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Warning Signs that Your Communication Style is Working Against You

Posted by Louellen Essex on September 4, 2014 in Communication, Leadership

  • Every leader has a preferred mode of communication that works well in many situations, while missing the mark in others. Both sending and receiving messages can be inhibited if the communicator is unaware of blind spots that create interference. Use the guidelines below to identify your communication style and be attuned to the warning signs when it’s working against you.

Analytical and cautious, the Thinker communicates with precision, imbedding details into a carefully thought-out message. When listening, the Thinker asks many questions to understand the content of the message as completely as possible. Thinkers are slow to respond, carefully contemplating an answer before saying anything.
Warning Signs: If this is your style, become aware of the indicators that you may be going into more depth than others want to hear. Notice fidgeting, loss of attention, or interruptions aimed to encourage you to hurry up. You may get blank stares when your audience is on overload!

Quick and decisive, the Doer communicates efficiently, getting straight to the point. When listening, the Doer searches for the key ideas to understand the essence of the message. Doers are quick to respond, eager to accelerate a conversation.
Warning Signs: If this is your style, you may find that some of your communication is misunderstood or unclear because receivers need more information than you have provided. Take note when many questions are asked, or directions are misunderstood. Be aware that your quick pace may be stifling communication, creating less interaction than you want, particularly when others need more time to respond.

Concerned with interpersonal relationships, Feelers are tuned into the emotional tone of their messages and the responses they are creating. They strive to craft a message that takes the needs and feelings of others into account. Feelers listen attentively with empathy and take time to fully understand what was said. They work hard to be inclusive of others’ views in decision-making, collecting information from those affected.
Warning Signs: If this is your style, be aware that too much focus on ensuring everyone’s input is taken into account can make it seem you are ignoring the business aspects of the situation. Notice when you are getting pushback about the facts and logic involved in the situation. If your message is perceived as too soft, recognize that others may fault you for avoiding to fully communicate a tough message.

Energetic and enthusiastic, Intuitors communicate with zeal, drawing others in through the excitement of their message tone. They are passionate about their views, yet eager to hear what the listener has to say. Always looking for the positive and creative aspect of the interaction, they are good integrators of different points of view.
Warning Signs: If this is your style, recognize when your energy is overwhelming! Others may back off when they perceive your approach as too high-strung. Notice when it seems you are not being taken seriously. Be aware of the non-verbal communication of others when they appear a little annoyed or unresponsive to your vigor.

Learn to astutely read the warning signs associated with your communication style. Your effectiveness will increase as you modify your approach to create better balance between you and those with whom you are communicating. Make your communication style work for you, not against you.

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In these times of rapid change, leaders can never stop learning.”

Dr. Louellen Essex