Working Remotely with the 5 Voices
Virtual workplaces are an old standby, but COVID-19 has pushed many workplaces into the virtual world. Applying in-person principles to virtual workplaces causes discomfort. We can’t reproduce water cooler talk or team lunches, but we can develop the appropriate habits and rhythms to our workplace.
Virtual work also requires a greater deal of trust. If we build on a foundation of self-awareness with our 5 Voices, we can fight for our team and organization’s highest possible good and bring the best from each team member.
The 5 Voices is built on the power of Jungian typology, leveraging neural linguistics in order to build a simply, scalable, repeatable team communication tool.
The 5 Voices utilize a single word for each Voice, rather than requiring the translation of letters or colors into meaning for each team member. This allows team members to develop self-awareness about their own Voice and build a bridge in communication with another Voice on the team.
Building on each Voice, 16 total combinations of Voices tend to arise in team members. Let’s explore how the 5 Voices can help you understand how to bring the best from each team member in a virtual workplace.
Who they are: everyone trusts them to deliver. They see the details of tasks and projects and enjoy bringing order and structure to them. They find it hard to play until the work is finished, and struggle to delegate.
How to work with them: This Voice has the capacity to store tremendous amounts of data. Their brain is like an extraordinary internal filing cabinet. They have the capacity to bring order to your complex virtual work world, so let them help keep the train on the tracks.
How to help them build resilience: Give these team members time to bring discipline to their immediate working world, and continue to work through tasks (personal and professional) which can be “checked off.”
Who they are: Lifelong learns and are always studying something new. Highly relation and deeply committed to those in their Inner Circle. People of integrity and humility. They always question whether they know enough to be truly expert in what they do.
How to work with them: This Voice is highly relational, deeply committed to those in their circle of care, and are people of integrity and humility. They want to help each person, the team, and the organization reach their potential. They will thrive by scheduling creative space to read, study, engage with future trends, and dream about possibilities – balanced with investing time and resources deepening the key relationships in their Inner Circle.
How to help them build resilience: This Voice needs time to process internally, so help them schedule time to rest, recharge, and spark creative thinking. They also need to focus virtual time on building and maintaining key relationships, building time into the “rat race” of work and tasks.
Who they are: Perfectionist innovators who are comfortable alone and thrive in a remote work environment. They are incredible conceptual thinkers and love to envision the future. They are able to express their insights and vision in clear, concise strategic plans. They’re a dual threat: skilled at both intuitive and practical thinking.
How to work with them: This Voice will thrive in a virtual world, where they can independently dream big dreams, analyze complex problems, and develop credible, ingenious, logical solutions. But thriving in this internal world pulls them away from the relational accountability necessary to reach manageable expectations.
How to help them build resilience: This Voice will need to reset their perspective. Stress will pull the big picture visionary into practical details, and they need to rise above and return to their world of intellectual curiosity and exploring future trends. With a clear path forward, this Voice can utilize their persuasive communication skills to inspire hope.
Who they are: The most extroverted of the introverts, Nurturer/Guardians are selfless and self-sacrificial. Highly competent and natural mediators. They tend to be their own harshest critics. They oil the wheels of relationships inside families, teams, and organizations, and can keep your team connected while working virtually.
How to work with them: This Voice is highly competent, incredibly conscientious, and hard working. People on your team trust their judgment and character. The capacity to care coupled with being highly competent, these team members are your internal caretakers. Leverage their insights to keep the well-oiled machine functioning at a high capacity, and keep an eye out for other team members who need support to build their own resilience.
How to help them build resilience: This Voice is so others-focused, they need to focus on rhythms of personal self-care. They also need to lean into relationships, but balance this with the amount of “bad news” they encounter. Spending time with their future-oriented counterparts can help them rise above.
Who they are: This Voice loves adventure, competition, and exploration. Fiercely practical, they enjoy getting their hands dirty and taking thing apart to understand them. They need diversity and thrive in uncertainty.
How to work with them: your meetings need to be focused and productive, or you will lose this Voice to another idea, brainstorm, project, or exploration. From a team perspective, these troubleshooters will consistently problem-solve, so leverage their creativity in the virtual environment to experiment with new processes or tools before rolling out to the entire team. Their ownership of the trial will carry over into teaching the rest of the team.
