Communication Styles in the Workplace and How to Navigate Them


Understanding how communication styles in the workplace function will help business owners to optimize their bottom line.

Why Effective Communication Matters

Effective communication is a building block of a successful and lasting business. Benefits of effective communication include-

  1. Less Conflict- Proper communication will decrease miscommunications that may develop into larger issues. For miscommunications that have already occurred, effective communication can make sure human resources can address and resolve conflict. Conflict resolution works best if all concerned individuals feel validated and everyone can work collaboratively to determine a mutually beneficial solution.

  2. Promotes team work- Accountability is benefited when team members can rely on one another. Team-building exercises can help to develop and maintain effective communication systems. A company culture of team work will positively impact your entire business's bottom line.

    Effective communication helps team members better understand both their individual responsibilities as well as their team members. Clearly stated expectations reduce confusion, provide direction, and decrease both conflict and errors from occuring. Set effective communication protocol lessens communication gaps while increasing team-building potential.

  3. Streamlines productivity- When business professionals consciously and consistently avoid communications that are not directly correlated with duties or important deadlines, everyone can be better focused on their workload. Business professionals should try to share only pertinent information with one another on as timely of a basis possible.

  4. More satisfied and happier employees- Make sure you offer your employees support, by continually asking about successes, missteps, and difficulties they are experiencing. Inquiring about and acknowledging employee feedback shows your employees that you value their opinions and care about their happiness. When everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, everyone will feel more satisfied and happier while at work.

  5. Uniform information- Make sure everyone within your business's internal operations is on the same page. Doing so will increase the probability of consistent external communications with people outside your organization, whether that be shareholders or clients.

    Employees that receive different information are more likely to miscommunicate, both internally and externally. An organized, unified business is much more effective, efficient, and productive.

  6. Better management- Ineffective management communication corrodes a company from the inside out and produces a trickle-down effect that can negatively impact anyone involved in your business's supply chain. Management that exhibits strong communication skills serves as an example for their employees. Lead by example, make sure that employees feel comfortable and empowered to speak up for themselves and others when they see ways that your business could be doing better.

In order to optimize workplace communication, business professionals must consider that there are many communication styles in the workplace.

The Four Different Types of Communication Styles

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There are four different types of communication styles in the workplace that business professionals should make themselves familiar with. These styles are as follows-

1. Aggressive communication style- Aggressive communicators have no problem expressing their opinions. Unfortunately, their aggressiveness can take away from others ability to contribute. Aggressive communication styles can intimidate, off-put, or upset employees with other communication styles. Some physical indications that someone is a aggressive communicator may include-

  • Disregard for personal space
  • Aggressive body language
  • Smirking
  • Intense or overbearing eye contact
  • Loud voice
The most effective way to interact with an aggressive communicator is to confidently but calmly get the information that you need to them. When you are interacting, make sure you stay composed and walk away if the conversation is not productive.

2. Passive communication style- People with the passive communication style are likely quiet and to themselves. Some physical indications that someone is a passive communicator may include-

  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Overly apologetic
  • Restless
  • Poor posture
  • Quiet voice
The most effective way to interact with a passive communicator is to take a direct and one-on-one approach. When you are interacting, make sure you are patient and provide them with ample time to properly respond.

3. Passive-aggressive communication style- People with the passive-aggressive communication style often have a disconnect between their aggressive actions and their passive words. Some physical indications that someone is a passive-aggressive communicator may include-

  • Excessive sarcasm
  • Inappropriate facial expressions
  • Stand-off ish
  • Mumbling or murmuring
The most effective way to interact with a passive-aggressive communicator is to take a direct and one-on-one approach. When you are interacting, make sure you ask for clarification and clearly state your needs and wants.

4. Assertive communication style- People with an assertive communication style are typically respectful and effective communicators. They get their message across while still being conscious of others needs in the conversation. Some physical indications that someone is an assertive communicator may include-

  • Unintimidating eye contact
  • Appropriate body language
  • Straight posture
  • Confident and clear voice
The most effective way to interact with an assertive communicator is to amplify their power and employ their talents to help navigate the other communication styles present in your work force. These communicators make great leaders and mediators and are a valuable asset to any business.

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