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“Me” People Vs “We” People

“Me” People Vs “We” People

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 173).

NLP training teaches you to listen, I mean really listen. 

If you listen to peoples “unfiltered” conversational language you can identify if their primary sense i.e. their preferred information intake path, is visual, verbal or kinaesthetic and then tailor your communications for more effectiveness. 

For example if in conversation someone keeps saying “I see”, or “how does it look” it is a good bet that they are visually biased. This just means it is their preferred information intake path, so to connect effectively you need to mirror this with visual biased responses. All serious sales organizations understand and train for this. It is not an exact science but in my experience it is effective.  Also, if you learn to listen you can easily distinguish between the “Me” people Vs “We” people. 

Why is this important? Because it tells you about how people see themselves plus how they see you and will likely treat you. It provides an indication of narcissism, selfishness, ability to play well with others, it helps you spot the “psychos”. Not all sociopaths are violet, many are fully functioning and walk amongst us. You just want to be able to identify and avoid them. 

For example, who would you rather work with, a manager that talks about “my team” or “my senior engineer” or someone that talks about “our team” or “our senior engineer”? Does the person who refers to you as “my” engineer own you? 

The person that frequently uses first person sentences that start with “my” is a “me” person. This person is “imperial”, a “show boater” and when the dark stuff hits the fan they tend to throw “their team members” under the bus. 

The push back to this is that the “me” person is taking ownership, true. However, IMHO the “me” person is really taking an early “option” on receiving the lions share of the accolades by claiming ownership subliminally via their first person statements. However when things do not go well, that is when you see who people really are and the “me” people rarely take ownership of failures. 

One of my mentors really understood this. He never referred to anyone as “his junior engineer’, I was not even that, in reality I was his gofer. He always used plurals i.e. he spoke in terms of “our team”, “our engineer” or “the firm” it was never “his team” or “his firm” even though it was. He was always careful to be inclusive in his language to promote team cohesion and group accountability. Consequently I felt part of the team and would follow him anywhere. I strive to be like him every day. 

Project management and property development is replete with “me” people. As one engineer who had been on the sharpe end of a stressful project told me. His project manager referred to him as “My” engineer but gave him zero actual support. “The project was hell on earth, all “me” based press releases but on site the leadership was absent except for punishment of the innocent and praise for rear echelon, non-participants, the “me” people. 

My advice is to change job if you have a manager or leader that refers to you as chattel i.e as “His” or “Hers”. No discrimination here, women can be awful leaders as well as men. 

Real leaders are “We” people not “Me” people. They lead without coercion they do not use or their position or rank over you to push through bad decisions or apportion blame. They inspire, lead by example and are inclusive, they are team focused. 


Twitter: @BLDWhisperer


Related posts & links:

#105 – Bad Projects? No, Only Bad Leadership ( )

#153 – Hiring Vs Recruiting? ( ) 

#172 – Soft Skills ( )

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