When looking at the strengths and weaknesses of coworkers, something that can often be overlooked is the idea of a conversational style. Each person has a particular way they communicate that can either suit or work against their position and the goals they are being asked to accomplish.
Communication is a major - possibly the most important - part of workplace cohesion and if you stop to assess what kind of style each person you work with uses, you can utilize this information to more easily match people to projects and delegate the right tasks to the right people.
There are said to be four distinct conversational styles and in general, on a team, you would like at least one person who is skilled at each. Of course everyone is made up of a combination of these stylistic elements, however, it is relatively easy to assess how a person learns when it comes to the way they communicate in the workplace.
The four major communication styles are:
If a person tends toward metrics and hard numbers when asserting their points they follow this style. Those who do this can be seen as pragmatic, but may appear cold. They will generally expect you to communicate back to them in similar terms, curbing small talk for concrete assessments using data.
Someone who is required to innovate and see a larger picture generally tends toward this style. Giving them the freedom to do this is something important for growth to occur, but teaming them with a more analytical coworker will rein in their big ideas to make sure they’re also practical.
Organized and ready to create action steps, the functional communicator excels at running meetings and making sure milestones are met. Again, it is well served to match this person with an intuitive thinker to make sure deadlines are established.
It’s crucial to have someone on your team that can meet effectively with clients and whose strength is forging emotional bonds with customers. This person is invaluable, but only if they’re also being corralled by a functional communicator to make sure they’re on track with metrics and not just working to establish positive relationships with no structure.
In all, you’d love to have coworkers with all these strengths working together seamlessly. And while that ideal situation might not happen organically, it’s useful to think about the communication types when putting together a team. In addition you may want to consider asking someone to adjust their style one way or the other for a new role or to coordinate with another coworker in order to maximize team productivity.
See the piece below for more information on how to best assess conversational styles and work with them effectively.