The way our brains are wired influences our communication style
By LILY LAU
Imagine two computers, a Mac and a PC (Windows). Both can run “Microsoft Excel” and “Adobe Photoshop” (graphic software), yet you cannot run software designed for one type of computer on the other. Both programmes have a slightly different look and feel to them.
Additionally, Excel runs faster on a PC and is a bit slower on a Mac, but Adobe Photoshop runs far faster on a Mac than a PC.
Similarly, there are people who like mathematics and they will do well in the subject but there is another group of people who do not favours the subject but force themselves to learn it to fulfil some exam or entry requirement.
Which category are you?
Those who love mathematics will find the subject fascinating because their brains are genetically wired to make the subject appear easy.
On the contrary, the second group of people – where mathematics is not their strength – take a longer time (and added effort) to grasp the subject (like running Adobe Photoshop on a PC).
They however, may excel in the field of creative arts, as their brains are wired differently.
The Directive Communication™ system organises the different types of “brains” into colour classifications based on their genetic neuro-processing which is responsible for the way people experience their environments, absorb information and interpret them.
This results in specific ways of perceiving and evaluating events, situations and even the development of ideas.
Types of coloured brain processors
Green Brain – Random or chaotic processing
People with a Green Brain are forward moving. They process their overall surrounding and see the “bigger picture”. Their thinking is non-linear in random chunks, so they can only fully concentrate on one situation at a time.
As a Green Brain leader, you are action driven and like to get things going. When working in a team, Green Brain people like interaction in the form of sharing and tossing ideas around. They can come up with creative approaches and see things on a broader perspective.
They cannot give you details unless they are deliberately asked to do so.
They are good at getting things started but may have difficulty following through. They are perceived to be impatient due to their nature of getting things done at a rapid pace.
Red Brain – Linear processing
Clarity is power to the Red Brain. They have to maintain a clear sense of purpose.
They are precise in their communication and process facts in a logical way which allow them to detach themselves from situations and be extremely objective.
As a Red Brain leader, you are structured and your style is to create framework and policies.
You have a clear sense of direction and you tend to think long-term, looking and planning way ahead into the future.
You think things through before speaking and do well in accomplishing goals and objectives. As a result, you will only take calculated risks and action upon thorough analysis.
Blue brain – Intuitive processing
Blue Brain people are emotional and they process and communicate through their feelings. They are versatile, flexible and are capable of playing many roles. They have a strong sense of personal connection which makes them highly relational and empathetic.
As a Blue Brain leader, you are all about caring and sharing. You perform well in roles that require you to interact with other people. You are great at resolving people issues and are a natural organiser.
For personal communication, you are intuitive and can often address organisational insensitivities with positive results.
Purple Brain – Relational Processing
Information is king to Purple Brain. Their style of processing requires them to absorb a lot of information in order to take appropriate action.
Their mind is connected through data and they need the details to give them a safe sense of direction.
They are key in operational functions and are very practical in their applications.
As a Purple Brain leader, you are meticulous with details and are organised in nature. You accumulate data even for future use.
To get things done, you need considerable context in a hands-on environment and sufficient time to assimilate the information garnered. You excel in developmental areas involving systems or operations.
Your ability to plan and observe details are applied in practical solutions to problems and improvement of situations.
Why should leaders be aware of their coloured brain?
As a leader, you have your own way and style of doing things. You also have strengths and weaknesses. Awareness on the colour of our brain gives us the means to maximise our capacity to act intelligently.
In other words, to turbo charge our natural gifts and use them to maximise our ability to develop the “software” in our brain and create greater competence across many disciplines.
We can understand others at a deeper level and unleash potential for better teamwork, greater harmony and cooperation regardless of the environment we are in.
As a leader in your organisation, department or team, your coloured brain dictates your nature and the culture of your working environment.
Say for example, you are the head of your department and you fall in the Green Brain category and you have three subordinates who fall in the Red, Blue and Purple Brain categories, respectively.
How is your communication affected?
Being Green, you love tossing ideas. You like to brainstorm and bounce off ideas and get feedback. You probably get excited and go out of agenda, which in your opinion is still valid.
And you brought up an idea that came to you last night and your team just heard about it.
To your team, the Red Brain will feel that he is wasting time discussing something that he is unprepared for and does not lead to a conclusion. As result, he does not participate actively in the discussion.
