Stop Having the Same Argument Over and Over with your Spouse

Do you have the same argument with your spouse over and over?  Can you recite their response even before you begin?  Are you losing interest in even having conversations with them?  This can be the beginning of no communication cumulating in an unhappy marriage or divorce.

There is a better way.  It can change.  By listening, looking and repeating before responding, you allow them to feel heard.  This in turn allows you to more fully understand their point of view.   When you understand them, your response is different which translates to more understanding from your partner to your point of view and increased understanding before they respond.   The cycle becomes a more positive type of ongoing communication.

Listen.  When your partner is speaking, listen intently to them resisting the urge to rehearse a response.  Listen for repeated words, phrases, or emotions; this will give you a clue as to what is really important to them.  Voice inflection can also identify the real issue or at least the most passionate issue.  Ironically it is usually the last thing a person states that is the most significant, not the first.  If you are spending your time thinking about your response to the first thing they said, you will miss the major issue of the discussion.

Look.  Body language, the time of day, the location of the discussion, and the emotional reaction all provide information as to the type of feedback desired.  For instance, if your spouse confronts you with their hands on their hips, with an angry face yelling, at the end of a long day while you are walking in the door, they are not interested in positive feedback.  Instead they are more interested in getting the upper hand.  If instead your spouse sets a time and place with you in advance and greets you warmly with a pleasant smile, they are looking for a mutual agreement instead of the upper hand.  Turn around is fair play, so if you want to be treated kindly, then you should do the same.

Repeat.  Before you respond, repeat what you have learned from listening and observing, not just the words stated but the emotions as well.  Repeating what you have learned gives your spouse the chance to correct any misunderstandings before you respond.  If you respond before clarifying, then you may be responding to the wrong issue and make the situation worse.  Feeling loved is about knowing that your spouse truly listens and understands, so take the time to complete this step before moving on to the next one.

Respond.  Only after you have listened, looked and repeated what your spouse has expressed should you respond to what they are saying.  Resist the urge to cram everything you have been thinking into a short time period.  Instead, select one issue and respond to it allowing time for your spouse to respond.  Resolving one issue at a time actually saves time rather than downloading a bunch of things all at once which can be overwhelming.  Once an issue is resolved, take a break rather than moving on to the next topic, this allows both of you to absorb the conversation and reflect.

Communication is difficult but you can learn to communicate effectively.  Not everyone communicates the same way so understanding your spouse’s personality is an important element.  But if you use the listen, look, repeat, and respond method, it will go a long way to helping increase positive communication.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

DISC Personality Profile: Working Together

You understand your personality profile and can now see how the pieces fit together to form a whole functioning group.  So now the struggle becomes how to communicate effectively with each other.  Effective communication is difficult under normal circumstances but try complicating it with different strengths, weaknesses, needs and motivations and you are likely to feel a bit overwhelmed.  Worse yet, do this for an entire team of different profiles and watch your time disappear.

Instead of resorting back to the way things were before you learned all of this information, try incorporating a couple of these tactics the next time you have a team meeting.  Remember you can meet the needs of all your personalities in one meeting at one time which in the end will save you time and energy while reducing stress and frustration.

Project Outline. In order to better understand effective communication, the same example will be used for each profile.  You have been given a task of reducing your team’s budget by $1M over the next three years and are holding a team meeting to communicate the expectations, deadlines, and potential concerns.

What.  For the dominating in your group, they need to know the “what” of this project.  They are not interested in how you think they should go about cutting the budget or who is involved; rather they just want to know what are the expectations and deadlines.  The more information you give them the more likely they are to be frustrated and fear that you don’t trust them to complete the task.  Less information is best, they will ask for more details if they need it.

Who.  For the influential in your group, they need to know “who” is involved this project.  While the other information such as deadlines and objectives are necessary, you will get further if you explain who will be involved in the project with them and who will be reviewing the project in the end.  If there is potential for public recognition, use this as a motivating piece to encourage the project to be completed on a timely basis.  For this group, it is best to move the deadline earlier as they are likely to be late.

How.  For the steadfast in your group, they need to know the “how” of this project.  Questions like how is this project going to be measured, how are they going to tell someone that the budget has been cut, and how are they going to viewed by others are important issues to address.  The more support, reassurance, and loyalty you can show this group the more comfortable they will be accomplishing this task.  This group will come back to you over and over again because they are afraid of hurting someone along the way.

Why.  For the conscientious in your group, they need to know the “why” of this project.  Begin by explaining the big picture of why the budget is being cut then move to why their specific area needs to be cut.  It will be hard for this group to participate in such a project without fully understanding all of the details and decisions that lead to this conclusion.  Give them as much information as you can and then redirect them to someone else for additional information if needed.  More information is better than less.

Don’t feel as though everyone needs to hear all of this information, they don’t.  if the dominating of the group are done, let them leave and begin to work.  If the influential of the group want to hang out because they like to be with others, let them but don’t expect them to hear anything past the “who”.  You will have to give the steadfast permission to leave the meeting as they are least likely to take initiative.  But the conscientious of the group will outlast and out question all of the groups.  Meeting the needs of each group one time is a far better use of your time and will reduce the level of stress for your team.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.