“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Theodore Roosevelt
Humans have two basic instincts – to survive and to connect. When we interact with others we automatically assess whether we trust or distrust them, resulting in either of the following instinctive responses and related behaviours:
- Distrust triggers the survival instinct activating fight, flight, freeze or appease behaviours inhibiting our abilities to exercise good judgement, be strategic, connect or be open to influence
- Trust triggers the connect instinct activating wisdom, innovation, strategy, and empathy behaviours enhancing our abilities to exercise good judgement, be strategic, connect or be open to influence
When we distrust our instinct is to protect ourselves, and we communicate either to give/receive information, or to influence others, rather than to collaborate. This may not realise the best outcome and may result in some level of stress, resistance or conflict.
How do we assess whether we trust or distrust someone?
Interactions between people typically have visible and invisible elements, as follows:
To form the most accurate assessment, we need to see and interpret these elements fully, otherwise we risk making the wrong call. There are two core reasons why we might assess inappropriately that we distrust someone:
- We focus on, and judge, just the visible aspects of the transaction, that is, how someone has behaved and what they have done, without seeking to understand the intent that has driven those actions and behaviours, and/or
- We assess all aspects of the transaction based on our view of the world and behavioural preferences rather than seeking to understand it from the viewpoint of the other person
This works both ways as it is also true that when we communicate with others, we do so from our view of the world, engaging our own behavioural preferences, without consideration for the recipient. Hence, other people may misinterpret what we say and do if they have a different behavioural style to us.
How can we communicate more effectively and develop better relationships?
To quote Tony Robbins “To communicate effectively, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Whilst each individual has a unique set of filters through which they interpret information, there are certain common behavioural traits that people adopt that give an indication of the fears and motivations that drive that person’s behaviour. Understanding these drivers allows you to empathise with the other person and help them manage their fears and achieve their aspirations. This will reduce the fear response in the other person thereby helping them to collaborate and work more effectively with you.
- Understand and identify the core behavioural styles and how they communicate differently
- Modify your own style to suit different situations and when communicating with different styles
If you would like to transform your relationships and gain insights into how to understand people more quickly then explore this behaviour traits exercise and complete your own profile questionnaire to understand your own natural style.