Victorio Consulting Blog - Thinking Outloud

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Thinking Outloud

Thoughts on succession, leadership coaching, building synergistic teams and change management systems for family businesses and organizations.

Understanding the Languages of the Tiger and the Swan

Understanding the Languages of the Tiger and the Swan

Many business leaders find themselves asking, "Why can't it be easier? Why is it so hard for us to make decisions together and get some of the simplest things done?"

Whether your company is a professional firm, family-owned business or manufacturer, people with different communication styles can get tied into knots working together. That in turn challenges productivity and everyone's desire for a harmonious environment.

I have discovered metaphors are an easy way to demonstrate why people are having challenges working together, creating an instant picture that changes perspective. The metaphor I have found to work well in dicussing differences in personality styles, is to consider the differences between the language of the tiger and the swan.

Swans are beautiful, elegant creatures that live in harmoniously in flocks. They don't like change, but if challenged, will become fierce to protect their nests. Tigers love the thrill of conquest, and the strategy of tracking their prey. That's how they measure their self-worth, so there's bravado from the adrenaline of a challenge.

Often in business teams there is miscommunication between the entrepreneurs who grow the business and those who make the business run. Using the metaphor of the different styles of the tiger and swan, it becomes easier to learn about each other's differences, and what responses might trigger a positive or negative response. A swan can learn that when tigers write emails in all capital letters, for example, they are not being critical. A tiger's natural communication style is direct and to the point. Conversely, a tiger can learn to listen carefully to the swan's natural indirect approach, that if he or she doesn't heed the warnings of a swan, things could fall apart.

Every personality is unique, and the best high-performing teams must communicate with each other in an easy flow for collaboration to be successful. It's hard to work when you feel you're walking on eggshells or waiting for the next fire drill. If your team is struggling, let us help you. Using the ProScan Personality Styles survey, and TeamScan report, it becomes easy to see all the nuances of the personalities. Through the survey feedback and individual and group coaching, we train your team to avoid stepping on each other's toes, to reframe their interactions so everyone understands the intention of the other player's actions.

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