Communication is one of the most important skills for any individual. Good communication skills can help you create meaningful relationships with the people around you, but it can also help you advance in your career. This skill is particularly important for people who are in leadership positions such as managers, team leaders or supervisors. If you have or you are aiming for such a job, it is important to acknowledge your individual communication style, and learn how to improve it. Although communication can take several shapes, there are 4 distinct communication styles that actually matter: direct, spirited, considerate, or systematic. In the following lines, we will discuss the main characteristics of each type of communication, and we will teach you how to recognize and enhance your own style.
Understand the 4 major types of communication
Some communication styles are more effective than others, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a right or wrong way to communicate. It can be very difficult to change your style, so a quicker way to improve your relations with other people is to make the most of your individual style. Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each style.
o The direct style
Direct communicators are highly in control of their lives, they are very assertive and they are the type of people that thrive on competition. When it comes to their goals, direct communicators tend to be very single-minded and fast paced, and they live for the win. This makes them great leaders as they will do everything in their power to get things done.
Strengths: straight to the point, bold, confident
Weaknesses: poor listener, can seem intimidating for shy people
o The spirited style
Spirited communicators are very friendly and enthusiastic. They are always the heart of a party, the type of people that always have a good story to tell. Their lively and optimistic nature helps them motivate other people and generate an overall sense of excitement. They build relationships quickly, and their use these relationships to get things done at work and in life. Due to their energy, they enjoy working at a fast pace and they make excellent leaders.
Strengths: enthusiastic, friendly and easy to talk to
Weaknesses: doesn’t focus on details, can seem cluttered and irresponsible at times
o The considerate style
The considerate communicators are always perceived as warm and caring people. Although they are not as quick to make friends as the spirited communicators, when they do make friends, those friendships will last a lifetime. They are very cooperative and they have an excellent team spirit.
Strengths: cooperative, good listener, good counselling skills, great team spirit
Weaknesses: doesn’t offer opinions, works at a slower pace, doesn’t delegate well and has trouble taking decisions.
o The systematic style
With an analytical mind and great problem-solving skills, systematic communicators make decisions based on facts, they are highly accurate and enjoy working with clear guidelines. They rely heavily on themselves, so they excel when they have to do independent work.
Strengths: precise, objective, controlled, organized
Weaknesses: not good at delegating, poor team spirit
How to recognize your own style
Based on the characteristics of each style, you should have a general idea of the style that best defines you. You may even be a combination between several styles. To be clear on what you stand, we advise you to take a communication styles assessment test. The one from HDQR is the most accurate one. It takes only 10 minutes to complete, and it takes into account both verbal and nonverbal factors. The test will also teach you how to flex your style, in order to improve your communication. By understanding both the weaknesses and the strengths of your style, you will be able to adapt your communication in different situations and according to different people. No style is either right or wrong, but each of them has both strengths and weaknesses that can bring advantages and disadvantages in different situations.