A World in Transition: Insights from Transition Hub – Communication Styles
Globally, the past several months have been a true test of our ability to communicate. We have spent more time with our families and loved ones than ever before and certainly more time communicating with our colleagues via Zoom, phone and email than we could ever have imagined. Throughout all of this change, we have had to develop new levels of acceptance, tolerance and flexibility.
As a leader, the strength of your relationship with others leans heavily on the effectiveness of your communication skills. They are the backbone of your professional success. Adapting to new communication platforms has been hard enough, but the true skill of a leader is being able to adapt to the communication styles of those we interact with and lead.
Self-insight is certainly the starting point, as we need to be aware of our own motivations and preferences before we can understand those of others. For example, if you are a big picture ideas person, you are going to struggle to lead a team of detail-oriented technical staff without a willingness to communicate in a way that may not feel entirely natural to you, but makes others feel at ease.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about becoming a chameleon, but rather being comfortable enough in your own skin that you can give others what they need.
This is quite an advanced communication skill that is easier to understand intellectually than to do in practice. Typically, when we are under pressure we revert to what makes us feel most comfortable often exacerbating the gap between us and the very people we are trying to influence or build a relationship with.
This is a topic we discuss openly in our ‘Reimagine Your Future’ foundation week, which brings together diverse cohorts of up to 30 people. The wonderful thing about that is sharing perspectives on the way we like to give and receive information and fundamentally, what makes us tick. Sometimes our greatest strength in one environment can become our greatest weakness in another and our most endearing quality can become annoying if overplayed!
With greater understanding comes trust and connection and by Day 5 we see sincere bonds and engagement between our participants and with their coaches. This openness is facilitated by an exploration early in the week of four key communication styles that shape our work and personal lives.
Many of the leadership communication assessment tools on the market originate from the pioneering work of psychoanalyst, Carl Jung. At Transition Hub, we explore a simple four-quadrant model based on an Introvert/Extrovert axis and Feeling/Thinking axis to help people understand their preferences and those of others.
CONCEPTOR (Extrovert/Feeling): A big picture ‘ideas person’ who is intuitive, energetic and visionary.
CONCILIATOR (Introvert/Feeling): A kind-hearted ‘people person’ who values relationships, trust and consensus.
DELIBERATOR (Introvert/Thinking): A ‘methodical person’ who enjoys the rational objectivity of facts and data.
DRIVER (Extrovert/Thinking): A ‘determined person’ who strives to make an impact and achieve results.
Whilst not an exhaustive diagnostic, most people identify with a preferred style in this matrix. Our goal is certainly not to put people into boxes, as we often display traits from more than one communication style and good leadership demands it, but we generally have one style that we would say is our ‘dominant’ or ‘natural’ style. Simply put, it’s the one we feel most comfortable with.
It is true that uncovering our modes and motivations when communicating dives into our view of the world and how we perceive others, so a grounded understanding of how and why we share our thoughts, ideas and feelings will guide you across any career, and provide a base to return to when negotiations become tricky, or when it comes time for you to step into the spotlight and lead others.
Our focus at Transition Hub is to help people develop their human skills (otherwise known as ‘soft’ or ‘social skills’) as the future of work will demand more of us, as people, when process roles become automated. So, the demand for well-honed communication skills is only set to soar.
Director & author bio: A gifted writer, facilitator, coach and co-founder of Transition Hub, Karen Thomas works with our clients to develop global transformation programs, crafting meaningful messages into positive training experiences. As a co-founder and Director of Transition Hub, Karen has created our signature playbook and coach training methodology.