Advertising
Advertising

Not A Communicative Person At Work? You Will Be After Reading This

Not A Communicative Person At Work? You Will Be After Reading This

Are you an effective communicator at work? If not, there’s no shame in admitting this, especially since there’s a lot that you can do about it. Even if you are simply hesistant about speaking up, you can actually add value by learning to become a more effective, engaged, and confident communicator using a few tried and true tips.

Consider the following five ways to hone your communication skills at work:

Advertising

1. Become a better listener

When people think about becoming a better communicator, listening is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. However, before you can raise your communication IQ, you must first learn to become a better listener. By listening in earnest to what others think, feel, and expect, you can learn to craft your message more effectively. Too often people dimiss this idea and simply focus on crafting responses to what others are saying, rather than listening with the intent to learn and connect more deeply.

2. Focus on connecting with others

We’re humans and by definition, “we’re meant to connect,” says Lucidity CEO and communication expert Michele Gilliam Morrissey. We need human interaction and for reasons that range from biology to sociology, connecting with others is what the survival of our species requires. Social media and technology may have revolutionized the way that we communicate and of course we may even enjoy them. However, they cannot replace the warm, intimate, and interactive conversations that have fueled our need to be connected.

Advertising

By focusing on connecting and developing rapport with others, you lay the foundation for trust, which allows you to communicate more effectively and capture the undivided attention of your audience.

3. Don’t be defensive

All great minds don’t necessarily think alike. And when they don’t, sometimes conflict can ensue. However, you can make the choice in advance not to become defensive and graciously allow others to express differing opinions without getting upset or lashing out. Also, because maintaining an open, positive, and collegial work environment is critical to supporting the lines of communication, being defensive is actually one of the least effective kinds of postures to assume. It also puts everyone else on edge, which is counterproductive.

Advertising

4. Begin with the end in mind

Every opportunity to communciate, is an opportunity to become more effective and achieve specific goals. Get clear on which goal you are trying to accomplish before you begin. It’s easy to get sidetracked once an conversational exchange begins, but if you know which points you need to cover – even if you have to write them down – then you will be far more successful than if you haphazardly muddle your way through the conversation.

Additionally, if you begin to run short on time, you have the option of tabling your point(s) until the next available opportunity without sacrificing the meat of the discussion. You will also feel like you are making progress because you are keenly focused on achieving specific outcomes.

Advertising

5. Step outside your comfort zone

Becoming a more effective communicator may require you to step outside of your comfort zone to become better. Maybe you are used to keeping quiet during critical discussions at work for fear that your ideas may be rejected. But why not begin to speak up and become part of needed solutions, instead of leaving them for others to solve?

Maybe you could benefit from communication training, but fear getting constructive feedback from others. If so, why not encourage yourself to be vulnerable and challenge yourself to grow for the greater good? Your ability to communicate will certainly improve and over time, the process won’t feel so uncomfortable, which is its own reward.

If you really want to become a more effective, engaged, and confident communicator at work, use thes five tips to hone your skills until you become better. Just like learning to walk, take one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be light years ahead of where you started.

Featured photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/businessman-working-on-the-digital-tablet-photo-p278067 via freedigitalphotos.net

More by this author

This Infographic Will Make You Realize It’s Never Too Late To Start Not A Communicative Person At Work? You Will Be After Reading This This Is Why Hard Work Is Not Essential to Achieving Success Relativity Can Tell Us A Lot About Productivity 20 Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn from Chefs

Trending in Work

1 5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You) 2 15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful 3 17 Best Careers Worth Going Back to School for at 40 4 Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor 5 Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Smart Ways to Be More Productive

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

    Advertising

    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

        Advertising

        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

        Advertising

        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

        Advertising

        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Read Next