Trying to get people to understand you isn’t enough. The better path is to start by understanding others.
Years ago when I received my Meyers-Briggs® Certification, the facilitator shared how many of us learned the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Then he said, “we advocate the platinum rule—do unto others as they would have done unto them.”
Do you see the difference? The platinum rule is all about understanding others so you know how to best communicate with them. Often we think only about ways to get our point across. But in doing this, we miss the fact that everyone is wired differently. Therefore, the best laid plans often fall on deaf ears. Imagine if you knew how to speed read someone so you could better communicate with them?
Understanding personality has improved my understanding of the teammate I work with the most–my wife. In terms of personality, we are opposite in every way. I talk things out, she thinks things through. I see the big picture, she sees details. I often critique, she compliments. I’m open ended, she’s timeline focused. After 15 years of marriage, we’re still learning too. When I learned the platinum rule it not only changed my marriage, but also how I work with teams. Up until that point I taught a lot of great techniques, but I missed the heart of it all–healthy relationships.
Much of the friction on teams comes from lack of understanding. This leads to relational distance which leads to lack of trust. When teammates don’t trust each other, they won’t have healthy conflict. Of course, this leads to other dysfunctions. For me, learning the platinum rule was a powerful starting point that helped me learn to understand others.
I’ve used my understanding of personality type in many settings since then. I use it every day in my marriage, when I work with teams and in my normal life. One time used my knowledge of personality to even calm an angry guy down at a pub!
Recently, I’ve become an Authorized Partner with Wiley & The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.™ Using a new tool called All Types, I’m excited to use the principles of personality type to help strengthen teams. If you’d like to learn how your team can benefit from the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,™ contact me. In the meantime, here’s a great video explaining more.
Seek to understand others before seeking to be understood! It’ll make all the difference and eventually strengthen the bond of any team.