Leadership Communication

Appreciate You vs. Appreciate It

My middle daughter, Emily, works in customer service at Home Depot. It’s been a great source of work experience for her during the disruptions of COVID, she’s made some new friends, and has allowed some side income while going to school virtually.

Emily helps a lot of people every day, both over the phone, and in person. Sometimes she even helps people take stuff out to their vehicles. Although not everyone shows gratitude, she receives plenty of appreciation for her efforts.

The other day Emily called me to ask a PCM Question. As a Process Communication Model trainer and the author of a new book about PCM, she hoped I’d have some insight. Her question;

“I get a lot of compliments each day, and there are some that mean more than others. Some people say, ‘Appreciate it,’ and others say, ‘Appreciate you.’ I’ve noticed that I definitely prefer ‘Appreciate you.’ It means so much more to me than ‘Appreciate it.’ How do you explain that?

The explanation has everything to do with personality differences in how people are motivated. We all have the same six personality types in us, but in a preferred, set order. Emily’s two strongest ones are Rebel and Harmonizer. The Rebel type is motivated by playful contact that is safe, fun and accepting. The Harmonizer type is motivated by recognition of person, caring about who you are, no strings attached. “Appreciate you,” nails them both!

Appreciate YOU people,

  • Are generally caring, kind, and playful.
  • Want to know you like and accept them for who they are.
  • Do things for you as an expression of their compassion and human connection.

Appreciate IT people,

  • Are generally organized, committed, and observant.
  • Want to know you recognize the things they do.
  • Do things for you as an expression of their responsibility and dedication.

Next time you want to show appreciation to someone, watch for the cues and offer what means the most to them. They’ll definitely appreciate YOU for IT.


Want to learn about your personality and how it impacts your leadership? Our new PCM Leadership Profile has all the answers and a ton of actionable insights.

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Safe Honesty vs. Real Honesty: And When It Matters Most

Have you ever been in a situation where a simple conflict escalated into finger pointing and blaming? Have you ever given someone feedback and they got defensive? Have you ever left a conversation realizing that good intentions resulted in unintended consequences?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may gotten tangled up in safe honesty when real honesty could have changed the outcome for the better.

When Honesty Matters Most

You might get by with safe honesty in some situations, but the difference between safe and real honesty matters most during conflict. I define conflict as a gap between what I want and what I am experiencing at any given point in time. Maybe I want to be at work at 8 AM and I am experiencing a really long line at the Starbucks drive through. Maybe I want to properly complete all my documentation paperwork for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan, and I am experiencing changing rules every time I call my accountant. That’s conflict.

Conflict is emotional. Everyone has emotional responses to conflict. I call it gap energy. Conflict is neither good nor bad, but how we spend gap energy can certainly make a big difference in how things turn out.

Safe Honesty

Safe honesty during conflict may sound something like this:

How I feel: I’m really disappointed.

What I’m experiencing: You’re late.

What I want: You need to be on time.

Let’s imagine I try safe honesty with my accountant about the PPP.

How I feel: I’m frustrated.

What I’m experiencing: They can’t get their act together.

What I want: I’ve got a business to run.

Safe honesty comes in four flavors: Facts, Opinions, Accusations, and Demands. Facts are descriptions of what you see, e.g. “You told an off-color joke.” Opinions are your evaluation of what you see, e.g. “That’s disrespectful.” Accusations are your assumptions or conclusions about someone or something, e.g. “You’re a racist.” Demands are about the behaviors or conditions you think will close the gap, e.g. “You need to apologize.”

What makes it safe?

Four things about safe honesty make it safe. First, it focuses on what’s happening, not how people are doing. Second, it comes from the head, not the heart, so it’s disconnected from the authentic emotional aspects of the situation. Third, it conceals our own vulnerability. Safe honesty avoids anything that would expose us. Fourth, the result of safe honesty is that the other person is more exposed afterwards. Even something as basic as telling your friend his zipper is down fits all four of these criteria of safe honesty.

