Does he learn through illustration?
Does he learn through doing?
Does he learn through visualization?
Does he learn through listening?
-- Coach Bill Parcells
While talking about teaching his players new techniques, Coach Parcells notes that players learn through different styles. And if you don't want to drive yourself -- and your players -- nuts, you'd better understand what learning style each person has.
During this age of multitasking, where many people are driven to distraction, it's important that we understand the learning style of the people we manage. If you're having a hard time getting through to an employee, take several steps back and ask yourself the questions that Coach Parcells provides.
In "Managing Oneself" Peter Drucker writes that it's important to know our strengths because -- "A person can perform only from strength." Drucker also suggests that there are a few common personality traits that determine how we perform.
Are you a reader or a listener?
As an example, he explains that General Dwight Eisenhower performed brilliantly in press briefings because his staff would give him written questions an hour or so before a briefing. And yet, when Eisenhower became president he skipped this practice and decided to listen to journalist's questions. The result? The same press that praised General Eisenhower for his eloquence, complained that President Eisenhower rambled on endlessly and never addressed their questions.
Of course, we all report to somebody. And you should ask yourself these same questions about your boss and her learning style -- So you can manage your boss.