As a business owner, you may already know that workplace culture begins and ends with your employees and their interactions with one another. Good or bad, communication styles affect productivity, environment and workflow from day to day. Considering these factors, it makes sense to dig deeper to try to see things through the eyes of your employees.
Can you actually leverage the behavioral tendencies of your employees for success and growth? Many companies pay top dollar to management consulting firms in order to find out. A focus on communication styles has led to:
- Significant increases in revenue growth and development
- Reduced attrition and increased retention of customer base and employees
- Inter-office conflict reduction
There are various personality profile systems available today, the most popular is the DISC Assessment Profile, which is the example referenced in this post. This assessment is commonly used to communicate with customers, prospects and to coach employees on how to perform better as they interface with those customers and each other.
Here’s how an employee might be categorized according to their communication preferences after completing a test:
DISC = Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance
Characteristics of a high “D”: Competitive, enjoys a challenge, problem solver, direct and to the point, takes charge.
- Do not ramble on or waste their time – Be brief, be bright, be gone!
- Stick to business. Do not chitchat.
- Do not come with the decision made.
- Disagree with the facts, not the person.
Characteristics of a high “I”: Strong need to interact with others, talkative – may have difficulty listening, positive sense of humor, may be disorganized, optimistic and enthusiastic.
- Allow time for relating and socializing. Do not be impersonal or task oriented.
- Put details in writing. Do not leave decisions undecided.
- Provide testimonials from people they see as important or prominent.
- Listen and let them talk but do not get lost in conversation.
Characteristics of a high “S”: Great listener, methodical and patient, will want to finish a project before starting another, has a need to serve others, needs preparation for proposed changes – does not like change for the sake of change.
- Start with personal comments – break the ice. Do not rush into business or the agenda.
- Listen and be responsive. Do not force a quick response.
- Do not be demanding or forceful. Slow down and allow time for them to decide.
- Build and maintain trust – do not promise something you cannot deliver.
Characteristics of a high “C”: Extremely organized, pays attention to detail, likes to have supporting evidence and may worry about the consequences caused by change.
- Prepare your case in advance. Do not be disorganized or messy.
- Provide facts and supporting information. Do not force a quick decision.
- Do what you say you can do. Do not fail to follow through.
- Allow them their space. Do not touch them.
After looking at the different profiles, imagine how an employee characterized as a high “I” might interact with another employee with traits of a high “C” in an environment where teamwork is required. A high “C” may be frustrated by the disorganized and spontaneous tendencies of that high “I” and alternatively, the high “I” may find the methodical nature of a high “C” stifling. Depending on the situation, two such contrasting personalities could result in conflict or tension.
Now, imagine everyone is aware of these respective personalities and even better, there’s a way to help them adapt to one another for a more cohesive collaboration. This awareness will also help you keep employees motivated and engaged. Don’t take for granted how a compelling employee experience will improve your business.
Take the time as a team to learn and understand other’s styles and make an effort to approach and engage them in a way they prefer.
Here are some steps to go about doing just that:
Step 1: Take a DISC Personality Profile of yourself and your employees.
Step 2: Compare your style with your employees and look for differences in communication.
Step 3: Review each other’s preferred communication style and look for reasons that the intention does not match the perception.
Step 4: Create a company DISC Chart to identify different personality styles with those whom you work with daily
Step 5: Learn to adapt to your employees’ / partners’ communication style until you have perfected workplace communication
Step 6: Additionally, practice identifying the communication style of your customers, vendors and adapt to their preferred communication style