Excuses we make

How do people justify their safe honesty? Here are some of the excuses we hear from leaders;

“I’m telling it like it is.”

“Someone needs to say it.”

“It’s my job.”

“Hey, I’m just being honest.”

“We need more radical candor around here.”

“At least you know where I stand.”

The Consequences of Safe Honesty

Safe honesty hurts relationships and workplaces in a variety of ways: interaction safety disappears, trust drops, people get defensive or shut down, false assumptions get amplified, and morale suffers. Above all, people begin to question each others’ motives and start to play it safe by withholding what’s most important.

Real Honesty During Conflict

Consider this type of response to a person arriving late to a meeting: “I’m feeling discouraged. I didn’t see you until 30 minutes into our meeting. I really want to feel confident we are on the same page.”

Or that call with my accountant: “I’m anxious. I want to feel secure I’m doing the paperwork right and I haven’t been able to get response to my first question.”

Real honesty takes things one step deeper by focusing on our emotions and emotional motives during conflict. When we are being really honest:

  • We identify and own our emotions about the gap without blaming anyone or implying that someone else caused our feelings. e.g. I’m feeling discouraged.”
  • We describe our own experience of what happened without pointing fingers, e.g. I didn’t see you until 30 minutes into our meeting.”
  • We disclose our emotional motives, e.g. “I really want to feel confident we are on the same page.”

Real honesty is different because it focuses on how you are doing instead of what happened or needs to happen; it comes from the heart, it reveals your own emotions and emotional motives, and it leaves you as exposed or more exposed compared to the other person.

Why Practice Real Honesty?

Real honesty builds trust and connection. It demonstrates personal responsibility for your emotions and reactions to a situation, it shows real courage to be fully authentic, it bypasses assumptions, reduces defensiveness, improves interaction safety, builds connection, levels the playing field, shows respect, and can open up connections between people they never knew they had.

Next time you recognize the gap of conflict, try practicing real honesty and make the first move to a build more safe, trusting, and collaborative workplace.


Seeing People Through by Nate Regier, Ph.D.This post was inspired by Chapter 3 of my book, Seeing People Through and originally published here. Get your copy today!

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10 Commandments For a Personality Inclusive Workplace

I wondered if anyone would show up for my presentation on Personality Diversity and Discrimination in the Workplace at the 2013 Society for Human Resource Professionals national diversity and inclusion conference. To my surprise, the room was packed with D&I officers from all sorts of big companies. Afterwards, the feedback I got was overwhelming; “I had no idea how powerful and critical personality diversity is. I have never thought of personality as a dimension of inclusion, maybe even more powerful than gender or ethnicity.”

Personality diversity is a fact. Personality Inclusion is a choice.

Are you choosing to include all personality types in your workplace, or are you just giving it lip-service by administering a personality assessment? Here are ten commandments for taking the next step to include all personality types.

  1. You shall respect someone’s time and appreciate their productive work.
  2. You shall respect someone’s convictions and appreciate their principled work.
  3. You shall value people for who they are as human beings, no strings attached.
  4. You shall let people have fun at work.
  5. You shall give people time and space to recharge.
  6. You shall help people get a lot of excitement in short bursts.
  7. You shall apply to others ONLY the commandments that best fit them. (Platinum Rule)
  8. You shall NOT assume your favorite commandment fits others. (Projection Rule)
  9. You shall conduct engagement surveys that truly listen to the needs of all personality types (Gallup Q12 discriminates against three types).
  10. You shall hold leaders accountable for the first nine commandments.

Want to learn more about how to include all types? Start with my new book, Seeing People Through.

Our Process Communication Model Leadership Profile and training programs give leaders the self-awareness, insight, and guidance to include all personality types at work.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, 2020
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Compassion Is More Than A Feeling

Some people think that empathy and compassion are synonymous. They aren’t, because compassion is more than a feeling.

You have to actually do something to be compassionate. So others have suggested that compassion is “empathy in action.”

“Empathy in action” definition limits compassion

  • It makes compassion dependent on empathy.
  • It relies on a shared emotional experience.
  • It precludes other motivators of compassion.

