Archive for April, 2012

Perceiving Listening Strengths

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

?I really want to know more about what people have to say.?

The attitudes we?re looking for in a listener:? open-mindedness, curiosity and tolerance, seem to come easily to many Ps.? You can see it in their faces.? They have that ?I?m interested? look in their eyes, and it?s fun to talk to someone who looks like that.?

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel

I can think of many times where I?ve watched people just open up to a P, and suddenly start talking happily about their interests.

?I like to listen because I?m collecting data,? says John, ENTP.? ?Once, a friend told me a long story, and after he finished I said:? ?That?s interesting.?? He said:? ?When most people say that, it?s dismissive, but when you say it, you?re actually finding it interesting.???

?I like to listen because I?m collecting data,? says John, ENTP.? ?Once, a friend told me a long story, and after he finished I said:? ?That?s interesting.?? He said:? ?When most people say that, it?s dismissive, but when you say it, you?re actually finding it interesting.?

?My strength as a listener is that I really want to know more about what people have to say,? says Anna, ISFP.? ?I know?it?s important to them, but I also like to learn from other people.? When I was young, it was a good way for me to be, because I had to go to parties with a whole bunch of my husband?s business associates, who would all be talking about science.? The easiest way for me to mingle would be to ask questions.? I realized that wow, this is exciting.? I could talk to people that I didn?t know, and there were all these other topics in the world that I didn?t really know about.? Also, when I took the time to listen to other people, I got a lot of information that I could really use in my life.?

Because Ps?are so good at data collection, they can gently push the speakers to consider new and sometimes surprising information.

?I can pick out what was not said, what was underrepresented,? says Caroline, INFP.? ?That?s not easy to do, because a lot of time in discussions, everyone starts following along with evidence in one direction and they totally miss that there might be an entirely different viewpoint.?

Instead of opinions or advice, which send the message that the listener was really listening to themselves, most Ps tend to naturally respond with questions, which sends the message that they are really listening and trying to understand.? Another way of sending the message that we?re listening is to repeat back what the speaker said, in our own words, to make sure we are interpreting it correctly.? One P even told us that this practice of ?active listening,? came naturally to him, and was his habit before he had ever heard it described.

?When I first heard about active listening, I thought, ?So that?s what you call it,?? says Jerry, INTP.? ?I did that naturally.? People always seem to find it easy to talk to me, because I put what they said into my own words.? For example, my wife works in a very stressful job as a nurse in an infant intensive care unit.? If I ask her how her day was, and she says, ?It was awful,? I don?t just grunt.? I really do try to understand as she describes the problems she had with a parent today.? When she?s finished, I might say, ?I know it frustrates you when you try to tell a parent that what they want isn?t good for their baby.?? It turns out not?to be a very long conversation, because when people feel understood, the need to tell their story over and over is not so great.

?I worked as a marriage counselor,? he continues,? and some part of every couple?s problem was the failure to communicate.? I taught them to put into their own words what they thought the other was saying.? I told them not to just parrot their words, or you?ll get a response like, ?Don?t do that listening stuff on me.? But if it?s in your own words, it sounds natural, and they?ll be able to tell you if you?re right or wrong.?

Creating a Coaching Culture - By Gregg Thompson

Friday, April 13th, 2012

?an open letter to senior leaders

Creating a coaching culture can be one of the most important contributions you will ever make as a senior leader and will likely be the predominant feature of your personal legacy. It can also be some of the most challenging, yet personally rewarding, work that you ever do. Great leaders always leave their marks deep inside their organizations. What do you want your mark to be?

So what is this thing we call organization culture?? Think about culture as the way an organization is hard-wired.? It’s what makes an organization distinctive.? It’s the organization’s essence, its ethos.? Tomes have been written about the source of an organization’s culture and most researchers agree that it is likely created by the beliefs, values and aspirations that are shared by the most influential people in an organization; the senior leaders.? While it can be difficult to pin down exactly what creates an organization’s culture, it is relatively easy to see the results.? An organization’s culture is manifest in its unique norms and practices.? The best description I have ever heard came from a former professor of mine who said, “It’s the way we do things around here.”

