Business handshake

I’m often intrigued as to why we naturally click with some people, and yet with others we just don’t see eye to eye and may as well be on different planets. Achieving effective and good communication can be frustrating and at times incredibly challenging. I have seen many misunderstandings give rise to conflict-ridden, aggressive environments, even passive-aggressive behaviour, which can damage morale and team performance.

New understandings in neuroscience indicate our thinking and behaviour are a combination of both our genetic wiring and our environment - nature and nurture. This, when applied to personality psychometric profiling, provides more accurate information to help us understand the differences and the dynamics at play in how we communicate and how we are perceived.

Left-brain thinkers prefer to work with evidence and logic and will therefore make decisions based on fact and process. They always think they’re right: after all, their thinking is based on the evidence and data to hand. In contrast, right brain thinkers prefer intuition and making decisions on instinct or just on the concept of a great idea. You can probably start to see why misunderstandings arise.

Then add into the mix behavioural preferences such as ‘expressiveness,’ where some people prefer to reflect before action, think internally and will seem quiet. Compare this with the opposite end of this spectrum, where the behaviour will be gregarious, talkative, extrovert, thinking out loud. The quieter people wish the noisy ones would just zip it, and the gregarious types are frustrated with the quiet ones, wrongly judging they have nothing to say!

How then, do we go about working within a team that is able to debate and respectfully criticise ideas while taking into account individual needs?

Instead of blaming the boss or other team members, or even customers, we should stop and ask: is the way I communicate and my behaviour part of the problem?

We need to be aware of our own communication preferences and understand the impact this has on how we’re perceived, both positively and negatively. We must adapt and change our style of communicating - not automatically default to our preferences.