The Purple Brain may feel lost for not having sufficient information to share since the agenda was impromptu. He is also unable to contribute effectively.
The Blue Brain may feel that his boss’ last minute change of idea is insincere and may lose trust.
As a result, the meeting may not be as productive as the Green Brain boss intends it to be. The outcome can create unwarranted frustration, unnecessary tension and possibly, conflicts.
Developing “communication flexibility” as you climb the ranks
Brain flexibility helps you to communicate and build better rapport with others. The main genetic foundation of our brain communication does not change, but as we develop through our environment, we acquire flexibility in the way we use our genetic processor.
Just like writing software for a PC or Mac processor to accomplish a specific task, you can write software for your genetic brain processor.
Throughout your life, you may have found ways to communicate through trial and error. This would have helped develop your brain flexibility.
Yet, you may find it challenging to be creative, analytical, systematic or more sensitive towards others etc. Here is where awareness sets precedence to effortlessly accelerate the process.
Taking the example of the Green Brain leader again: If he gets promoted and is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, he learns to think things through before taking an action.
He would probably do a little homework and gather some points for discussion. He may also send out the agenda and give time to his team to assimilate the information.
He can also list out the framework and guidelines to assist the team, for a fruitful discussion. By consciously doing this, he gains some control on the outcome of his impending discussion and can expect a fruitful and effective brainstorming session.
Knowledge of Coloured Brain helps to understand one’s behaviour and raises our expectation to create more intelligent actions and reduce stress.
The Green Brain boss will become more prepared instead of being spontaneous. He accepts his team members’ strengths and as a strategy to develop talent management, he should capitalise on the strengths of each team member based on their capacities and capabilities.
This understanding also helps minimise misunderstandings and increases teamwork and productivity.
How storytelling helps leaders communicate effectively?
Storytelling is a crucial communication strategy and a powerful method that anyone can use. It is especially useful for leaders. Incorporating stories into your messages helps to develop a shared sense of connection and identity.
You can listen to someone telling you “how to change” but it becomes much more powerful if you listen to a story of someone who has gone through a change.
It creates an empathetic understanding, which enables you to learn and figure out the lesson for yourself.
The truth is, most leaders know how to tell stories. The question is, are you doing it in an engaging manner or are you merely sharing experiences?
Some listeners have a very short attention span and if the story is not appealing enough, they lose focus. As a good storyteller, you need to incorporate postures as a form of communication to make your story real and engaging.
Postures are physical manifestations of emotions and they are induced willingly or through reaction. The primary postures are:
1. The Warrior
This posture has high energy with directed focus. It is intense in action, quick to react to situation at hand and has heightened instinct to survive. This is great when you are working on an important project with a looming deadline or when you are pursuing a goal.
2. The Child
This posture is humble and playful; it is without worry and sees the beauty in everything. As a child, life is a magical journey; he can make even the most boring activity exciting and fun.
Bringing out the child in a brainstorming session or when trying to form new ideas will be a great advantage for you. It can make a difference in team rapport and create a less formal and more efficient atmosphere at work.
3. The Lover
The lover posture is supportive, nurturing, passionate and patient. This posture draws on the emotional centre to extend a part of the self to others. It is useful when coaching or guiding others in a new task, or when they have made a mistake.
4. The Emperor
As an emperor, this posture leads and sets an example. It is also calm and purposeful.
This posture draws respect from others and acts as a role model because they instil confidence, vision and display leadership qualities.
Awareness of postures can improve rapport and group dynamics. The correct combination of postures can lead to higher productivity, teamwork and greater understanding of one another.
When harnessed, it can bring out the best of your mental and emotional facilities.
As a leader, your ability to communicate and tell stories through appropriate usage of body postures can enhance the delivery of a message.
It transforms boring messages into inspirational and encouraging pieces of information. It allows you to be a successfully influential leader.
In conclusion, the application of Coloured Brain knowledge with the skill to use postures appropriately to communicate will undoubtedly expand the competencies required for you to be an effective leader.
Lily Lau is a trainer and faculty of Leaderonomics. She aims to inspire people to reach their potential through self-discovery of personal talents. She is master certified for directive communication psychology and has conducted many trainings in this topic. You can find out your Coloured Brain through Coloured Brain Communication Inventory. To engage her for your organisation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org