To this end, we suggest that each member of a family identifies and describes three key attributes of each other family member. When you are able to pinpoint these three attributes, you can begin the work of honoring your family members for who they are.
What Are the Three Key Attributes?
1. First, what are this family member’s intelligences? Each of your family members will have multiple intelligences. Perhaps your nephew can hear patterns, manipulate them, and solve them. His sister, on the other hand, is a peacemaker: She can read people and communicate with them to solve problems. Both of these intelligences are equally important, and both of them speak toward the fiber of a person’s being.
2. Second, what are this person’s values? Every person has attributes instilled into their being, motivators that dictate certain behaviors, and priorities based on their stage of life. By recognizing these values in other people, you can begin the job of communicating with family members in a context relevant to their values.
3. How is this person hard-wired to tackle a problem? Does this family member like to jump in and get to work? Or does he prefer making models or gathering facts? Knowing the “striving instincts” of your family member helps you understand why they do or do not take action in certain situations.
How Can I Identify These Three Attributes in My Family Members?
1. To learn more about the different types of intelligences a person might have, read Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. Gardner is a Harvard psychologist who identified nine different types of intelligences.
2. To identify your family members’ values, ask them to complete this values exercise.
3. Kathy Kolbe created something called the Kolbe System™, which determines a person’s striving instinct. The Kolbe A Index™ looks at these deeply imbedded instincts that determine how you go about solving problems, making decisions, and taking action. Consider asking every family member to take the Kolbe A Index™.
Some of our clients have dedicated a portion of each family meeting to setting aside time to identify one, two, or all of these three attributes. The results make the time commitment far worth it. Every family who takes the time to “see” their fellow family members reports that the family unit is strengthened when each family member feels honored and understood.