How to help them build resilience: this Voice can hold a small Inner Circle, so focusing on others will help them broaden their perspective. Time and space to experiment and tinker will ensure the Guardian/Creative is poised and ready to react appropriately under even extreme pressure.
Who they are: Highly relational and deeply committed to those closest to them. They see the practical needs of the people around them and are people of enormous integrity and live to serve the Neds of those they feel called to. Internal idealists, reluctant leaders, and often question their own worth and whether they are doing enough to help.
How to work with them: This Voice can focus so much on the needs around them, they struggle with whether they are doing enough. Working virtually, away from the relational proximity to their team, the imbalance of task over relationship can push this Voice to stress. They will need reminders, constraints, and check-ins in order to effectively and efficiently complete projects on time, on budget.
How to help them build resilience: they need to focus on the most important relationships within the Inner Circle. The tendency in a virtual world is to take on responsibility of caring for team members, vendors, clients, members, and anyone else they can. Balancing responsibility will help them bring their best to those who need their support most.
Who they are: They care deeply about the imbalances and injustices in our world. They want their lives to make a difference. People value their integrity and trust their character. They are incredibly loyal and deeply committed to their families and close friends.
How to work with them: internal idealists with impossibly high standards and strong social conscience. Aligning their work with their own personal sense of purpose can awaken an unstoppable force. A breach of integrity can also trigger this Voice, so leaders can keep a watchful eye out for shifting into “Reverse” and facilitating the cleanup of relational messes before they push the team to lose productivity.
How to help them build resilience: find a way to make sense of your task world, aligning work with benefiting others and making the world a better place. Also build daily personal time for recharging and dreaming.
Who they are: Powerful conceptual thinkers, they love the challenge to create new and innovative ways of doing things. They ask profound and penetrating questions but have a limited need for people. Their natural struggle to communicate genuine warmth and invitation to relationship can be a challenge in a virtual workspace. Albert Einstein is the archetypal Creative/Pioneer.
How to work with them: Their deep thinking and analysis happens inside their heads, so you need to create a rhythm of drawing this thinking out in your online collaboration platform, virtual meetings, and 1-on-1s. Remember: what comes out first is rarely the gold that’s in their brain.
How to help them build resilience: give this Voice time and space to think conceptually, dream big dreams, and challenge the status quo. Nonstop virtual meetings every day will quickly exhaust the Creative/Pioneer and stifle their perspective.
Who they are: Adrenaline junkies who love the challenge of meeting apparently impossible targets and deadlines. They’re natural troubleshooters who enjoy the intellectual challenge of solving complex practice problems, so their perspective will help your team reach their potential.
How to work with them: Balance their natural troubleshooting with the day-to-day tasks. Their last-minute tendencies will drive other practical Voices mad, and everyone will need to adopt a more effective pace of productivity. If they can develop an appreciation for advance planning, they can increase their credibility and help bring the best from other team members.
How to help them build resilience: if they always run, they’ll keep pushing themselves and others. This Voice needs to engage with a wide variety of work, keeping their competence and expertise fresh and invigorated. They also need to develop appreciation for what’s right in front of them.
Who they are: The life and soul of the workplace, this Voice Order stop things from becoming too serious. They care deeply for people and make great friends in a crisis. As reluctant leaders, they need a push to consistent, task-oriented work in the workplace.
How to work with them: They love to play and create environments where others thrive, so let them show up in virtual environments (team meetings, sales pitches, hosting conferences). In otherwise sterile virtual environments, you need their sense of fun and enjoyment. Lean on this Voice to bring parties even to your virtual spaces.
How to help them build resilience: remind this Voice of their superpower and vital role within your team to reinforce their role. They need people time, so working remotely will be taxing. Don’t let this take out their superpowers!
Who they are: Visioning the future so that people can truly fulfill their potential. They have boundless energy for people and new ideas it’s hard to keep this Voice down for long! Naturally talented at just about everything.
How to work with them: this Voice is extremely excitable – but can find it difficult to discipline their talent and remain committed once the initial excitement has worn off. Collaborative bridge-building will ensure their tendency to over-promise and under-deliver will remain in balance. Leaning on their compelling communication can build momentum with a dispersed workforce.
How to help them build resilience: find ways to encourage and inspire others. Even in a virtual environment, others need this – but being physically separated will challenge your habits and tendencies in how you have always accomplished this.
