You are a bridge. As an emotionally intelligent leader, able to navigate emotions and needs, you provide a bridge to those who have diverse styles of communicating. You know how to meet people where they are. You are at one end of the bridge and at the other end of this very long bridge somebody needs to receive your message. If you deliver your message in the same way time and time again, you’re only going to meet a quarter of the population as three-quarters of the population receive information in a different manner than the way you’re communicating. The world needs your message, let’s make sure you are heard.
Communication is behavior and behavior is observable, situational, flexible, dynamic and based on your thoughts and beliefs. That means communication can change by your own conscious choice.
Think about the diversity of communication and its impact on how you do or don’t get along with certain people. If you were to make a list of people who were easy to be with and people who were difficult to be with, you would see that the people who are easy to be with are similar and those more difficult are different than you. Your styles are similar or different and when you don’t know how to shift your style to meet the need, hardship and pain are the result.
The Four Behavioral Styles
For the sake of simplicity, let’s morph all the many behavioral profile results and distill them down to four behavioral common styles. You will be able to recognize yourself and others in your work and life as we discuss the four styles.
Pretend you’ve drawn a cross in the middle of the page. At the top, you have outgoing and on the bottom reserved. You have someone task-oriented on the left side and you have someone people oriented on the right side. Which one is better? None are better than the other, they simply are. They are ways that you are wired and show up, and all four parts of the matrix are absolutely needed and invaluable in running a business.
One style of communicator is the Driver. The driver is task-oriented and outgoing, they want to drive an agenda, they want to make things happen and they do it through tasks. They see the world as filled with problems that need to be resolved. They easily take risks and move rapidly.
A second style is the Seller. The seller is outgoing and enjoys being in the spotlight and being at the front of the class. They are people oriented and want to lead a team that wins with people. They are very verbal and often charismatic. Relationships are important to them so they will accomplish their tasks through people.
The Analyzer is reserved and task-focused. They don’t need to nor do they want to be in the spotlight. They are too busy focused on getting a task accomplished by analyzing facts and data and historical information. They ask, “why?” and make certain that key corporate metrics are achieved correctly. They avoid conflict and look at the world from the prism of standards.
Our final style is the Team Player who is reserved, yet people-centric. They don’t necessarily want to be in the spotlight yet they’re also very people focused. They’re committed to making sure that the team wins together. Steady eddy types, they accomplish task with stability and harmony and don’t like change.
With that cursory description, can you guess who you are? Are you a driver? Are you a seller? Are you an analyzer or are you a team player? It doesn’t make any difference which of the many behavioral assessments you may have taken, you’re generally going to fall into one or two of these four styles
Pick Up the Clues and Customize
Now that you’ve seen all four of these folks, what does it mean for you? Take what you see about yourself and then pick up the clues on other’s behaviors and customize your leadership communication. Each guest, client and associate is unique and they all have a preferred method of communicating. Without conscious thought, most selling or managing is based upon the behavioral style of the seller or the manager. If you truly are the bridge for communication, you will see that this is backward. Know thyself and adapt to serve the person on the other side of the bridge.
Conflicts in style can result in tension, discomfort and lost opportunities so adapting your approach to the needs of the others will improve your chances of collaboration and results, simple as that.
Put It into Action
To sum this up and make it actionable, follow these tips:
- Recognize your responsibility to create the bridge so that your message is received.
- Understand where you fit in the behavioral matrix and how you prefer to communicate.
- Pick up the clues from those around you to determine their preferences.
- Adjust your style to meet their needs
- Bottom line for drivers
- Create connection with sellers
- Provide details and data to analyzers
- Create a clear playing field for team players
- Rinse and repeat until this all feels natural to you.
The Ideal Leadership Team
There is a distinct benefit of having all four styles on the team. The ideal leadership team is comprised of the driver who generates the ideas and insists on the results and the seller who will go out and promote the ideas and generate the enthusiasm and the team players who make certain that ideas are carried out and bring stability to the group and then finally the analyzers who make certain that key details are covered and that the project is done well. You need all four. There’s not one right and there’s not one wrong. Drivers, sellers, team players and analyzers, they complete the puzzle so you need to customize your style to their preferences. That creates your leadership choices of how you will communicate.
Emotional Intelligence is strengthened with practice and consciousness. The idea of communication diversity, creates an expanded playing field for the EQ leader and, in turn, creates a diverse customer service experience, stake-holder experience and employee experience. It pays dividends to customize your communication.
Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients.
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