Hi. This is Dr. Roger Hall. And this is Roger’s 2 cents. In this video blog, I answer questions that people have written on cards. Open them in front of you and give you my 2 cents right off the cuff. If you’d like to submit one of these, send it to 6568 South Federal Way, Suite 223, Boise, Idaho, 83716.
All right, so here’s our question for today:
With the different people, types, personalities, passions, purposes, et cetera, how should leaders work to balance the different personalities to get everyone or as many as possible on board with changes?
In workplaces, usually an HR professional will tell me, Oh, we have a communication problem. When in reality they don’t have a communication problem. I think there are problems and then there are communication problems, and of communication problems, there are four basic problems.
The first is lack of communication. People who don’t talk to one another.
The second is too much communication. Those of you who have been, uh, CC’d on everything that you’re spammed by everything that you’re having too much meet…too many meetings to solve too few problems.
There’s unclear communication where you don’t know what the other person means or says or that they use pronouns instead of proper nouns.
And the next one is negative communication where you’re, you’re being unkind to one another, calling people names, whatever.
Those are the communication problems, and no amount of communication about a problem will solve one of these other five kinds of problems.
The first is a personality problem. We’ll come back to that since that’s the question on the table.
The second is, a competency problem at work. Sometimes you’ll have issues with people because they’re not any good at their job. That’s a competency problem.
The third problem is a priorities problem, and a priorities problem is where one person wants one thing and the other person wants another thing. So you’ve got personality problems, you’ve got competency problems where you have a person who’s not very good at their job. You have priority problems. Then you’ve got organizational problems.
Organizational problems are where, for example, you have two bosses. Anybody who’s ever had two bosses, no, that’s going to create a problem. And there’s no way to solve this, to communicate about it better. We just need to communicate. That’s not going to solve the problem. What needs to happen is a change in the organizational structure. Sometimes, the organizational structure is disparate, where you’re working in a bunch of different areas. Well, that creates problems. Some of which can be solved by communication. You know, having more communication but of which cannot.
The last is a morality problem or ethics or morality problem where you have somebody embezzling or somebody defrauding other people or somebody cheating. Those kinds of problems. No amount of communication will solve it. It’ll clarify it. It’ll bring it to light, but it won’t solve the problem. So what we tend to see is that when you have a competency problem, you have a priorities problem, you have an organizational problem. We tend to say that person’s a jerk. We make it a personality problem. And what we know about personality is it our temperament that the germ of our personality is largely formed kind of straight out of the gate. By the time we’re one or two years old, our basic traits are intact. It’s very hard to change personality. We could talk about, uh, some of the new research on that at another time, but it’s very hard to change.
And what I tell people who are stuck with another person of a different personality is, I say you’re like two cats sewn together in a burlap sack. You can fight the whole time or you can figure out how to get along, but you’re not getting out. Expecting other people to change their personality just cause we don’t like the way they are is unlikely. And part of the job of, of us as leaders is to learn how to understand and adapt to the personalities around us.
So how do you get all these personalities on board with the new institutional change? Part of it is understanding those personalities. When you get people who are, Oh, you get some personalities, very open to change. Other personalities, they don’t want anything to do with change. Rolling out a new initiative to the change averse people should happen well in advance, and they are likely to drag their feet and tell you what a horrible idea it is. Whereas the change embracing people, they’re all on board and they, they, they run real fast.
So make sure that you understand your people, and then craft messages in such a way that they’re more likely to accept them.
And that’s Roger’s 2 cents.