Keyword: “different communication style(s)” Understand Different Communication Styles to Manage Teams More Effectively Managers who understand the different communication styles of their employees and learn to adapt to their own communications accordingly are more effective leaders. This is called versatility, and it is one of the most important skills managers must have to get the most out of their employees. Studies have shown that people are divided equally across four primary communication styles: Driver: This communication style is characterized by being action and goal-oriented, independent, decisive, practical, disciplined, and efficient, and needing to see results quickly. Expressive: People with an expressive communication style enjoy excitement and interpersonal action, and are typically very sociable, enthusiastic, stimulating, and good at motivating others. They are idea-oriented, avoid routines, and react quickly in most situations. Amiable: The amiable communication style is characterized by valuing cooperation, acceptance, and personal security. Amiable people try to avoid conflict at all costs, desire approval from other team members, and prefer to work with others in a team effort instead of individually. Analytical: Employees with this communication style are concerned with being organized and having all the facts before taking careful action. They are orderly, precise, and methodical, and generally conform to an organization’s standard operating procedures. Since each of these different communication styles represents about 25 percent of all people, managers only share a communication style with about one-fourth of their employees. This presents an obvious management challenge because successful manager must effectively communicate with the other three-fourths of their team. They must be versatile and truly understand the personalities and motivations of their employees. Considering the differences in communication styles, it’s no surprise that employees with different social styles describe the characteristics of an ideal manager in very different ways. Drivers want managers to be sincere and direct; Expressives desire a manager that is open in communication, friendly, empathetic, and trusting; Amiables function best when a manager 1
shows confidence in employees and is honest and trustworthy; and Analyticals want managers to be knowledgeable and openly share information. Managers need to be acutely aware of their own behavioral tendencies, their approach to employee interaction, and the expectations of different employees. Being versatile and understanding the needs and communication style of each employee is critical in three primary situations: Conflict: Knowledge of different communication styles is very useful in addressing conflict situations because it helps people focus less on emotions and more on the resolution of the conflict, as well as identify the key differences at the root of the conflict. Performance reviews: Understanding communication styles is also important for ensuring productive one-on-one employee performance reviews. Approaching the appraisal with knowledge of a specific employeesâ€™ communication style can help put them at ease and make them more receptive to feedback on their performance. Goal-setting: Gaining employee buy-in when setting the direction for a company or department is critical to achieving goals. Knowledge of different communication styles can help managers focus on the interests that are important to different employees, showing how each of them will benefit from the course of action. Many studies have shown that the most common reason employees leave a company is a poor relationship with their manager. Turnover, performance, productivity, and employee satisfaction can all be improved when managers take the time to learn their employeesâ€™ different communication styles. They can build better, happier teams that work closely together to achieve a common goal. Learn more about communication styles and how understanding them can improve relationships with employees by visiting the business coaching experts at www.ThinkBlueThinking.com or calling 619.550.8052.