The Two Kinds of Psychology
There are two kinds of thinking in which you and I engage…we are either focused externally or internally. They are both beneficial to our survival but each comes with an equal cost.
If you engage in externally focused thinking it enables you to be more aware of what is going on around you but the cost is you can ignore what is going on inside yourself.
Conversely if you engage in internally focused thinking it enables you to be more aware of what is going on inside yourself but the cost is you can miss what is going on outside of yourself.
External focused thinking is sometimes called, “The Old Psychology” because it was given priority for a long time historically up to about 1960. It focused on studying how to control other people. Internal focused thinking, which came after that in the history of psychology is called “The New Psychology” and focuses on studying how to control ourselves.
If you use externally focused thinking you tend to be more concerned with what is going on outside of yourself. You do this to protect yourself. If you do it too often according to others you can be viewed as being too controlling; avoiding your own responsibilities; or forcing others to do things.
If you use internally focused thinking you tend to be more concerned with what is going on inside yourself. You also do this to protect yourself. If you do it too often according to others you can be viewed as self absorbed, avoiding the needs of others or not caring about others.
Both Are Necessary
Both external and internal focuses are necessary for your survival and for communicating with others. Being able to switch comfortably from one to the other is an especially important skill you need in dealing with difficult people.
Your Value System Determines Your Reality
Your current perception of the world is your version of reality. Your reality is colored by your value system. Your value system is your version of what is good and bad based on your specific life experiences. So your version of reality is unique to you. And so is everyone else’s. So there is no common reality. Our relationships are what we use to negotiate a common or more similar one.
Personal Perceptions Create Conflict
So, your intention may not be noticed by another person because they are using their unique value system to judge your behaviour. Their misperception of your intention or your misperception of their intention is the basis of your conflicts with people.
Seven Costs to Misperceptions
Your misperception of others or their misperception of you has at least seven significant affects:
- Destroys Respect
- Undermines Trust
- Creates Resentment
- Damages Relationships
- Reduces Team Spirit, Energy and Focus
- Destroys Productivity
- Destroys Organizations
Another Genius – Edward Deming
Are you familiar with the work of Edward Deming? Deming is considered by many the world over as a business genius. Deming was an American management consultant who is credited with helping Japan rebuild its economy after World War Two.
Deming created an approach, a fourteen point system, which enabled the Japanese to become a world leaders in the production of the best products and service in a very short time. And today they still hold this reputation. In the 1980s the Ford Motor Company used this approach to salvage their company from economic disaster. Key aspects of Deming’s approach are found throughout most successful businesses today.
The Core of Deming’s Approach
The core of Deming’s approach is the best products and service can only be created by people:
- with a clear purpose;
- with sound leadership;
- who show trust in each other;
- who are seeking a success not avoiding a failure;
- who work consciously at communication;
- who have a personal pride in their work;
- who are provided with constant learning opportunit
The Seven Essential Psychological Conditions to Create the Best
To say it another way, Edward Deming said for an individual to create the best product or service at competitive prices requires seven psychological conditions:
- To Feel Personally Inspired
- To Have Energy or Enthusiasm
- To Display Personal Creativity
- To Feel Respected
- To Feel a Loyalty To The Organization
- To Have Effective Leadership
- To Feel Part of a Team
The Seven Psychological Conditions Create Seven Gifts
But Deming said you can’t buy these seven psychological states from people! No amount of money or benefits will ensure you receive them. Deming said they are “gifts” which people will offer you if they perceive they are:
- Respected for their Values
- Treated Fairly
- Cared About as a Person
- Listened to Regularly
- Trusted to Do a Good Job
- Supported When Needed
- Challenged When Needed
Imagine for a moment a large triangle sliced horizontally.
The top slice is success in some form. It could be a best product or service or it could be the best family life. The next slice is the motivating Vision which is the mandate, goals, objectives or strategic plan. The next slice is the Resources which are used to achieve the Vision including the people, time, facilities and money. The fourth slice is the Processes which include policies, procedures and history which guide the use of the Resources to achieve the Vision.
The Fifth Slice Is the Most Important
But the fifth slice, the most important slice according to Deming, the foundation of everything else, whether it is a small company, a big company or even a family, is the relationships between the people.
Deming’s Kernel of Truth
When you experience the seven conditions, (respect, fairness, caring, heard, trust, support and challenge) within a situation, like a relationship for example, you offer your seven gifts which are essential to produce the best of anything, whether a product or service.
Edward Deming said to be successful, not just in the marketplace, but in life, you, me and everyone has to have the skills to create these seven conditions for a healthy relationship and this includes “difficult people.”
So, these seven conditions are the foundation for communicating with everyone including “difficult people.” So here is our core agenda for communicating with difficult people. You need to learn to: respect their values; treat them fairly; convey caring for them as a person; listen to them regularly; trust them; support them and challenge them.
This sounds like a big job. But it isn’t. I will show you how specifically to do it in section 3.