Understanding Employee Communication Styles

One size does not fit all with respect to employee receptiveness with corporate and team communication. Different styles of communication have their pros and cons, and each style interacts and plays out differently in their engagements with others. Styles are portrayed through verbal, visual and written communications. while some aspects of communication styles are effective, other styles may be more likely to create disconnects, alienate, or create confusion for those interacting. 

There are four common communication styles. The controller, the promoter, the analyzer, and the supporter. Each style is unique to itself, with differing characteristics. Seeing people through their communication styles is an important skill that either promote productivity or cause conflict. 

There are four common communication styles. The controller, the promoter, the analyzer, and the supporter. Each style is unique to itself, with differing characteristics. Seeing people through their communication styles is an important skill. Understanding communication styles of coworkers is useful for all levels of employees, but especially for managers who assign teams and tasks. Being aware of ones own communication style and the style of those around them can either promote productivity or cause conflict. 

1. The Controller: this style of communication is very direct. They are often viewed as aggressive, assertive or bossy, when in fact, this communicator is very goal oriented and determined to meet objectives and deadlines. Characterized as being motivated and dedicated, the ‘controller’ will spend as much time as necessary on a project until it meets their standards. A conversation with a controller should be short, sweet and to the point, avoiding unnecessary information and details and covering only the important factors. When communicating with a controller, you’ll likely spend time figuring things out on your own as you go. They are not likely to to explain in detail to you either when assigning a project or task. 

2. The Analyzer: Opposite of the controller is the analyzer communicator. The analyzer is very organized, thoughtful, and of course analytical as implied by the style name.  This communicator loves the small details and the big facts as well, and prefers to have all the information before embarking on a task or project which, for other communication styles in the group who prefer to dive in and move forward, may be frustrating. They ask a lot of questions with the goal of understanding. When working with an analyzer, it’s important to present all facts and details outlined and be able to answer the variety of questions they will likely throw at you. Asking of questions doesn’t mean they don’t believe what you’re saying or believe in your idea, this type of communicator wants to understand all angles. When receiving information from an analyzer, you will be presented with all the details as well as the big picture. 

3. The Promoter: This style communicator is very open, honest, and easily approachable. They take a very people-driven, experience oriented approach to their work and might be viewed as the social butterfly in the office. The promoter is passionate, very engaging and prefers to deliver a personal message when they share with audiences and is always willing to offer additional information or help in any way that they can. This type of communicator loves to share stories and to ask questions about whom they’re speaking with. Though very enthusiastic, they can be easily sidetracked during conversations, jumping from one topic to the next. When working with or talking to a promoter, it’s important to have strategy to steer them back to the topic of which you went to them for an answer. 

4. The Supporter: This style of communicator has great interpersonal communication skills. They can be characterized as calm and cool and they are often well-liked both within the office environment and outside of it. 

  • Supporters excel at conflict-resolution as they are usually extremely level-headed. They are great listeners and many go to them with problems and concerns.
  • They are well-liked by most people.

When interacting with a supporter in the workplace, expect someone who is easy-going and easy to approach. They are very open and welcoming, but it’s good not to be too extreme in your approach. They require a kind of communication that falls in between high-context communication and low-context communication. Start slow when getting to know them and expect trust to be earned step-by-step. Supporters are very reliable and efficient so don’t over-explain or undermine their intelligence. Talk to them like you’d talk to a new friend — being hesitant with personal stories but open to casual conversation.

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