Ever been puzzled by people and how they react? Here’s one small framework that can help you understand your colleagues and your team better.
We come into the world with set of needs. Depending on how we’re raised and the experiences we make some of them become stronger, others less so. And of course it all depends on the situation we’re in, the context of our lives.
Two of those needs are closeness and distance.
Those of us who have a strong need for closeness are looking for connection, trust, harmony and want to be validated by others. They fear to be alone. Starting a meeting with checking in and asking about your weekend is not idle chitchat for them. They truly want to build a connection, to feel safe and to know they belong.
This can be energy draining for those of us who are more on the need-for-distance end of the scale.
These people look for freedom, individuality and retreat and celebrate their autonomy. One of their biggest fears is just being one of the crowd or drowning in the social fabric of a group. In a meeting, they want to get straight to the point and talk facts only. You might know nothing about their personal lives – and that’s ok!
Then there are the needs for change and continuity.
These two are especially interesting in a company setting, where all of a sudden everything is changing all the time. At the same time. Yes, it’s how it is, but we can’t expect everyone to become equally comfortable with it.
So the people with a strong need for change thrive of their creativity, curiosity and a little risk taking. They want to act out their needs in the moment be able to change things up spontaneously. Standing still or deciding on one thing for life feels threatening to them. Staying in one job for too long or performing routine tasks all day will quickly suck the live out of them.
But then there are their counterparts. The ones who need continuity. They love planning, security, stability and tradition. “But that’s how we’ve always done it” is not an ill-meant resistance to change, but their need for order and control and fear of chaos and lack of orientation surfacing.
Now that you read this – who did you think of? In which situation do you have a strong need for closeness or distance, change or continuity? Did you just think of a colleague or someone else in your life you never understood? How can you adapt your communication to address these needs in others?
I’d love to hear from you!