How do your people do things around your organization, and how are these a reflection of your leadership?

Because the causal factors are so deeply imbedded, shaping an organization’s culture is extraordinarily difficult.? Why go to all this work?? Look around you.? When you see an organization that is highly productive, innovative and nimble, it is likely driven by a coaching culture.? People in this high performing organization are bringing their very best talents and energies to their work every day because others are encouraging them, challenging them, seeing the best in time, constructively confronting them…in short, because someone is coaching them.

So how do you know if you have a coaching culture?

Here is a checklist to consider.

Do you lead a team or organization in which:

1.? talent, high performance and career acceleration are greatly valued?

2.? people are excited about their personal and professional growth opportunities?

3.? leaders are seen as trustworthy, selfless and competent?

4.? people feel appreciated for their unique contributions?

5.? well-intentioned feedback flows readily throughout the organization?

6.? promises are readily made and faithfully kept?

7.? difficult conversations are routine?

An organization has a true coaching culture when these are evident.? Fortunately, creating a coaching culture, while perhaps difficult, is quite straightforward.? By taking three bold steps, you can put an indelible mark on your organization and touch the work, careers and lives of every member of your organization in the process.? The tough part?? The first step starts with you.? You need to model great coaching.? This is one thing you cannot delegate to others.? You will likely need some good partners but you cannot turn this work over to others.?

You must be a great coach yourself.? You need to model what you expect of others.? And this does not mean you need to simply have more one-on-ones with your direct reports, give more sage advice or spend more time wandering the hallways.? You actually need to become a great coach.? You need to show up every day doing the things that great coaches do to earn the right to coach others.? You need to be recognized as an authentic, competent leader who is deeply committed to the success of others.? You need to form relationships in which others are inspired, challenged, appreciated and held accountable for their own performance and careers.? You need to courageously dive into difficult, often emotionally-laden conversations that focus on critical topics such as aspirations, disappointments and shifting expectations.

It all starts with you.? If you are not willing to step up and set the standard for others, don’t bother with this initiative.? This will simply be another passing program that will temporarily occupy your HR team, annoy your staff, amuse those already doing good coaching and enrich a few consultants.

The second step is to expect coaching throughout your organization by holding all other organization leaders particularly your direct reports, accountable to coach their team members.? A good way to foster this is to start measuring these leaders not on their own performance but, rather, on the performance of their direct reports.? Strongly encouraging all senior leaders to participate in a high quality coach training program will not only build coaching capability but will also demonstrate your commitment to talent and personal development.? Also, heavily skewing performance management and reward systems toward coaching excellence will ensure that coaching becomes part of your organization’s DNA and not just another managerial competency.

The third and, in many ways, the most exciting step is to expand coaching throughout the organization by encouraging every organization member to invite another to be their coach.? Clear and compelling communication about the value of coaching and that every member of the organization is expected to coach at least one other member will set the stage for a shift towards a coaching culture.? This each-one-coach-one approach will need to be supported by high quality coaching skills training and a long-term commitment from you to stay the course until coaching is simply “the way we do things around here.”

As a senior leader, you make choices every day about where to best invest your talents, time and energy.? If you want your work to mean something special and have a significant, lasting effect on others, consider building a coaching culture.? You are the only one who can make this happen.? Only you can take that first, bold step toward becoming a great coach yourself!

Reprinted with permission from:? Bryn Meredith, Chief Operating Officer, Bluepoint Leadership Development;


Thinking Listening Strengths

Friday, April 6th, 2012

?I can look at it clearly, without emotion.?

What I like about talking to Thinking types is that I know they can listen to me describe a painful occurrence without feeling the pain themselves.? I don?t want to cause other people pain, and sometimes, when I?m confiding to the Fs who are close to me, I realize it?s affecting them, and I end up trying to comfort them and telling them it?s not so bad.? With a T, I know I can describe exactly how bad I feel, because they won?t necessarily feel it with me.