What motivates you to show compassion?

While empathy is a great motivator for compassionate behavior, it’s not the only one.

Feelings?

The practice of compassion can be motivated by emotions, e.g. “I feel for her. I’ve been through something similar so I can relate.” This is what most people view as empathy, an emotional experience that connects people. In this case, compassion indeed is empathy in action.

Logic?

It can be motivated by logical analysis, e.g. “I have skills that could help. By serving on the Habitat for Humanity board, I could use those skills to help a family have a home.” This would redefine compassion as thoughts in action.

Values?

It can be motivated by principles and values, e.g. “I believe that every child deserves a stable adult role-model, so I will volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.” Now compassion is equated with values in action.

Guilt?

It can be motivated by guilt, e.g. “I feel so badly that I have more than enough to eat while others are starving.” Here, compassion is simply a form of making things right.

Compassion without emotions?

“But how can you really be compassionate without an emotional component?” you might ask.

You can’t. Compassion isn’t possible without Openness, which means emotional transparency; valuing the emotional experience of our selves and others. Empathy is only one of three ways to do this.

Two more ways to be open

Validation, which is the act of affirming and valuing another person’s emotional motives and experiences. e.g. “Your feelings matter. It’s OK to be upset. I’m listening.”

Validation is not empathy. It does not rely on shared emotional experiences, although it needs to be sincere.

The third way to practice openness is disclosure, which is the act of sharing your own emotional motives and experiences, e.g. “I’m angry about what happened last night,” or “I want to feel safe in this relationship.” Disclosure is a self-ful act that also connects people. The vulnerability of disclosure sends the message that you care enough about yourself to let others know and ask for what you want, and it sends the message to others that it’s safe to share emotions. Disclosure in not empathy because it’s not about the other person.

Compassion can be motivated by more than empathy, so don’t limit it with the definition of “empathy in action”. Once motivated, compassion can be activated by Empathy, Validation, and Disclosure. Any of these can get the ball rolling for practicing real compassion.

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.

We are on a mission to bring more compassion to every workplace in the world. It starts with recognizing that compassion is accessible to anyone and it can be learned and practiced in every interaction.


Learn more about The Compassion Mindset, our enterprise program for bringing more compassion to your workplace.

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Two Reasons People Overreact, And How To De-Escalate

Have you ever been accused of overreacting? Have you ever accused someone else of overreacting? You might think differently when you pay attention to emotional triggers and threats to energy supply.

Most often what we label as overreacting is, in fact, a normal reaction to something of which we aren’t aware or don’t understand. On the surface it may seem like someone is making a mountain out of a molehill, but what if there’s more going on than you know? (more…)

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It’s Not About The Orange

This week is launch week for our new book, Seeing People Through: Unleash Your Leadership Potential with The Process Communication Model.

PCM has changed my life, and the lives of thousands of people who have learned how to communicate with Process. Here’s a video I recorded in 2017 about how even the simplest of interactions can lead to miscommunication if we don’t pay attention to process.

Yesterday we had local elections in my town. Everyone was asking for my vote. Today I am asking for your vote in the form of buying a copy of my new book.

No matter who you lead, or your scope of authority, PCM can help you be more authentic, take better care of yourself, motivate people in positive ways, increase your agility, include others in more meaningful ways, and experience wonderful new parts of your own personality.

Get your copy today!

LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT

This week only, save 20% on the new PCM Leadership Profile. At checkout, use code SPT2020 to claim your discount and receive a live debrief with me.

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Falling Up The Stairs: Mistaking Your Way to Excellence

When I was young I loved stairs! Going up I would try to leap over as many as I could in one giant lunge. Going down I’d hold on to the railings and see how many I could skip. One time I made it all the way down my grandmother’s staircase in two steps!

I’m grateful I’ve never had a bad accident on stairs. But I have fallen. Falling down the stairs is scary and dangerous. Falling backwards down the stairs is even worse – I’ve done that too. But what about falling up the stairs? Here’s what falling up the stairs has taught me about making mistakes.

