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How to be more receptive

Having a receptive mindset is useful when collaborating, making people feel heard, and considering issues from a different perspective.
3 min read

Learn to call upon a receptive mindset

Everyone has natural tendencies—instinctive responses that allow them to stay in their comfort zone. But when you over-rely on your innate attitudes, it can distort the way you look at the world. Learning to stretch into other mindsets expands your range and helps you find the best response to the situation at hand.

Receptive is one of the eight Agile EQ mindsets. If it is one of yours, see Your receptive mindset in Agile EQ. For other folks, let’s look at ways to stretch in the direction of receptivity.

Before digging into the how, let’s talk about the why and the when.

Why do it?

Even if it takes some effort, operating out of the receptive mindset has specific benefits for specific DiSC® styles. D styles can create more buy-in for their ideas when the people around them know they’ve been heard. i styles can build trust by making sure their excitement doesn’t push out other perspectives. And C styles can use deep listening to gain critical information that will lead to better outcomes. For S styles, receptivity probably feels quite natural, and is driven by their need for stability and harmony.

Situations that may call for a receptive mindset

Agile emotional intelligence is all about being able to read the needs of a situation and choose the best mindset from which to respond. It’s not just some innate, undefinable trait some people have and some don’t—it’s a skill that you can break down into action steps and practice. This skill development will look different for each individual, and that’s what the personalized Everything DiSC Agile EQ profiles walk you through (see sample profile). But in general, you may need to be receptive when:

  • collaborating in a healthy and respectful way
  • finding the best solution when multiple ideas are on the table
  • balancing the needs of several parties
  • making it easier for other people to feel heard
  • considering an issue from a different perspective, free of your own assumptions

Employing a receptive mindset

Recognize your thoughts

The challenges of receptivity are different for each DiSC style and each individual. Being more receptive may start by recognizing and challenging thoughts such as:

  • I’m not compromising when I know my way is right.
  • I’m not letting them win this one.
  • Why are we wasting time when it’s clear what we should do?
  • I won’t lower my standards to do things their way.

Set goals

Based on the effort meter in your Agile EQ profile, you’ll see beginner, intermediate, and advanced goals for developing into someone who can more easily access receptivity when the situation calls for it. Some examples for different styles may be:

  • I make sure everyone has a say in group decisions.
  • I avoid criticizing and correcting others when it isn’t necessary.
  • I hear people out even if their thoughts are a little disorganized.
  • I seek out input from people with very different priorities.
  • I take time to challenge my own assumptions.

Start practicing

While the particulars will differ for each person, here are some general tips for being more receptive:

  • Don’t dismiss someone right away. Ask follow-up questions to learn the benefits of their idea.
  • Let go of small errors or inconsistencies and try to see the larger argument someone is making.
  • Improve your listening skills. For example, practice setting aside distractions when people are talking to you.
  • Become an authentic listener. Hear what people are saying, not just what you want or expect to hear.
  • Promote shared decision-making and learn when to compromise.
  • Revisit your assumptions when you feel skeptical about someone else’s idea.
  • Make a habit of consulting people with different areas of expertise.
  • Look for ways to say yes.

If you’re not a naturally receptive person, it may seem difficult or even mistaken to try these things. The Agile EQ assessment and training follow a “discover, learn, act” format that gives you insight into your natural mindsets, helps you discover the value of other mindsets, and gives you action steps to gain skills in all eight of them. Some of the mindsets will always take more effort for you, but they’ll get easier with practice.

See also: Your receptive mindset in Agile EQ


Avery Harris-Gray

SC style, NY based. Writing about Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors since 2020. Leadership style: humble. EQ mindset: composed. I always have snacks to share.

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