There are four basic communication styles and even if it’s not a perfect fit, everyone fits into at least one category. Your communication style depends on how you listen, speak to people, approach situations, and understand what’s said to you. For this reason, it’s important that you are able to identify the different communication styles, especially in the workplace.
The four styles are as follows:
Direct- they’re goal-oriented, make decisions quickly with the information presented to them, don’t concern themselves too much with others opinions or feelings, can be assertive and confident, but can also be dominating and impatient
Considerate- these people try to avoid conflict at any expense and will give in easily to others, they often keep their opinions to themselves as to not make waves, and will over emphasize their decision making methods on others feelings
Spirited- these people don’t pay attention to detail, so if you’re trying to get them to complete a project, make sure you stay on top of them, they tend to exaggerate and generalize things, and can sometimes be a bit overdramatic
Systematic- people with this communication style focuses excessively on detail, if it’s not important, don’t even mention it to them, they don’t share much information about themselves, can be terse, and talk sort of monotone
It’s important to be able to identify the different communication styles in your co-workers because sometimes people with different styles simply can’t figure out how to get along. At no fault of their own, they don’t understand why the others do the things they do and how they can’t understand in the same way as them.
Not being open to other communication styles can hinder performance in the office. For example, if your boss is systematic but you are spirited, they’re probably going to have to remind you about your deadlines and meeting multiple times throughout the week. If this is the case, your boss might become frustrated with you, thinking you have a bad work ethic or don’t care about your job. The reality of the situation is however that you just find it difficult to listen to details and don’t think about things in the same logical order as your boss. Make sure you listen in on details closely, and write them down because you’re bound to forget! Remember, systematic communicators don’t care much about feelings.
Another example might be working with a client that’s direct. If your client has a direct communication style, he or she is going to tell you exactly what they need from you and how they want you to do it. They won’t make any small talk and probably won’t care about your life outside of the workplace. They may come off as pushy and rude at first, but it’s important to identify this as a communication style rather than an attitude. If you can come to grips with the fact that the person is not trying to be forward, but just trying to get the project completed, it’ll be easier to work together.
Letting your emotions get in the way of communication when there are people with different styles involved can be hard to overcome. The barriers between the different methods can be draining, but are more easily dealt with when understood. There’s no reason that someone who’s direct and someone who is considerate can’t work together with an understanding of the different ways they’re going to make decisions and communicate with each other.
If you find yourself struggling to work with someone who communicates in a different way then you do, tell that person what you need from them in order to get the end goal accomplished. If they’re receptive to you reaching out, they should do the same. Not understanding someone else’s communication style can be tough to overcome at first. It is however always good to practice working with people of different styles and background so that in the future you can be a great team member, leader, and even boss.