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Aligning Workplace Communication Styles


February 14, 2017

How technology can bridge gaps between different personalities

It’s Tuesday and your team is neck deep in a project due next week by end-of-business Friday. That adds up to 6 workdays, minus holidays, all divided among all those other projects you have going on, too.

Up to now, your team has been communicating well and making progress, but you’ve hit a roadblock. Everyone is looking around for what to do next. Who’s calling the shots, and can everyone land their mark?

Your workplace is a hub for different cultures, personality and communication styles

As a manager, how do you convey the correct message to get the team back on track without delaying the deadline? What tools are in your arsenal for collaborating and working to each team member’s strengths? Do you meet their communication styles, and know how all those styles blend together without friction? You want seamless and efficient collaboration, especially when the pressure’s on.

Communication is a continuously dynamic challenge for everyone, of which many scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists have observed and defined. One of the first is the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who wrote about these traits emerging out of patterns based on the way people perceive the world and, in turn, make decisions for the best outcomes. Some organizations also take advantage of the tools and guidelines developed by the well-established Myers-Briggs Foundation, which, like Jung, defines types based on brain functions and preferences.

Each person has a unique communication style

According to Mark Murphey in an article published in Forbes, most people follow 4 common communication styles: analytical, intuitive, functional and personal. While there are a number of definitions for communication styles, Murphey’s simplified model makes it easier to compare different expectations and see where problems may arise.

Take our team members Allison, Ingrid, Frank and Pierce, for example. Each person on this team values information differently, which means they each have different approaches to communicating with each other.

An easy way to decipher workplace communication styles is to start listening to the questions each person asks:

  • Analytical Communicator wants to know, “What?”
  • Intuitive Communicator wants to know, “Why?”
  • Functional Communicator wants to know, “How?”
  • Personal Communicator wants to know, “Who?”

Not sure which type you are? Take a quiz to see how you measure up.

Uncover strengths in each style

Allison is an Analytical Communicator whose judgements are based on facts, worldly observations and empirical evidence. Hand her charts and graphs and take time to talk about the effects these patterns could have on logical outcomes. Read more →

Ingrid is an Intuitive Communicator who goes with her gut when she understands the impact the small details have on a larger scale. She loves mission statements and measures her success with customer testimonials. Read more →

Frank is a Functional Communicator who respects clear cause-and-effect relationships. He lights up with simple demonstrations of the project’s desired goals, and he’ll understand practical applications of tools and resources at hand. Read more →

Pierce is a Personal Communicator who is all about people and the powers of workplace collaboration. He’s persistently optimistic and purposefully pulls in as many people as possible (alliteration intended). Read more →

Improve Collaboration with the Right Communication Tools

Workplace communication tools, like instant chats, email, telephones, cell phones, file sharing platforms, calendars, and task management software, are meant to blend the way people interact and help everyone get the job done with ease and efficiency.

As that project deadline approaches, your goal depends on optimum performance from each team member. Everything relies on communication, and anticipating your team’s questions makes the difference between achieving your goals or coming up short.

This month we explore more details about each workplace communication style and the tools that help employees work efficiently. First, we start with Allison, the Analytical Communicator. Be sure to check back each week for tips on getting along with all types of communicators.