What is Communication?
Why is communication so important in workplaces?
Communication in its simplest definition, is the transmission and exchange of information from one point to another.
Good communication is crucial when it comes to leadership and teamwork and is a human (soft) skill that shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only does clear communication drive positive business growth, it also builds trust, workplace culture and motivates teams to strive toward common goals.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of poor communication or a negative communication style, you’ll understand how quickly it can affect projects, relationships and outcomes.
To better understand communication, we have identified the four main communication styles, and which style teams should use to their advantage.
The Four Main Styles of Communication
Which style should teams use?
While every team member is going to communicate differently, one communication style in particular is going to get the best out of people and projects.
Watch the video or keep reading to learn about these four styles.
Being a passive communicator isn’t going to get the most out of a team and can cause major issues. People who are passive tend to avoid expressing how they feel, dwell internally on difficult situations and (whether consciously or unconsciously) allow problems to grow without finding solutions.
Someone who adopts a passive communication style is usually a someone who:
• Allows others to infringe on their rights
• Apologises frequently
• Gets taken advantage of
• Is unable to find their voice
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of someone with a passive aggressive communication style, you’ll understand how quickly communication can break down – resulting in confusion and resentment.
People who adopt this style may appear ‘passive’ on the surface but harbour a lot of built-up aggression toward those around them.
The key characteristics of a passive aggressive communication style are:
• Use of sarcasm
• Procrastination on important tasks
• The silent treatment
• Sneaking back power in unhealthy ways
A passive aggressive communication style can lead to a toxic culture and quickly demotivate employees.
There is nothing passive about those who are aggressive. These brash communicators routinely upset team dynamics and tend to be known as ‘steam-rollers’. Those who lead with an aggressive style can easily put people offside – resulting in lack of respect, trust and disengaged team members.
An aggressive communicator is:
• Lacking in appreciation
• Overly critical and intimidating
• Capable of using humiliation to assert authority
When it comes to the ideal communication style for employee satisfaction, team growth and a thriving workplace culture, the assertive communication style is number one.
Someone who is an assertive communicator displays the below characteristics:
• Respects the rights of all parties
• Seeks a ‘win-win’ for all
• Is mindful of others
• Openly discusses issues
• Listens to others carefully
• Is honest about their feelings
Assertive communicators aren’t pushovers but they also aren’t interested in using bullying tactics to get what they want. Becoming an assertive communicator is all about finding your voice and being authentic.
How do we improve communication?
What can an organisation do to build communication skills in their leaders and teams?
Teams who are still honing their communication skills will make mistakes from time to time, defaulting to the style that comes easily to them.
Luckily, there are some easy check points to put in place. These check points help teams self-assess and return to an assertive communication style. This means they’ll continue to build positive workplace culture, strive for high-performance and keep the trust of others.
Team members who find themselves defaulting to a negative communication style can follow these three steps to get back on track:
1. Take a deep breath and a moment to pause
2. Look at all sides of the situation
3. Engage in an assertive communication style by listening, genuinely seeking the best for all involved, being honest, and speaking with respect and care.
Learn More on Human (Soft) Skills
At Thinka, we’ve made it our mission to successfully train employees in human skills, like communication, to bring about positive change in organisations right around Australia.
Keen to continue to learn about how human skills can help your organisation? Take a look at some other popular skills below.
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Want to delve a little deeper into human skills? We’ve created the ‘5 Essential Human Skills: Practical Guide for Teams’ to help you!