?I don?t have empathy; I can?t feel what they?re feeling, but I can step back a bit and hear the logic of what they?re trying to get across,? says John, ENTP,? ?I can understand their argument.????????

The PEOPLE Process Type Wheel


Also, when emotions are strong, Ts can remain untouched by them and continue thinking clearly.? I wish I had a Ts ability not to feel the pain or confusion of others, especially when it?s someone close to me, because then I wouldn?t be so anxious to make it go away.

?My husband, an INTJ, is able to remain calm when I?m upset, which is not my usual experience,? says Marthanne, ENFJ.? ?Usually, when I get upset, everyone around me gets twice as upset, which is quite annoying.? I remember the first Thanksgiving we spent together when we were dating.? I was cooking the turkey, and I had not allowed the right amount of time and I was supposed to take it from my house to his house.? I was all upset, but he didn?t get upset, or show impatience or condemnation for my being upset.? He just listened through the feeling somehow to what the problem and the solution were.?

?I can look at it clearly, without emotion,? says Pam, INTJ.? ?If you?re looking for someone to help you solve a problem, I?m a good one to talk to.?

Also, Ts are more able to keep in mind that even though someone is making a very good case that they have been wronged, there is probably another side to the story.

?I don?t let emotions get in the way and I try to stay fair,? says Jamie, ISTJ.? ?I?ve learned the hard way that there are two sides to everything, so even though their emotions are legitimate, I should not take sides based on hearing one person?s side of it.? I can listen and commiserate and say, ?Wow, that?s really rough on you,? instead of ?That?s totally unfair!??

Fs might try to be good listeners simply because people like good listeners.? But Ts usually need a different rationale.? They may decide to become good listeners because it makes them more effective in their work.? Good listening, for example, is important in the work of parenting.

?When I was raising children, I realized how important it was to be a good listener,? says Dee, ENTP.? ?I raised a 6-year old and 12-year-old from my husband?s first marriage, and the first year we lived together, I was amazed at how much they demanded my attention.? They really needed to talk, especially because their mom had been dying for years.? Kids have a way of focusing your attention.? They?ll tell you, ?Mom, you?re not listening,??

Good listening is also important in the workplace, and Ts often get their initial insights about the importance of listening from workplace training or experience.

?I worked on a project with two other people where we had to interview managers,? says John, ENTP.? ?We would get together after we?d interviewed a manager to discuss what we?d heard, but we?d spend the whole time arguing about what they had really said.? Finally, I started to take notes and write them up afterwards.? We were shocked to see that we do a lot of interpreting and extrapolating.? For example, a guy would say, ?We manage on performance,? and we thought he must mean he?s measuring the outcome of the training programs.? Then we?d find out he wasn?t measuring the outcomes.? ?Didn?t he say that??? someone would ask, but when we consulted the notes, we realized that he never said he was measuring performance.? After that insight, we became much more effective interviewers.? We could ask great follow-up questions because now we were listening to what people actually said.?

?Once we had a series of staff training on listening,? says Jamie, ISTJ.? ?We?d do an exercise where you listen, and then repeat it back to make sure you understood what they intended.? My first reaction was:? ?That?s positively silly; I know what they said.?? But when we did the exercise it was like, ?Oh my goodness, I didn?t really hear what they were saying at all.?? Just knowing that so much miscommunication is possible opened my mind to the thought that listening isn?t just hearing, there?s more to it.

?The other part of that training was that we should not just listen to words, but also to the feeling behind it.? For example, if they said, ?You never do your share of the laundry,? I would think we were talking about laundry, but what the person is really saying is ?I feel used.? We?re not honest partners.? I?m just here to do chores for you,? It is about being valued in the relationship, and that?s what really needs to be addressed.?

Resource:? The Type Reporter, No. 98