How Communication Styles Interact in the Workplace

In today’s ever-changing, diverse workplace, versatility is likely the single most important tool that you can have in your personal communication arsenal.

Strong communicators know that being able to meet people where they are, and connect with them via their unique communication style, may be the difference between building a unified team and losing a key client relationship.

More than 50 years ago, Dr. David W. Merrill began researching predictors of success in selling and management careers. Merrill found that people tend to display consistent, observable behaviors, and that others consistently agree on words to describe each behavior. This work became the foundation of TRACOM Group’s SOCIAL STYLE Model®.

Using the SOCIAL STYLE Model, we can distinguish four styles of behavior: Amiable, Analytical, Driver and Expressive.

Here is an overview of these four styles.  Next week, we’ll delve even deeper into what determines a person’s unique style and how they interact.

The Amiable

Is there someone on your team who loves to organize social activities and birthday gatherings? Perhaps their work area is covered with photos of friends and family?

An Amiable Style person is “relationship oriented.” Amiables thrive on building relationships with teammates, friends and family and are focused on feelings. They want everyone to feel included. Amiables are often seen as good listeners and “team players.” Teammates feel comfortable communicating more openly to them.

One of the difficult styles for Amiables to understand is the Analyticals, who may react purely from the facts. “Feelings have nothing to do with it,” an analytical might say to which an amiable might fire back with, “Feelings have EVERYTHING to do with it.”

The Analytical

Have you worked with someone who carefully researches every aspect of a project before making a recommendation?

An Analytical Style person is most comfortable with facts, principles and consistent logic.

Because of this, they tend to work in technology, engineering, law or financial industries. Their day-to-day role has them working mostly in their left brain.

Since they are driven by tangible facts, they can often be seen as uncommunicative. Funny enough, we hear some of the most detailed stories and rich use of metaphor from Analyticals.

The Expressive

At Interact, me and most my teammates are Expressives.  We tend to focus our attention on people, intuitive vision, entrepreneurship and spontaneity.

Expressives are passionate, imaginative and creative. We like to push the envelope on a project and see how far we can take it. We also like to generate enthusiasm for projects and bring everyone along for the ride.

We know to keep each other in check, however, since Expressives can get caught up in the excitement and overlook the due diligence!  We have to keep each other focused to complete one project before becoming distracted by another.

The Driver

Many project leaders, CEOs and directors are Drivers. They keep their eye on the goal and drive projects home as a priority over relationships.

Consider these two philosophies:

  • “Let’s do complete this business transaction first and then get to know one another.”
  • “Let’s get to know one another and consider this business transaction.”

As you might have guessed, the first is the philosophy of the Driver.

The Driver, as the name suggests, likes to be in control and nail down what needs to happen to get things done now. They tend to have little patience for delays and ambiguity and prefer being direct and to the point.

Social Style Communication Versatility

Who’s Right and Who’s Wrong?

Since every style makes an important contribution to the team, there isn’t a right or wrong SOCIAL STYLE.  However, there is an effective and ineffective way to interact with each style.

A crucial element of the SOCIAL STYLE Model is versatility. Versatility is an indication of your willingness to accommodate and connect with other styles. It has nothing to do with changing your style, and everything to do with growing your awareness of how to meet others where they are, and become more effective at building relationships.

Next week, we’ll delve deeper into the various styles by going over the two key factors that go into determining a person’s SOCIAL STYLE.

Avatar for Jackson Sveen

Jackson Sveen

Jackson's passion is storytelling, whether it’s through an 800-word article, a 140-character tweet, or a single photo. Among his many roles, Jackson was tasked with delivering the voice of Interact through the various social media outlets.