Beware of rough edges! 

If you've read the recent series of posts, you learned about each of the 5 Voices (personality styles) -- their key characteristics, strengths, challenges, common triggers, and reaction to stress.

Hopefully you've not only zeroed in on your Foundational Voice -- the one that's most natural to you -- but also considered the degree to which you operate out of each of the 5 Voices. This ranked Voice Order matters much, as we pull strongly from our second Voice, not just our first.

Now, let's consider practical ways you can apply your understanding of the 5 Voices. In the next post, I'll share some "behind the scenes" insights. But first, let me share examples of how I use, on an almost daily basis, what you already know about the 5 Voices.

A few days before writing this post, I was flying home from facilitating a 5 Voices retreat for a family. I was still jet lagged from the flight out. It was a long trip home, and I hoped to have my head on my pillow by midnight because I'd be up at 5am the next day. I wanted quiet time to relax and hoped my seat mates would want the same.

It was in that context, that an energetic woman walked onto the plane, speaking loudly into her phone and waving her hands as she talked. Her behavior was in contrast to the relaxing flight I hoped for, so I was relieved when she walked passed me. Then she exclaimed, "Oh yeah, where's my seat?" and returned to her conversation. Her voice trailed away, and I was relieved. Then she reappeared, pointed to the seat beside me, and asked to get in. She was my seat mate.

Gratefully, instead of sitting there stewing in my displeasure, I reached for a coping strategy that uses the 5 Voices. I asked myself: How can I understand her behavior through the lens of the 5 Voices … instead of judging and criticizing it?

She was directing a lot of energy outward -- talking loudly to a friend and gesticulating with great animation. Perhaps she's an extroverted, relational Voice, like as a Connector, I thought. If so, the phone conversation with a friend was reenergizing her -- like I hoped a quiet flight would reenergize me. The judgement fell away as I sought to understand her behavior instead of getting irritated about how it could impact me. Gratefully, she spent the flight texting, not chatting with me. And I got to relax, as I'd hoped.

On that same flight, one of the later passengers to board was a tall, broad-shouldered man with a booming voice. He carried three black bags, noticed the overhead bins were full, and with a tone of disgust he exclaimed that roll-aboard bags weren't laid on their side to allow more space for others. "Don't you have a closet you can put this [other passenger's] guitar in?," he also asked an attendant.

I noticed my thoughts were judging him as arrogant and demanding. Then I stopped myself. I wonder what Voice he might have? He exuded confidence in his opinions and shared them freely. He had an air of authority about him. Perhaps he was operating from a Pioneer Voice.

As I was thinking about all this, my eyes went to his bags, and I realized he was an off-duty pilot. I asked myself how the characteristics of a Pioneer Voice could be helpful in the role of a pilot. As my thinking became more curious, I became more relaxed.

One of my favorite ways to use the 5 Voices is to change up how I think when the behavior of others feels like a rough edge to me.

Differences are natural, so conflict is normal, but it does not have to be divisive.

More often than not, differences are merely different -- not a matter of right or wrong. When I get curious, seek to understand others through an objective (vs judgmental) lens, and honor the value of people being wired differently, rough edges become less rough, I become less critical, and irritation subsides.

Consider this:

  • The 5 Voices is an objective way to understand differences.
  • Next time you feel a rough edge -- consider how you might understand that through the lens of the 5 Voices.
  • The good news is -- you don't have to be right in guessing their Voice!
  • The exercise of checking your thoughts, getting curious, and seeking to understand is a wonderful coping strategy … in and of itself.

Need a refresher?

Want to discover your Voice?

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When differences collide

If you've read the recent series of posts,

Beware of rough edges!

Melissa Mitchell-Blitch

About the author

A former CPA, my career started at a Big 5 accounting firm. As part of the Family Wealth Planning group, I saw the challenges of family business and family wealth. Those challenges often overshadowed the enjoyment of working with family. I was convinced there had to be a better way, but could not find anyone who could help navigate the intersection of family, business, and wealth. Determined, I left my career in finance and earned a Masters in Psychology.
In the almost two decades since, I have learned how families can thrive -- even when business is personal. Let me help you, your family, and its business thrive.

Let's talk about what matters to you.

I am based in Charleston, SC and serve clients across North American and abroad.

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