“Let’s not make it the other person’s duty to adjust their personality in order for us to hear them”

We must adjust our listening and reaction based on who is delivering the message, their personality, and their perception of us. There is always some level of opportunity in the feedback a leader receives from those on their team. How much opportunity and if it is worth acting on is typically determined based on the delivery of the message, rather than who delivers it. Only acting on messages that are delivered from the most outspoken team members, and delivered with a high level of intensity, is an easy mistake to make.

Our leadership skills should be tuned to the highest level when we receive unsolicited feedback – similar to a squelch knob (I am from the south and had/have a CB radio) to adjust for static. The knob needs to be adjusted based on who is giving us the feedback, and it really needs to be fine tuned when those that rarely give us feedback speak up. If we treat them the same as those that frequent our office and have a more intense personality, we will dismiss their feedback because it does not seem urgent/important. But if we take the time to think about their personality and how they typically interact with us, and then compare it to the feedback they are providing, the message may end being much more important than the same message being delivered from someone that frequently provides feedback and does so with much more intensity.

Some people tend to speak less, and expect to be listened to more. They may not project a high-level of intensity even if they have a strong conviction about the subject. They may also have the perception that the leader will determine if it is really important enough to make a change/take action, and that it is not their place to push hard one way or another. This is all about their personality and their perception of how the other side will/should react.

So when those that do not speak up often offer their feedback – Adjust your squelch knob, ask more questions, and investigate more so than you normally would.   The adjustment is typically well worth it, and also demotivating if we do not adapt to each persons style of providing feedback.

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