Guide to Interpersonal Communication Skills at Work

Posted by Susan Cullen on 13 Nov 2013

Guide to Interpersonal Communiction Skills at Work - 2017.pngWe are not all the same and we don’t all approach things the same way. When you learn about behavioral styles, the end result is that you can better lead people and realize what motivates them as unique individuals.

Research shows that 85% of team struggles are due to interpersonal issues.   This is largely due to interpersonal and behavioral style differences.  We each have different preferred approaches to work.

So lets break down the different styles to see what the strengths and weaknesses are for each, here are the styles:

D – Dominant

I – Influencing

S – Steadiness

C - Conscientious

Dominant (D) Style Characteristics

The dominant style or (D Style) their goal is to get results, they tend to be fast paced. You can see a lot of progress around them. They get frustrated if there are a lot of obstacles in their way. They tend to go over, around and through to accomplish their goal.

Their de-motivator is loss of control or lack of control. For example, bureaucracy to get things done, micromanaging, anything that is an obstacle in their path that slows them down.

It is good to have “D’s” on a team because they will challenge the status quo. They are good at bringing progress and moving things along.

Working with the “D” Style

When working with a D Style they want you to be like them, no matter what your style is. The best analogy I can give is going to another country – speak their language. We will not be effective if we don’t speak their language (never lose your native tongue or style), but you adapt to their style and needs. It is one of the best ways to honor and respect them.>

To be like the D style – don’t waste time, ask their input, they are good problem solvers. Let them have some control and insight. Don’t micromanage or set up obstacles.

Influencing (I) Style Characteristics

The influencing style or (I Style) their goal is to have a positive interaction with people. They are very people oriented. The energy they create tends to make them persuasive. They are your best talker.

Their de-motivator is to be rejected or to not be liked, if people are negative. So if you know that there is an I style on your team they may be looking for that affirmation.

It is good to have “I’s” on a team because they bring positive enthusiasm and energy to a team. They use levity and humor to get their point across.

Working with the “I” Style

When working with the “I” style use humor, levity and enthusiasm. Mirror their enthusiasm and optimism. Let them know you like them and value the relationship, even if you disagree.

Steadiness (S) Style Characteristics

The steadiness style or (S Style) their goal is to have harmony. They are also people oriented like the I style, but they are more slower paced. If the I style is your best talker, the S style is your best listener. They truly want to be thoughtful and helpful

Their de-motivator is chaos, direct conflict and confusion.

The S style is the glue of the team, they are good at keeping the harmony amongst the group.

Working with the “S” Style

When working with the “S” style be consistent and reliable, they are people oriented. Sincere praise and compliments. They are motivated on how to be helpful and want to depend on you as well. They are demotivated by conflict.

Conscientious (C) Style Characteristics

The conscientious style or (C Style) their goal is accurate work. They focus on accuracy and quality, very analytical, focus on the details others would miss. They are more moderate paced. The standards they set for themselves are even higher than the organization has for them.

Their de-motivator is criticism, more specifically of their work. So broad sweeping, unfounded generalizations criticizing their work, making errors, or others not paying attention to the details, not giving them the information they need to do a quality job. Also, giving them enough time to analyze things.

A challenge they have is that they are critical thinkers and in general can be more critical of an idea. They pick up the finer details others miss. They are the detail people that keep the non-detailed people out of trouble….they can help avoid lawsuits for example.

Working with the “C” Style

When working with the “C” style have details prepared, reserve emotion, and focus on the facts. Don’t rush them if not necessary, but let them know the deadline.

Identifying the styles of other people doesn’t have to be hard. You can basically ask yourself these two questions:

Think of Accepting/Warm as basically People Oriented and
Questioning/Skeptical as basically Task Oriented.

You can quickly identify the style of a team member by asking two simple questions. Is he/she more fast-paced and task focused or is he/she more deliberate/slower-paced and people oriented.

You’ll remember that:

D Style: Fast-paced and Questioning. Key goal is to get results. Interested in the bottom line.

I Style: Fast-paced, Accepting and Warm. Key goal is to have positive interactions with people.

S Style: More reflective but also Accepting and Warm. Key goal is to have things run smoothly in a harmonious way.

C Style: Reflective and also Questioning. Key goal is that their work is accurate.

More Information

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Topics: Personality Styles

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