Clues, Cues & Signals

Leading people, building relationships, minimising team conflict and generally surviving in a world of egos, personalities and behaviours can be challenging; to say the least. 

However, if we listen for cues, watch for signals and pick up on clues in behaviour we can make the challenge an opportunity to better understand these people better.

 Clues: This is the breakthrough for understanding people. People are creatures of habit and will give you regular clues as to what they are doing, feeling & thinking. Look for patterns and inconsistencies - get to know the behaviours of others when they are in a 'good' zone and what might push them to a 'non-productive' zone - you're literally piecing together the human puzzle.

Cues: When people talk, they generally have a break in speech especially if in conversation. Too often we are thinking about what we want to say next rather than listening, hearing the intent and waiting for the cue to add to the discussion. This alone is a great relationship building behaviour.

Signals: I run with a regular group and we work on signals to indicate direction, drink break time, increase pace etc. We can go without talking for over an hour!  What signals do you use when working with people? A smile, a thumbs up and other expressions can help others understand how you feel, what you think and want to do. Don't leave it to perception!

I help people cheat with Clues, Cues & Signals using the Strength Deployment Inventory however you can do this yourself by making a practice of becoming more aware of others - especially if you're the leader. They may follow and practise the same.

Relationship Seating

I'm packing my bag for the Igniting Leadership Program which I'm facilitating this week for Leadership Victoria. We concluded a program on Friday and here we go again; however, rather than feeling ho-hum, it’s quite the opposite; I'm always intrigued to learn about the people attending, reading about their leadership aspirations and workplace challenges.

We pair up participants to create Buddies, the first relationship to be formed prior to the program commences - asking these Buddies to meet or at least communicate prior to attending to encourage engagement, networking and reduce people’s anxiety of arriving in an unknown destination.

Another aspect of relationship preparation is the worktable seating placements. Whilst I’m not into detail I am into challenging people to grow, learn from their peers and quickly connect with the whole group as a high level of trust is required to discuss leadership.

So, for Day One, I seat ‘like-minded’ folk together. Using the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) team profile results, I seat the ‘Hubs’ together, the Blues together and so on with the Reds, Greens and their respective Blends. In other words for the uninitiated – I seat ‘value sets’ together – people with more common ‘this is Why I do what I do’ language.

 On the Second Day, we introduce the Workplace Challenge, an amazing yet simple exercise which has profound consequences given the choice of behaviour being challenged upon each other. How do you think I create these groups?  I mix the profiles – I ensure that each group has a couple of Hubs (Flexible), a Red (Assertive), a Blue (Nurturing) and hopefully a Green (Analytic). Given the mix of motivations I know that everyone will view the challenge differently and more ideas will be generated through their ‘code of silence’ discussions.

On the Third day I group people at tables according to Conflict – First Stage.  It’s not always that simple, more often than not, there is a good representation and the folk at the table provide a gorgeous array of behaviour examples on their colour conflict continuum when challenged with the day’s discussions and activities.

The SDI is explained and dissected on Day Two, Three & Five and it’s always a laugh when the first person makes the discovery of my purposeful placements. On the final afternoon of Day Five each person makes a heartfelt commitment to their Leadership Journey and most comment on their new respect for: relationships, their own strengths, the impact they have on others and the dynamic network they created in such a short time-frame. Funny about that!