As a leader, I find communication skills rank near the top of our list of important skills. Because of their importance, these skills are talked about and written about a lot. Since communication breakdowns cause almost 80% of problems in the workplace a good deal of training takes place every day, designed to help leaders get better at these important skills.
One of the reasons communication is difficult is that not everyone communicates in the same way, with the same tendencies or styles. This isn’t news; you already knew that.
Let’s start from the beginning – communication is a message sent and message received. For real communication to take place, one must send a message in a way that it can be (and is) received effectively by the other person (exactly as we meant it). When we remember this basic starting point, we have the basis to understand the biggest value in communication and personality styles.
To best understand true styles and types of people you must use a scientific process. Opinions and fun quizzes that tell you which animal you are like, do not always cut it. Make sure if you choose to use an assessment, that it is the right choice for you, including the person facilitating this process, your coach.
Whatever tool/assessment you use, the greatest value comes not in understanding your own tendencies, though that is helpful. The greatest value comes from understanding the various styles well enough that you notice them in others so that you can communicate with them in a way that makes it easier for your message to get received.
As in so many things in life (and leadership), we have greater success when we recognize and remember that it isn’t about us at all. Understanding how others think and perceive you can be the most valuable tool in your professional tool box.
If you want to be a better communicator, by all means, use a communication styles tool for self-awareness, but don’t stop there. Use the tool to help you understand, observe, and diagnose the styles of others so that you can change your behavior to get your message received.
While this is simple for me to state here, it is much more challenging in application.
Whatever your first step, take one. Take action today to learn more about how others communicate, so that you have a better chance of getting your message received.
Your leadership success depends on it.
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