Mon | Aug 10, 2020

He Does not Listen

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Life is difficult and seems to get more so every day. We are stressed by the demands of our jobs, our families, and people we interact with daily, and we get bogged down. But before we get a new job and interact with different people, maybe all we need to do is change our approach.

This week, Outlook continues a new series, 'Change your Mindset, Change your Life'. With the help of certified behaviour-modification coach and author Trevor E. S. Smith, we will help you through some of the bumps and scrapes of life - to be more productive, deal with difficult people, and a host of other topics, with his insightful perspective and boost of confidence for life.

An interaction during a certified behavioural coach live session raised an issue that I have been asked to address over the years.

It reminded me of travelling overseas to help a small business improve its performance. I was shocked when a team member wondered why I was asked to come to work with them when "the boss knows everything and does not listen".

The issue arises frequently and is usually linked to someone who has a preference for the use of dominance (D-Style) as their behavioural style.

The challenge of communicating effectively with D-Style behaviour recurs in the home, at school, at work, and at play.

Let me share some insight that you might find useful.

I must warn you up front that the guidance relates to adjustments that YOU need to make. We cannot force others to buy into changing their behaviour. The only thing you have control over is YOUR behaviour.

So, this is not about fixing him or her. This is about your taking time out to better understand the situation and to explore changes that you can make to improve communication with the other party.

We start by getting a deeper appreciation of the mindset that drives D-Style behaviour. At its core is a strong desire to win, a need to make a positive difference, a sense that improvements are possible, and I can play an important role in envisioning and executing the required change.

Spin-off factors from that perspective include self-confidence and a reluctance to give up the right to independent thought and action. However, you might view those traits as arrogance and stubbornness.

A good starting point in your adjustment is to revise your perceptions and the language that you use to describe them.

How easy could it be to communicate effectively with someone who is arrogant and stubborn?

That outlook sets the discourse on a slippery slope before a word has been spoken. And don't be surprised if you display body language and give off vibes that send negative signals to the other party. He or she might, in turn, respond defensively or with the aggression that is part of your self-fulfilling prophecy.

In many relationships that is all part of the games people play. The parties get into a routine where trigger actions from one party lead to a cycle of actions and reactions that reinforce the existing situation.

For any behaviour modification to take place, someone has to refuse to play the game. You can do that by ignoring the trigger behaviour or by responding differently to it. That scraps the old script and new lines are required. That then lays the foundation for transition and, ultimately, transformation.

Here is another consideration for you.

If the objective of the individual who has a preference for D-Style behaviour is to win and to make a positive difference, would they benefit from advice and input that would take them closer to their goals?

If that is so, not listening would be self-defeating. It is just not logical to think that they are unwilling to learn how they can win more easily.


other reasons


We have to look to other reasons why you are not able to get through to him or her.

In that context, I share an insight into another underpinning factor related to the D-Style user. Given their focus on goals and on having impact, there might be a tendency to only take on board information from sources that are seen as contributing to their success.

Consequently, pause to reflect on whether you have positioned yourself as a key resource that will help him or her achieve their goals.

Also, honestly do a check to see if the messages that you can't get through are not more about what you consider important.

That then leads to a review of what are the shared goals.

OK, OK ... please do not shred the article. Let's discuss it by typing the link into your browser or searching for Success with People Academy in Facebook.

Trevor E. S. Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy which is recognised by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications. Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean. E-mail:info [at] Website: http://swpacademy.comx.