If you have worked with people for any amount of time, you’ve probably figured out by now that every person practically speaks their own language. You can look directly into the eye of two employees and ask them to handle the exact same task and one will get straight to work while the other will leave your office only to ask a co-worker what you meant. It’s frustrating having to accommodate to different communication styles. But just remember: you have your own style, too.
There are 4 types of communication profiles that everyone fits into, depending on two factors: how open their communications tend to be, and how direct they tend to be. Take a look at the chart below, (courtesy of TribeHR):
Although our communication style is pretty set by the time we are adults, employees-- and would-be leaders especially-- can be trained to be flexible when it comes to differing styles, according to the circumstances. And since each style is best suited to handle different work environments, flexibility might mean determining which one is most effective depending on your organization’s needs. For example, socializers tend to do well on collaborative team projects making them a great fit for the creative department. Meanwhile a legal department or IT department is probably made up of mostly thinkers who thrive when working alone.
That’s why knowing your personal communication style is key to managing a team wisely. It can impact how you assign tasks, the type of assignments you request, and how you build your team. Here is just a few insights into how each profile interacts, and what types of departments they are best suited for:
Because relators care so much about maintaining a harmonious workplace, they are best suited for managing teams that are well-trained and autonomous, such as a group of creatives. Their management style can be referred to as ‘pacesetting.’
Like relators, socializers love people. Because they are so people oriented, yet quick and direct, the socializer should manage interns or entry level professionals who could use a friendly manager to help teach them the ropes. They usually engage the ‘coaching’ management style.
As we mentioned above, unlike socializers and relators, thinkers love to work alone. Strangely, they tend to share the same management style as relators. Because they love to do things on their own, they tend to set the pace for the rest of the team. This explains why they should manage sales teams or legal/compliance departments: they work autonomously and benefit from a manager with strong analytical skills to help solve problems and handle issues they don’t have time to deal with.
In short, directors direct. They are best suited to manage in extremely fast paced environments because their style is very clear, concise and well, direct. The director is known to use the (you guessed it) ‘directive’ management style.
Whether you manage a team of people or are an employee getting to know your own manager, it’s good to know what you are dealing with. Understanding how people communicate will help you determine the best course of action for yourself and your department.