Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Making decisions differently: Head vs. heart, part of Communication Tips Weekly.
- In my years working in the field of human resources, I saw this scenario played out again and again. A company rep comes into the office to demonstrate the use of a new copier, fax, scanner machine. The head admin sends out an email asking everyone for their opinion before the department makes a purchasing decision. Two kinds of email reply stand out. Email #1, Is it efficient? Is it faster than the older one? Is it cheaper per copy? Will it fit in the corner where the old one was? Because we're crammed in the back room as it is now.
Email #2, Has everyone had a chance to use it? What do you all think? I was okay with the new screens but they are different than the old one. Will it be too hard for us to use or will we have to read through the manual? How we all make decisions varies and depends on our preferred style. Some of us make decisions based on logic and others make decisions based on emotion. To be effective in the workplace, it's crucial to understand the main differences between these two approaches and to be able to communicate with someone who makes decisions in a different way than you do.
Head-led decision makers like to analyze, evaluate, and pick an idea apart in order to understand it better. When you ask them, they provide honest and frank feedback without sugarcoating their remarks. Although they come across as calm, thoughtful and collected, to those who tend to make their decision based on emotion, this approach may seem too focused on results and too direct, ignoring the emotional component to decision-making and rubbing people in the wrong way.
Heart-led decision makers make decisions based on the entire scenario which includes the situation, the people involved, their feelings and their reactions. They prefer to spend time making decisions. They often enjoy the process rather than they enjoy the product of a team project. Heart-led decision makers like to work in collaborative environments and focus on harmony as a top-priority. If you want to influence a head-led decision maker, consider communicating with them in this way: Be objective and collected with your demeanor, avoid words such as "I feel," "I sense," and stick to the facts if you want them to respond within their comfort zone.
Focus on a logical approach of providing claims and evidence. Your evidence can involve stories and anecdotes, but if you want their attention, you should sprinkle in facts and figures that would work to build and strengthen your main idea. Be concrete, organized, and clear in your delivery. I often see remarkable ideas that are not presented in the preferred style of the audience, and they end up losing their impact. For example, a creative idea presented in a storytelling, cyclical pattern format without a clear "so what" for the audience and no concrete action steps to follow will not get the attention of a head-led audience.
If the person you're trying to influence leans more towards the heart-led decision-making style, try the following: Avoid sounding too critical of an idea or being too analytical right at the start of the conversation, show appreciation for the effort involved and find common values before you get into specifics. In order to be effective with constructive feedback, first, work on establishing rapport and trust. If your heart-led colleague wants to hear you, you need to focus on areas of agreement first.
Focus on common value of the people involved and affected by the upcoming decision. Show that you're considering that when you interact with your heart-led colleague and try to create win-win situations for everyone involved. Understanding that people make decisions differently and flexing to that does not mean that you are inconsistent in your communication approach. It means that you can meet people where they are, build your credibility, and get results.
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- Making small talk
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- And more…
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