12. Pioneer/Connector: enterprising explorers
Who they are: Natural leaders and entrepreneurs who are often multi-talented. Tenacious and resourceful in solving new and complex challenges. They are always challenging the status quo!
How to work with them: They love to argue and debate, which can often wear people out. But their charisma can also win people over, both internally and externally. Lean on this Voice in team meetings for building momentum, but also in client meetings when you’re trying to win someone over. Pioneer/Connectors should also be mindful of their persuasive, forceful communication – it might be good to “mute” and listen to someone else before jumping into the foray.
How to help them build resilience: in a remote work environment, a lot of details and practicalities change. This Voice needs to balance conversation of these practicalities with keeping the big picture in perspective. Stepping back from work into habits, hobbies, and stress relievers away from the job will bring balance to their world.
Who they are: This type is made up of pragmatic decision-makers who are traditional, organized, hard-working, methodical and loyal. They bring order, structure, and efficiency to the world around them. They have strong perfectionist tendencies and thus effective delegation is always a challenge.
How to work with them: This Voice brings clarity around order, structure, and efficiency remain at the forefront of the team’s minds. Yet they can be the harshest communicators, so the virtual world may be especially challenging for them to remain engaged by . Building communication skills and self-awareness can ensure their Voice is heard rather than discounted or ignored. Building “3rd Gear” time to check in with other team members, engage relationally, and develop trust will add trust to their existing credibility.
How to help them build resilience: Their drive comes from finding their identity in work and task achievement, so with the rest of the world shut down, they will have a tendency to dive head-first into work all day, every day. Help this Voice shift from Productivity (4th/5th Gears) to being Present (2nd/3rd Gears), and engage in non-work activities to redefine personal success.
Who they are: Fiercely loyal and protective of those within their circle of care. They are conscientious, disciplined, hard working, and have a strong desire to serve and protect others. Nurturing caregivers who thrive on serving the collective. They will message colleagues directly to check on their wellbeing.
How to work with them: This Voice is incredibly supportive, encouraging, and nurturing. They will fill in gaps and work hard to ensure teammates are not letting balls drop. Finding a balance between their fierce loyalty and protection of the team, and appropriate delegation. They will struggle to bring challenge, so encouraging them to give voice to what they see will bring out the best of their perspective for the whole team.
How to help them build resilience: With significant stress and challenge all around, this Voice can have a tendency to want to care for everyone, which will become overwhelming. Help them define their Inner Circle of care and focus on their personal well-being to refresh and recharge (even on the best day they struggle with this!).
Who they are: They balance a desire to strategically shape the future with a deep love and compassion for people, so they can appeal to both vantage points in building consensus when your team is operating virtually. If they’re managers, they’re the inspirational type: extremely driven but also extremely empathetic to the needs of those around them. Both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama are classic Connector/Creative/Nurturers.
How to work with them: Let this Voice drive your online meetings. Their external, people-focused diplomacy will help quieter Voices remain engaged in the conversation (whereas Nurturer will help keep a behind the scenes eye on the team).
How to help them build resilience: This Voice needs to encourage and inspire others. Help them balance tasks/responsibility with lending their support to the full team. Lean on them to develop creative ways for your team to connect while dispersed.
Who they are: They love to lead and enjoy taking responsibility for others. Natural leaders, brilliant at aligning people, systems, and resources to achieve strategic objectives. Their competitiveness and abrasive personality often make them hard to love.
How to work with them: This Voice is a natural leader, brilliant at aligning people, systems, and resources to achieve strategic objectives. They naturally drive teams and organizations to productivity and health. In a virtual world, this metronomic consistency can drive too hard, too fast, without the relational reminders from co-workers bringing other perspectives.
How to help them build resilience: This Voice needs to build time to connect relationally and slow down the driving pace. Build space and time to step away, envision the big picture of the future, and keep the train moving forward at a manageable pace. Structured balance in every area of life is vitally important.
What if every Voice around your team was truly heard, valued, and appreciated?
Much of our difficulty in our organizations, our teams, and our families arise from operating on autopilot, expecting every other Voice on our team to operate just like me. That’s not how we’re wired.
If you discover the Voices on your team, you can take your team to its True Potential. Building self-awareness allows us to know our own tendencies, as well as developing the skills to leverage the tendencies, gifts, and skills of our team.
Interpersonal and communication challenges don’t disappear in virtual work environments. If we can develop our skills, we can utilize the tools for