The future meets you faster than expected. When you fall up the stairs your landing spot is closer than if you are walking on flat ground, so you hit sooner and learn quicker.

You are still making progress. When you fall up the stairs you are still ahead of where you started.

It doesn’t hurt as bad. Falling up the stairs isn’t as dangerous, and you rarely sustain long-lasting injuries.

Railings help. Having something (or someone) to hold on to boosts courage and makes it easier to get up.

What if we approached mistakes like we approach stairs. Climbing is how we make progress. Keeping it safe will get you there eventually, but that’s boring, predictable, and slow. When we get resourceful about how we climb, though, we increase our chance of making a mistake.

What if we took risks in ways that helped us fall up the stairs instead? Here are three tips for mistaking your way to excellence.

  1. Lean forward, lean in.
  2. Have your hands out, ready to respond.
  3. Pick yourself up quickly and adjust.
  4. Use your support system.

As a leader, parent, teacher, coach, mentor, or facilitator, how do you help your people fall up the stairs? You can help them get to the future faster while still making progress and minimizing the damage.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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The Difference Between Passion, Caring, and Loving

Is it okay to be motivated differently towards the same goal?

Is it okay to do the right thing for different reasons?

Passion means you are motivated by your values.

“I am passionate about foster parenting because I believe every child deserves a stable household and a positive role-model.”

Caring means you are motivated by compassion for people.

“I care about foster parenting because children need the love and support of family.”

Loving means you are motivated by the novelty and enjoyment of it all.

“I love foster parenting because it’s so cool to have a new person around the house!”

Have you ever judged someone because they didn’t “care enough” like you, or weren’t “passionate enough” like you? How did that turn out?

Beware not to confuse passion, caring, and loving. They all can inspire the behavior we want, but for different reasons.

Motivation depends on the person, not the goal.

What if you could inspire different personalities towards same goals based on their natural motivators?

That’s what Seeing People Through is all about. Get yours today.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Three Surprisingly Simple Solutions to Common Miscommunication Challenges

Do you ever say something and the response isn’t what you expected or intended. You may think you are being clear, open, and straightforward, but what comes back suggests otherwise. The root of most miscommunication is good intentions, unintended consequences. Next time, before you escalate, get defensive or second-guess yourself, try these surprisingly simple adjustments to become a better communicator and more trusted partner.

Challenge: When you ask your partner where he or she wants to go out for dinner and you get this tentative response, “I don’t care, wherever you want to go is fine.”

Solution: Respond like this, “As long as we are together, that’s what matters most to me.”

Lesson: Some people won’t share their opinions or ideas until they feel safe enough with you and know you won’t judge them. Above all, they need to know you care about them as a person, no strings attached.

Challenge: When you ask someone a simple question and they respond with another question or, even worse, they question your motives.

Solution: Disclose your motives first, then ask your question. Example: “I am anxious about feeling prepared for the upcoming board meeting. Will you please run the current financials for me?”

Lesson: When you don’t share your motives, you invite people not to trust you. Most motives are emotional, like wanting to feel secure or confident or prepared.

Challenge: When you get honest with someone and say, “I feel like you don’t respect my boundaries…” and they get defensive.

Solution: Get rid of the word, “like” in your sentence, and own your own feelings without reference to the other person’s behavior. Example: “I feel angry and defensive right now. I interpreted your remarks to mean……”

Lesson: You are 100% responsible for your feelings. Never use “like” after a feeling because it turns it into an assumption or accusation. Never imply that someone else is to blame for your feelings.

Caution: These are behavioral solutions and they don’t address the underlying mindsets. When trying these new behaviors, you may may experience some internal struggle. That’s OK, because it means you are facing attitudes and beliefs that interfere with your ability to communicate effectively.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Next Element specializes in behavioral training for more effective communication and leadership. We will help you change the behaviors and the mindsets that get in your way so that you can engage differently for breakthrough results.

Call today about training and coaching for you or your team.

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