A person's communication style is heavily influenced by their personality and the way they learn. Learning what style you lean toward can be an insightful tool to improve your performance at work. There are four common communication styles: analytical, intuitive, functional and personal1. Each communication style exhibits strengths and weaknesses, and there are certain communication styles that conflict with one another. When looking to fill a critical department position, it’s important to reflect on the current communication dynamics within your workplace and to evaluate who would work well together and what pieces are missing to create a more well-rounded team.
Here’s a breakdown of the various communication styles and their respective benefits and hindrances.
An analytical communicator thinks of everything in data and numbers. It’s not enough to tell them that yesterday was a great day for sales; they need the facts! What was our margin? Did we hit budget? This communicator is data-driven and doesn’t like to mix personal feelings with their professional life. Their communication with their employees is very no-nonsense.
An analytical communicator is great with the financial and data-driven side of running a business. Because the analytical communicator thrives on seeing the data to evaluate their productivity, they tend to have excellent time management skills.
The negative side of being analytical is people can often read these type of communicators as unapproachable, short or cold. Because involving emotions around work can leave them annoyed or unfocused, analytical communicators might have a harder time expressing an employee’s value to the business. For this reason, they might have a rough time working with personal communicators, those who feel more comfortable speaking with others, but we will touch on that next.
Personal communicators like to talk things out with their coworkers and clients. It is important for them to mix emotions into their work process. They will use language when they are describing their work like, “I feel good about this product launch.” If you’re a personal communicator, or working with one, it’s important to realise your level of connection with others at work is how you best understand your work environment.
Employees tend to find personal communicators very approachable, making it easier to address problems right when they come up. Evaluating the emotional tone around them, a personal communicator has the ability to easily pick up on people’s moods. They tend to support a communal atmosphere in the workplace and are the glue that holds together the majority of social situations.
The negative side of being a personal communicator is that some people don’t respond well to being that open or emotional with their coworkers. This is generally an analytical communicator, but it may also fall under some of the other communication styles as well. When you mix work with emotions, it can tend to disrupt the workplace dynamic.
An intuitive communicator pays attention to the “big picture” and may not be as concerned about the fine print details that it takes to get there. They don’t want to read the book; they want to get the summary, the broad outline of the plan. The intuitive communicator takes an idea and runs with it. As a result, they need creative space to try out-of-the-box ideas. These communicators are innovators who enjoy an energetic tone in the workplace.
The intuitive communicator doesn’t get bogged down with all the facts and is quick on their feet. People enjoy working with them, because they are very spirited about what they work on. Someone with an intuitive communication style rarely lacks creativity in their work and moves through projects at a quick pace.
Sometimes, business requires you to handle the fine lines and details, especially when it comes to finances, which can be a problem for intuitive communicators. An intuitive communicator would partner well with a functional communicator, who thrives on working in a systematic fashion. However, it’s often hard for this partnership to be successful, because their technical approaches tend to cause inner conflict.
Functional communicators thrive on the process of how assignments are executed. Everything has a well thought-out plan and a step-by-step way to get there. The details and the development sequence are an essential part of how functional communicators operate.
Functional communicators rarely forget or overlook a detail within a company, because they like knowing and organizing all the information into a strategic road map. The functional communicator is known for leaning on spreadsheets or outlines and staying on a strict schedule. Since they enjoy structure and planning, others will look to them as the person with all the answers.
The negative side of being a functional communicator is that they tend to get caught up in the facts and become frustrated when things become unorganized. In many cases, business doesn’t work according to plan, and a go-with-the-flow attitude is needed to adapt to the necessary changes of a business plan. The functional communicator would benefit from partnering with the “big picture” perspective of intuitive communicators.