Ever met someone for the very first time and right away feel a strong connection? Where communication was easy, as though you already knew them? They really got you. You really got them. You were in synch.
Ever met someone for the very first time where the connection is weak, and communication is just plain hard work? You don’t get them. And they certainly don’t seem to “get” you.
It should not come as a surprise that we meet people who we struggle to communicate with. Behavioral science research has determined that 75% of the population has a personality style that is different from you. They are not superior to you or inferior to you. They are just different.
People with different personality styles surround us and play key roles in our lives. They are our clients, managers, colleagues, friends and relatives. Sometimes we sleep beside people whose personality is completely different from us. Many times when we are different…we compliment each other. Being different can be exciting!
Think of someone in your life who has been an inspiration, and who has helped to shape who you are today. Does someone stand out for you? One of the people who ignited my career and my spirit was a lady by the name of Mary Cooper. She was head nurse of a busy 42 bed Medical Surgical Unit at a teaching hospital in Vancouver. Mary was a real firebrand of a woman. She stood maybe 5 feet tall, but talk about presence! The base of her bra, which I’m convinced was woven from cast iron, rested an inch above her belt. She was solid, and built up from the ground. She used to chain smoke in her tiny little office where there was always an ashtray filled with lipstick covered cigarette butts perched precariously on the desks edge, ready to topple at any moment. She wore thick horn rimmed glasses, and if you happened to make a mistake she would shoot you a glance over those rims that would stop you cold, like a blast from a fire hose. While she was tough, she was fair. And I always remember those moments when she would call me into her tiny space in the middle of a busy shift just to take time to see how I was doing, to check in…to make a connection. She set high standards for excellence and we did our level best to meet them because we felt a connection. People feel valued when they feel a connection.
Creating a positive environment happens when we mentor, support, encourage and inspire the people around us. As professional women in business we thrive because we are always looking for ways to improve. To do things better, it is often necessary to adjust our style to mesh with the people around us, to more effectively communicate, even where our personalities may be very different. We create a positive environment when we can adjust our approach to bring out the strengths of those around us. We cannot expect to change people to be like us. But when we take the extra effort to better understand them and their style of behaviour it reduces our stress level and ultimately helps us to be more effective in our lives.
Please join me on Thursday April 3, 2014 in St John’s Newfoundland as I return as the opening plenary speaker at the NLOWE annual conference. I look forward to helping inspire energy, positive spirit and a lot of laughter as we take a close look at our own personalities and at the personalities of the people we work and live with. So, see you there as we BRING IT ON!
Meg Soper is a Humour, Motivational & Work Life Balance Speaker. Come out for laughter, inspiration, stories and strategies as Meg examines different personalities and how we can work together to bring out each other’s strengths at the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs 2014 Annual Conference on Thursday, April 3. You can also check Meg out on her own blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website.