By Karen Rodriguez, Exec|Comm Partner
Studies show that 25 percent of employees do not trust their superiors, and with more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month, one of the top reasons cited is that they “just don’t like their boss.”
Getting along with your employees can be a complicated challenge. Everyone has his or her our own unique way of communicating. So an important first step to improving communication with your employees and co-workers is to first identify your own personal communication style. In doing so, you’ll be able to recognize how you and your employees, colleagues, or superiors are alike (or different) with regard to your various communication needs. The goal is to maximize attention and involvement!
Here are the four most common communicator types. Which one describes your style?
The Director has a short attention span, processes information quickly and is most interested in the bottom line. Because they are quick processors of information, it is best to come to them with a bulleted list of conclusions. This type of manager tends to guard their time, so you would prefer that people prepare thoroughly before they begin speaking with you and expect interruptions. Be sure to preface your meetings with the fact(s) that you plan to start precisely on time and that those in attendance know of or have an agenda in place.
The Free Spirit
The Free Spirit is typically a creative, "big picture" person who thrives on options, but is not always strong on follow through. This type of manager’s attitude towards time limitations or structure is relaxed and they have no problem making lots of changes in the direction in their meetings. Because they can be scattered those who hold meetings with this type of communicator usually likes to discuss lots of topics at once, and without necessarily finishing one thoroughly before going on to the next one. While they often tend to start and end meetings ...late, a Free Spirit also needs to have enough time to assimilate what is being said so that they can think about things thoroughly.
For the Humanist to be happy, everyone else has to be happy too. This type of manager is very concerned with the feelings of others and always wants to be sure that the needs of others are thoroughly met. Be prepared to have anything you present to them to be passed around the entire department for full consensus. Communicating with a Humanist requires patience and tact, as they like to spend more than the allotted amount time discussing issues during meetings. Humanist managers want people to be as open and honest with them. The more questions they are asked the better—it ensures them that people are being heard and their needs are being tended to.
This type of manager thrives on detail and reacts best to structure and precision. They respect people who always provide them with thorough analyses and background information. They tend to process information in a very linear and methodical way and do not like to jump from subject to subject. It's important for the Historian to discuss things in an orderly and step-by-step fashion. The Historian likes everything and everyone to be on time, and stay on the agenda (or follow a timeline) to ensure that everything up for discussion will be covered.
As you come to understand these types of communication styles, you will hopefully be able to have a better relationship with your employees and colleagues, which can ultimately provide a more enjoyable work environment!
So again, which “type” are you? How has our communication style shaped some of your success as it applies to communicating effectively in your workplace? Leave a comment below!
About the Author
As the manager of the Exec-Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). Since joining Exec-Comm in 1999 and entering into partnership status in 2009, she introduced (and still manages) the firm’s blog, The Chat, launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange, and its open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.