13 Ways to Improve Your Communications Based on Behavior Styles

Have you ever had a supervisor, colleague, or family member that you just didn’t “get?” No matter how much you tried, it seemed your words were falling on deaf ears? Getting along turned out to be completely impossible?

We’ve all experienced it – and we’ll continue to as long as we walk this Earth. The top reason people don’t get along? Ineffective communication, which, as your experience can tell you, leads to conflict, frustration, disengagement, low productivity, and high turnover.

Ineffective communication is only a symptom of the underlying condition, which is a lack of understanding of others. This happens to everyone! We think we might “get” someone, but our experiences, judgments, and getting pigeon-holed into one role easily cloud our ability to truly understand.

The solution is rather straightforward: Understand behavior styles of ourselves and of others and build our emotional intelligence.

It’s important to point out that there is no right or wrong behavior style. Being aggressive can come in handy, just as being friendly can be a detriment.

Back in the 1930s, Dr. William Marston recognized and documented four behavior styles, called DISC. Here’s the four areas – and how best to communicate with people who exhibit these behaviors.

Driver: Type A

Main characteristics: Forceful, direct, results-oriented; can be viewed as egotistical and abrasive. This person thrives on tough challenges, is energized by change, and cannot be pushed around.

How to communicate: Be clear and specific; get to the point; don’t ramble; give them options.

Influencer: People-person

Main characteristics: Optimistic, fun, talkative, and friendly; can be viewed as poor listeners, self-promoting, and scattered. This person is great at networking, promoting ideas, making connections, and spreading messages far and wide.

How to communicate: Be warm and friendly; ask “feeling” questions; avoid details and being blunt

Steady: Easy-going

Main characteristics: Patient, diplomatic, relaxed, works on one thing at a time, loyal, and calm; can be viewed as hesitant, stubborn, indecisive, and very sensitive. This person is very good at project and program management.

How to communicate: Present your case with patience; ask “why” questions; give them time to think and respond; don’t dominate or demand.

Careful: Detail-oriented

Main characteristics: Logical, meticulous, skeptical, only trusts facts, accurate and possibly a perfectionist; can be viewed as pessimistic, cold, distant (needs lots of personal space), picky, hard to please. This person is the quintessential engineer or scientist.

How to communicate: Stick to facts; be accurate and organized

Now that you’ve read through the four DISC behavior styles, you likely picked out your prominent and secondary styles. Think about the people in your life you just don’t “get.” What is their primary behavior style? How can you better communicate with them?

If you want to have your team take an assessment and learn more about communicating more effectively with each other contact us.  We guarantee increased efficiency and productivity within your team.

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