Good communication can be just as stimulating as coffee. And just like coffee, there are different brews of communication styles. Each one has a different feel and a unique flavor.
A quick look at legendary leaders and CXO’s – and how they interact with their world and their communication styles in the workplace- can give us an exciting trailer to the story.
For example, before each meeting, Amazon Hulk Jeff Bezos - quietly goes through exactly six pages (no more, no less) of Memo that has been specially prepared for the occasion with monk-like focus, a session of silence new hires may find positively uneasy.
Bill Gates of Microsoft will rock his chair during meetings – the amplitude of each swing is a direct function of his level of excitement and a good indication of his involvement in the proceedings
Mike Parker, CEO of Nike, keeps his brain balanced by splitting his notebook into two halves – one for scribbling alphabets and the other for doodling.
It’s his way of retaining balance and regaining sanity in the maze of hectic craze that is today’s work life. Oprah Winfrey’s genuine warmth – she takes an active interest in whoever she is interacting with – will not only charm you but inspire you.
Marissa Mayer – former CEO of Yahoo and famous investor – insists on personally meeting and approving every new hire. Soccer star Ronaldo scratches his invisible goatee after scoring big goals, implying that he – and not ‘the other chap’ from Argentina - is the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time).
Leadership communication styles at the workplace
Here are the examples of leadership communication styles that one must definitely know:
1. Be you. Be Communicating.
What each of these folks is doing – even if they may not be speaking or writing per se - is communicating by following his or her ‘signature template’ of vibe-ing with the environment through a mix of indicators, body language, and habits.
And each of these techniques is so effective because they are not trying to fit into a mold or ‘industry best practice of communication,’ despite simply trying to reach out spontaneously and genuinely to the other side.
They are just themselves – unabashedly and unapologetically. Their sincerity comes across in their spontaneity, and their personality leaves a lingering mark in our consciousness.
2. Communicate. Engage. Redo.
Communication is central to engaging the mind and soul, whether at home or the workplace. So what lessons do these leaders leave for us? How do we replicate their spark in our own life?
The answer is almost insanely logical and delightfully simple. If these leaders have become legends by refusing to succumb to trends and daring to be themselves (and stay that way even when eyebrows are raised or eyeballs are rolled), then that is precisely what we should do, too.
After all, our message is sharpest, clearest, and loudest when authentic. There are a few better ways to stay engaged and engage others – be it teammates, partners, or clients. This case is relevant whether you're leading virtual teams or meeting with clients in real life.
Types of communication styles in the workplace
To be yourself, you must know who you are. Like everything else in life, context helps build content.
So before you unlock the engaging powers of communication at the workplace, it will help to figure out your communication personality first so that you can map your way forward while keeping things loose and ‘in-the-moment’.
1. Are you an Enforcer?
These are proactive personalities who believe in taking charge of situations. They will set the tone, shape the narrative, and control the outcome. Their preferred communication style is usually shorn of embellishments, refreshingly direct and deliberately unambiguous. These are folks who mean business and don’t mince words.
While this ‘Napoleon-esque,’ leading-the-battlefield-from-the-front style can be a magnetic trait to possess and often inspire and stir an entire team to action, it is also an approach that can trample upon territories at times or ruffle a feather or two.
The trick here is to put oneself in the other’s shoes which can balance the equation by cranking up the empathy quotient, helping the enforcer see both sides of reality with clarity, and become a more well-rounded and mature communicator.
2. Are you an Enabler?
This is the friendliest tribe in the workplace (or outside of it). These are folks who are always championing the underdog, adopting a new idea, or generally cheering on the team morale – in a not-really-conscious way to enable desired outcomes. Expect plenty of Thumbs-ups, Victory signs, and pats-on-the-back from this group.
When it comes to communication, they are sensitive, patient, and accommodating, with a presence to grow on you. While this is an obvious asset, it isn’t without its flipside.
