by Dee Kinder
Setting intent is In these days of diversity training, I find that those I classify as “hidden diversities” cause the most stress and conflict in the workplace on a daily basis. While I call them “hidden”, they are in fact quite obvious once one learns to observe the various traits. The stress and conflict caused by these “hidden diversities” can be lessened and the diversities can actually be utilized to create stronger teams, departments and companies.
The Concept of “Different vs. Difficult”
All human beings are unique, with different preferences for thinking and behaving. Some prefer to see information, others want to hear about it, and still others have to have direct experience or “get their hands on it”. Some people prefer the big picture while others want all the details. This endless variety of preferences, in one way of thinking, make people “difficult” to deal with. I suggest that you consider that these preferences make them “different.” They also make people interesting and valuable resources to help us fill in where our own personal preferences leave gaps in our skills and abilities
The definition of a “difficult” person is, “anyone who thinks or acts very differently from me”. You see, I don’t consider myself with all my personal preferences “difficult”. So if you are a whole lot like me, you’re not on my “difficult” list either. But, if you and your preferences happen to be very different from me and mine, you may easily make my “difficult” list…when in fact, what you are is “different” from me.
Consider for a moment the people (or type of people) that you consider“difficult.” In light of this new information, how many of them are simply “different”? And if they are simply “different” from you, are you flexible enough to become more like them in order to build rapport and work most effectively with them? One of the Presuppositions of Neuro-Linguistics is, “The element in any system with the most flexibility will have the most influence on the system.”
Excellent communication is about respect and trust. If you insist on communicating, thinking and behaving only your way or getting your own needs met, the lack of respect is obvious to the other person and very little trust is established. If they are simply “different” from you, are you flexible enough to see this endless variety of preferences as making people interesting and valuable resources to help you fill in where your own personal preferences leave gaps in our skills and abilities.
Concept of “Filters”
As we discussed before, each of us has our own “map” of reality. That “map” provides each person with certain filters through which we see the world. Some filters are rose colored; some are dark. These filters “color” our experience and our perception of other people and of us. When we realize that our filters differ from other s and that to build rapport with them, we will have an easier time if we attempt to see the world through their filters, then it is much easier to communicate and work with others and to realize that they are not “difficult” but just “different” from us.
For more information, read Training with NLP: Neuro-linguistic Programming Skills for Managers, Trainers, and Communicators, by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour, published by Thorsons, 1994