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The Five Key Principles of Personal Needs

The Five Key Principles of Personal Needs

Within the past month I and a member of my team became DDI Certified Facilitators. DDI stands for Development Dimensions International. DDI is a 34-year-old company focused on talent management and leadership development. Much of the certification program was learning about their philosophy on how they work with leaders to get the best results from their teams. One specific area of focus was on DDI’s Key Principles to Meet Personal Needs. DDI has identified five key personal needs that must get attention when we interact with others to get the best results.

If we make an effort to be mindful of these five principles when interacting with others, their personal needs will be fulfilled, which will help them to perform more efficiently. As leaders, our jobs are to make those around us better and help maximize their potential. DDI’s Key Principles will help us do that.

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1. Esteem

Every interaction we have has the potential to end in two ways. The people we are working with feel good about themselves and what is going on, or they don’t.  By focusing on the esteem of the people we work with, we can make sure we are doing everything we can to promote a healthy culture and build their esteem and confidence, which will lead to better results. When people experience insecurity and don’t feel good about who they are or what they are doing, this hinders their self-confidence, motivation, engagement, and potential. Giving focus to the esteem of others is good for them and you! How will you enhance another person’s self esteem today? To learn more about esteem, Psychology Today has more information on their page.

2. Empathy

Merriam-Webster defines empathy as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” A great way to relate to people, build trust, and show them you care is to empathize with them. Simply letting people know you are listening and understanding what they are experiencing will keep them engaged and motivated. How can you be more empathetic with those you interact with on a daily basis? This article on the Six Habits of Highly Empathetic People can be very helpful.

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3. Involvement

People want to be involved and contribute. Give them that opportunity. Allowing others to contribute makes them feel part of a community. It also gives them a sense of purpose and a feeling of being valued. Last week I read an article on Psychology Today that posed the question: Do Religious People Really Live Longer? My take away from the article is that life expectancy is related to community, having a feeling of belonging, and being valued within a community or culture. Your workplace is its own community and its own culture. By allowing people to be involved and contribute, you are providing a sense of belonging while showing that you value them. This allows both of you to achieve your goals. What initiatives do you have where you could benefit having other people involved?

4. Opportunity to share

Everyone needs a productive way to express their positive and not-so-positive thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Giving others that opportunity will not only fulfill their need to be heard, which builds trust, but it gives us the chance to learn and be better prepared to productively work together. Karl A. Menninger, an American psychiatrist, said, “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold, and expand.” How are you allowing others to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions with you?

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5. Support without removing responsibility

Support goes along with community. Having a support system gives us security, a sense of belonging, and lets us know we aren’t alone. Think about everything you’ve experienced and all the support you had in various situations. Now think about what some situations might have been like without the support of others. What kind of support did you receive and would you have succeeded without it? How can you better lend support to those around you?

At the end of the day, we are social creatures who have to work together. The better we work together, the more effective we will be, and the more efficiently we will reach our goals. Giving attention to DDI’s Five Key Principles of Personal Needs when we work with others is good for everyone!

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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