A leader must be everything to everyone.
Nearly two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul wrote:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:19-20,22 [emphasis added]
Few would dispute that Paul was a leader. And he became everything to everyone to accomplish his purpose.
A leader today must do the same thing, with a few exceptions.
To the energetic, you must show energy.
To the nerds, you must talk like a nerd.
To the lighthearted, you must use humor. You must learn to be funny.
To a high D (on the DISC profile), you must communicate like a high D.
So that by all means you may get the best performance out of each individual.
How to communicate with everyone
1. Learn their communication style.
Use DISC and box them in a little bit. This is the starting point.
2. Observe them.
Do they joke? Do they use tech-speak? Do they bounce off the walls when they speak?
3. Ask them. Yes, it can be that simple.
4. Ask others. Interview co-workers, spouses, and others to learn the best way to communicate with each person.
5. Practice. Odds are that about 75% of people will require a communication style outside of your comfort zone. You better put in some effort.
Dos and Don’ts
Do: Realize there aren’t many exceptions.
Get used to the idea that most people aren’t like you and that you must learn to communicate with them.
Do: Hire to your strengths.
If you truly have a hard time communicating with jokers, don’t hire them. You will have a limited talent pool, but it’s better than being unable to communicate with someone you are paying.
Do: Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to enlist others. Points 1-4 above all require the assistance of others. Tell them the purpose of the DISC profile and interviews.
Being everything to everyone is not an invitation to sacrifice morals, vision, or what is best for the majority of the team.
Don’t: Try too hard.
It will come across as fake. You still have to be yourself.
Don’t: Try too little.
Being a leader is hard work. You either put in the effort to learn to communicate better or suffer the consequences.
How do you learn the best way to communicate with others?