How do you feel today? Is this a question you would like to hear more regularly? Or do you think that “how are you?” sounds more appropriate?
Looking back I think that my mother would have by far preferred the first question as it relates more to emotions than the usual “how are you”.
Some of us connect with others mainly through feelings and thus have a different approach to life than others, to illustrate such a personality I chose to write about my mother as she belonged to those connecting with others mainly through feelings. She was very compassionate, warm and sensitive.
I can imagine that she would have been a great blogger as communication belonged to her basic needs, she wrote tons of letters, a diary in times where she felt alone and grabbed the phone regularly to stay connected with us.
Had she started a blog it would have been centered on beautiful things, tasty cooking, and the regular activities of her favorite clubs. To describe it in more generic terms her blog would have certainly contained a lot sensory stimulation.
A Need: Sensory Stimulus
Beautiful things had a major importance for my mother and the range of things in which she saw beauty was huge: it could be a fabric especially if touching it was agreeable, a special perfume, a nicely crafted tool, a smooth stone just as well as a breathtaking view or architecture. With this in mind, she would decorate our home using even unimpressive things in order to create a nice atmosphere and make sure that coming home felt nice.
In her case the need to taste led to a passion for cooking accompanied by a great pleasure to smell spices from all over the world. Others might have selected a different occupation for example to care about their garden or maybe listen to music.
Sharing these sensations with others and being in a group belongs to the needs of personalities like my mother, thus she regularly invited friends to enjoy delicious meals. She also joined several clubs, where she would occasionally take the leadership to ensure that all the members would have enough occasions to meet and enjoy beauty.
There was only one restriction to her wish to connect: it was important for her to look as good as possible, she thus would never go out of the house if she wasn’t well dressed or didn’t have her make-up and a note of perfume on her.
Less Appreciated: Bare Facts
Communication for her was intended at understanding who the person she was talking to was and how they felt and much less related to the exchange of information. In times this made it necessary to adapt to her style of communication. I remember that there were multiple occasions when I asked my mother for driving directions and was incapable to understand her description. I couldn’t follow her description packed with details describing the view I would have while finding my way.
When asking for information, do you appreciate to have the bare facts or do you like to know the story behind?
A Need: Caring
She loved to nurture others and regularly had people approaching her to share multiple details about their life and personal stories. They did so because of her unconditional acceptance of them and giving such recognition was natural to her as it corresponded to the recognition she looked for herself.
How to Support Them
As far as we know, about a third of the population will have feelings as main perception.
Now think about your environment, do you know someone with similar traits as my mother? Did you recognize such a person perceiving their environment through their feelings? Knowing this person, can you see how the following suggestions help to get along best with this person and how they allow boosting his or her performance?
- Make sure that a place is available allowing for casual meetings for example around the coffee machine. They will use it these opportunities to connect, be compassionate and supportive with their fellow workers.
- Give them room to put up some family pictures and use other elements to make their office a cozy working area. When in need of energy they will be able to use these details as sensory stimulator allowing them to feel well.
- Make sure that their office, even if it allows for some moments of retreat, is close to their colleague’s offices as they need the ability to connect.
- When making a compliment, avoid compliments about their achievements instead give them an unconditional recognition of their person (for example “I’m glad that you are here” or “you are important to the company and me”). Recognizing them as a person will motivate them to achieve as much as possible.
- Don’t critique their mistakes too much, as they often don’t separate mistakes they make from their own person.
This post continues my series about different personality types, which started with How to Recognize Competence
[Original publication via frogstalk.com, Aug 19, 2010]