Left to their own devices, folks in this sub-set may sometimes appear too nosey or intrusive. They may even run the risk of ignoring their duties by devoting an excessive amount of time fixing others’ fires.
Finally, as a sensitive type, they are also prone to heartbreak when their positivity goes unanswered or ignored. Enablers are folks who need to continuously draw boundaries and make it a point to prioritize their KRA’s while keeping their inner glow going.
3. Are you an Integrator?
Say Hello! To the ‘Natural Born Delivery-Leads’ of your universe. Integrators make for excellent event organizers and project managers, holding the flock together and ensuring every nut and bolt of the jigsaw works to clock precision.
In terms of interaction with workers, here is a seasoned breed with a fine mastery over psychology that knows precisely how and when to nudge and poke along, controlling team morale (and performance, by extension) at will and orchestrating the show with the finesse of an orchestra conductor.
While their personality can range from reserved to gregarious to anything in between, in terms of communication, they may go for a measured approach – preferring to keep a hawk’s eye on the workflow (and save vocal energy for crunch situations) instead.
As a tip, this type must remember that the ship – manned as it is with talented souls - is capable of taking care of itself, and so it is perfectly ok to ‘let go’ and chill once in a while.
4. Are you a Guardian?
Shepherd, agony aunt-uncle and philosopher rolled into one, here lies the mentor and protector of the team (yes, nearly every team has one, at least in spirit). They will tend to be a bit on the senior side - with a load of experience as a treasure trove to dig out pearls of wisdom when it’s time to play the bonafide/pro-bono confidant, but frankly, this is a rule with plenty of exceptions.
Guardians tend to be warm, understanding, and mature – and generally have (or make) time for you. The reverse is equally valid, and you will come across those who have ‘crossed over to the dark side’ (to borrow a phrase from Star Wars), turning into draconian taskmasters and oppressive despots. In their defense, they will say (and probably believe it deep down, too) that they are merely doing it for the good of the brood and protecting their cause.
At their avuncular best, however, Guardians can have a calming and rejuvenating effect on the team that’s truly precious. Their communication technique - as all great forms of communication are - tends to reflect who they are and the moment they are in comforting, censuring, or inspiring, according to the company at hand.
5. Are you a Socialiser?
This bunch is the life of the party, and we all know our workplaces - albeit digitally distanced - need to party, perhaps more than ever, to stay happy and sane. Cordial, generous, and outgoing, the Socializers can often be the glue holding the team mojo together, spreading the sunshine of joy and thrill we all need to get by our routines.
With their colorful nature often finding its way into their behavior and speech, this is a group that will regale you with their unique storytelling style and fires you up with their infectious positivity.
If one were to nitpick, one could probably say that Socializers, like Enablers, have a ‘thing’ for overstepping their boundaries and barge into personal spaces (without meaning), given their naturally extroverted genes. That said, the latter remains a priceless quality for any organization, especially when change – and with it, confusion and ambiguity - seems to be the flavor of every season.
No matter what your communication style, it is important to cherish, nurture and celebrate it in your everyday moments of interaction with co-workers and teams.
Be it a perky Good Morning! to kick start the day, a simple Hello! to someone from another department, a warm Thank You! note to a colleague who covered for you when you had to leave early last week, a thoughtful nudge to remind someone about a looming deadline, a High-Five (preferably in full public view) that celebrates the potential of a new joinee or the contribution of an unsung hero from the barracks, or a fun game that lets the team compete over a target in the healthiest of intents, there is no better way to say “We’re in it together!” than keeping your channels of communication open, alive, and kicking!
Now that we are physically distanced, it’s natural to miss these magical ‘touch-points’ that once used to be de rigueur at the office, touching our hearts and souls. Transfer them seamlessly to your digital universe with Empuls, and you don’t have to miss a beat again.
Haven’t you tried it yet? It’s time to communicate with our team - in your style. Contact us now.