less we really know them. Then we expect that leaping over all our built-up conclusions about them and being direct will lead us to clarity? Don’t set these observations firmly in place. Rather, start at the beginning. Know them at the core. Know their inbuilt urges and drives that shape their lives. We can then dispense with all the mental static and see them for who they are and where they are going.
Judgements about others prove how understanding is underrated.
Our “understanding” — really, our misunderstanding — arises out of the judgments we make. Mostly, as I just said, we approach people with judgments already in place. Then we listen to them and continue to make judgments as they speak. We are not necessarily being judgmental, but forming opinions and making decisions. All of us do it.
First, however, in order to understand someone correctly, we must have the correct facts about them. Then we must understand those facts — the facts as they also know them to be. Relationships go foul when we attribute to others an understanding of their thoughts and actions that are in direct opposition to how they view them to be.
Help! A Temperament Key drills for their understanding of themselves — just what we want: the subjective data that only they can give us, data unpolluted by our judgments — and we should welcome that. Start with their understanding of themselves or we start in another world, a world where they are not. To understand a person and build a successful relationship, we need to divest ourselves of all the mental “static.”
Acknowledging the differences among us
People are not all the same. It’s a truism, but seldom is it really acknowledged. Getting others to think and feel like us (the pygmalion effort) is, of course, where communication and understanding of each other goes astray and both of us end up feeling misunderstood. The side effect is, we also feel unappreciated or treated as though we are less intelligent. Leadership begins with understanding the other person, not the other way around. When leadership understands the worker, it’s much easier on the worker and leaders actually become more successful.
Get off to a great start; it’s an inside job!
Leaders are off to a great start in their relationships with those they must influence when they know their people at the core of who they are, the correct facts that otherwise are unavailable to us.
There is something deeper than common interests. Please others with what they want: to be really understood and respected for who they are. Move from good to great with the knowledge that will surprise your staff and all those within the world of your influence. You can learn about yourself and your team when you get results from a simple, non-threatening assessment like a Temperament Key. Try it out for yourself.