Let’s talk about communication styles!
As leaders, it’s so important to know and understand your team’s communication style. How do they like to communicate? How do they process information? How do they make decisions?
When I’m communicating, I tend to process and react fast. In fact, I process as I’m speaking a lot of the time. My team has learned this about me, and they encourage me to talk through my thought process. They listen and learn as I think through things and process my thoughts aloud.
My communication style has been learned over time. Where I start versus where I end up can be very different when I process things verbally. Sometimes you need to hang on for the ride with me as I do that. Talking through my thought process can be great during my one-on-one meetings or in a group. Once people learn my communication style, they know how I think and process things.
I sometimes need to watch out when I am excited about an idea, and I want a quick reaction that tells me whether someone likes it. I call it a brainstorm or a brain fart: which was it? Give me your reaction! Sometimes if the person is slow to react, I can get frustrated. I’m excited about the idea and want to hear what they think. Since their communication style is different from mine, they’ve learned to push back and take time to process their thoughts.
I have learned who to go to for a quick reaction and who needs time to process information. Some people prefer that I communicate an idea to them, then walk away, let them think about it, and talk about it the next day.
Understanding communication styles is valuable in your personal life too! One of my sons needs time to process new ideas; he doesn’t just jump on them. While I sometimes get frustrated when someone doesn’t match my excitement, I’ve learned to understand different communication styles. Neither is better than the other, they’re just different. I don’t try to change others’ styles, and they don’t try to change mine.
When we understand different communication styles and give each other room to process things in our preferred ways, our collaboration is much better. We can get to the right ideas, solutions and takeaways.
I encourage you to better understand your team’s communication style, learning style and listening style. If you don’t know, then ask. It may seem like it slows things down at first, but like many things, sometimes you need to slow down to go faster later. Check it out and let me know what you think!