By RedBalloon for Business

How to utilise communication styles to ensure a high-functioning team

You could be a master of dozens of different communication styles, but unless you apply them properly – and to the appropriate individual – then you won’t reap the benefits of a multi-pronged management style. We reveal how different communication styles can not only boost your company’s bottom line, but also feed into a greater employee experience.

Different styles for different team members

We already know there are many different communication types, but they mostly be categorised into one of four major styles: Dominant, Influencer, Conscientious and Steady.

How you communicate with those personalities is the mark of how successful you will be at getting the best out of every team member. Remember, though, that not everyone will fit neatly into one particular type. Many have communication styles that spill over into one or more additional categories.

How to manage a team of diverse personalities

With so many different communication styles, the biggest question you probably have is: “How can I manage so many competing personalities?” Here’s what you should keep in mind when speaking with the various styles of communicators:

  • Dominant: Get to the heart of the matter straight away, and expect their answers to be direct and decisive. The most important thing about Dominant people is to not make promises you can’t keep.
  • Influencer: Influencers enjoy casual discussions and are especially optimistic when sharing their ideas. Because of this bubbly nature, it’s wise to avoid being too blunt or critical with feedback.
  • Conscientious: They value organisation and a systematic approach above all else. Expect them to ask for confirmation on most things, and when it comes to delivering feedback, do it in such a way that it’s not taken as actual ‘criticism’.
  • Steady: These people want you to actually hear them, so practise active listening and clarify any directions or feedback with as much detail as possible. They don’t like to be rushed into making decisions.

A team that communicates together, succeeds together

It should be obvious that good communication is vital to running a successful business. After all, when communication breaks down, productivity drops, jobs don’t get finished, customers aren’t serviced to the expected level, and profits are affected.

Poor communication equals a higher rate of conflict, and conflict can spell disaster for a company. A study from The Workforce Hub found that workplace conflict can waste up to 52% of the working day – consider how much losing half a business day would cost your organisation. What’s more, 80% of all work problems arise from communication issues.

By building a culture around good communication, you’ll have the tools and capabilities to address any roadblocks. More importantly, you’ll already have a strategy to get back on track faster.

The overarching benefits of this are higher staff retention, boosted productivity (and therefore greater profits), team camaraderie, and a business focused on achieving goals in both the short and long term.

Embrace all communication styles: From face-to-face meetings to internal platforms

Gone are the days of the standard office: cubicles for regular employees, offices for upper management and chit-chat restricted to the water cooler.

The modern workplace is all-encompassing. The CEO could be collaborating with their team from interstate while outsourcing jobs to freelancers spread around the globe. This means smart managers must embrace all forms of communication:

  • Internal communication platforms: Your company might have its own custom intranet. Alternatively, cloud-based collaboration tools can be used on a desktop, tablet or smartphone – meaning everyone can stay across their workloads no matter where they are. The best internal comms platforms also engage employees in other ways, such as by creating a rewards system for completing tasks and hitting predetermined milestones.
  • Email: There’s nothing wrong with email, especially when everyone is busy. Be careful of overusing it, however. Your team members still want to know they can approach you in-person.
  • Videoconferencing: Perfect for teams spread across multiple locations. You can use basic online tools that are free to use, or upgrade to pro versions for high-quality video streaming!
  • Brainstorming: It’s wise to set aside an hour every week or fortnight for the team to come together and offer new ideas to improve the business.
  • One-on-ones: Ideal for delivering feedback and ongoing reviews.

Consider the pros and cons of each, and find out what works best for your team. If you want to dive even further, you might ask your employees which methods they prefer. That way you can hand out tasks and deliver feedback in the best environment possible.

Taking an agile approach as a manager

Using all available communication platforms is necessary in the modern workplace, but there’s really no beating a face-to-face chat. For managers who want to take an agile approach to managing – and you should if you’re driven by tight deadlines and a thirst for success – then it needs to start with how you communicate.

The most important thing to remember is that any type of comms – whether it’s a company-wide email or a one-on-one with your project lead – must have a purpose. Once that purpose is clear, all parties can get to the heart of the matter quickly and avoid the stumbling blocks that can arise from poor communication.

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