To say that good communication in the workplace affects the financial bottom line is a serious understatement. In a recent survey of 400 companies with 100,000+ employees, the average estimated loss per company from poor internal communications was $62.4 million. The communication challenges facing small businesses with smaller teams may not be as complex or costly as an international corporation, but they can be equally detrimental to the health and overall success of the company.
Analytical Communicators are often categorized as chart-loving, data-driven people. They frequently focus on facts and projections, love citing figures and statistics, and tend to rely on data-driven decision-making. Conversely, they can get frustrated if they feel that someone on their team is making decisions without a good handle on the numbers.
- Pros: Analytical Communicators provide solid ground for their colleagues in stressful situations as they can help make decisions using research, facts, and logic.
- Cons: Analytical Communicators’ reliance on facts and statistics can be seen as “heartless” by colleagues who focus on emotion or intuition.
Intuitive Communicators are big thinkers who tend to want the bottom line first, without a lot of detail. Having to listen to someone review their step-by-step processcan feel unnecessary.
- Pros: Intuitive Communicators can be very efficient since they look for the most important points first. Their own communications are usually quick and focused. They tend to enjoy new challenges and creative “big picture” thinking, so they are ideal candidates for brainstorming sessions.
- Cons: Some situations require getting down into the weeds and really understanding the details. For example, Intuitive Communicators may miss key points unless they are provided with regular summaries to keep them on board.
Functional Communicators are process people. They like to break large tasks into smaller tasks, and love timelines, whiteboards, and ‘gantt’ charts.
- Pros: Functional Communicators make amazing project managers because they tend to pay attention to details and are good at making sure nothing slips through the cracks. They can also help keep staff on track by doing the grunt work of planning and charting. Functional Communicators are also great for challenging assumptions and can help a team think about the impact of different choices going forward.
- Cons: The downside of being a Functional Communicator is that those who do not think this way can sometimes be bored by what you want to talk about. Getting into the tiny details of a project can risk losing attention.
Personal Communicators are the glue that holds the office’s social and emotional life together. They place a high value on feelings and emotional connection, and use their strong interpersonal skills to understand what others are “really thinking.” They know that getting buy-in and collaboration requires trust, and trust is built on emotion rather than facts.
- Pros: Personal Communicators are the office diplomats, often called on to help smooth tensions. Their contributions can range from helping convey different, big ideas in varying manners, to resolving tensions about some of the small yet irksome workplace things, such as how the communal fridge is managed.
- Cons: Personal Communicators can sometimes seem over-emotional, or “touchy-feely.” This is especially apparent to those who are less in tune with emotions, or who may choose to maintain a more buttoned-up demeanor at work.
Each communication style brings unique skills and challenges to an office environment. By understanding your style and the styles of those around you, you can remove many of the roadblocks clogging the communication channels that your small business must rely on to succeed.