Being able to communicate with your team can mean the difference between success and failure.
And the larger the team, the harder it can be to effectively communicate.
This is because not everyone within your organization is receptive to the same types of communication, especially when you consider that one of the most famous personalities assessment tests — Myers Briggs — is made up of 16 different types of personalities.
Today we focus on a simplified version of Myers-Briggs, known as the “5 Voices”.
Created by Steve Cockrum, the 5 Voices condenses the 16 personality types of Myers-Briggs into the following categories: the Nurturer, Creator, Guardian, Connector, Pioneer.
We’ll break down the characteristics of each of these personalities, as well as the best way to work with them.
But first, let’s talk about why effective communication in the workplace is essential to your success.
Throughout an organization, being able to speak with one another to relay messages, tasks, deadlines, and more is necessary if you want your business to thrive.
Good communication helps build stronger teams that are confident in speaking up and voicing concerns or asking for assistance when needed. But perhaps the most important benefit of good communication is that it can prevent misunderstandings.
When tasks are misinterpreted, you’ll not only spend time remedying the situation, but you may end up losing a client or business due to a mistake that could have easily been avoided.
Some, probably most, of your employees have fantastic, innovative ideas. By creating a culture and environment where communication is encouraged, you’ll be able to ensure that those ideas are heard.
Overall, a workplace that has mastered the art of communication throughout the organization is one that will continue to grow and thrive long term.
That said, here is the first of the 5 Voices you’ll find in your employees — the Nurturer.
The nurturer makes up 43% of the population, according to Cockrum, so there is a good chance that you have multiple nurturers in your midst.
The distinctive characteristic that makes people with this personality type unique is that they really seem to understand people. They know how their coworkers will react to change, and therefore are great people to have in big-picture meetings.
However, they do not like to disagree with others, so they are not necessarily the best people to go to if you’re looking for constructive criticism or situations requiring confrontation.
Nurturers are pretty easy to communicate with overall, as they tend to be responsive because they recognize the importance of getting back to people quickly.
In an article by Paul Smith, a professional speaker and business storyteller, Cockrum says that if you want to make sure that Nurturers are included in conversations and meetings, allow them the opportunity to speak first — as they may not speak up later on in the discussion for fear of opposing anyone.
Nurturers can also be branded as the “logic over emotion” personality when it comes to change. This is because they want to know that there will be an actual benefit to new ideas and strategies.
For example, changing your service offering solely because a competitor is doing the same isn’t a sound enough reason if you want nurturers to get on board.
Instead, show how this change in strategy will improve the business overall, as well as your customers (i.e. “We believe this will increase your engagement and revenue.”, or “We see this as an opportunity to expand our offering and include something our core customers really want.”)
Creators have one of the same characteristics as nurturers, in that they don’t like to disagree with others on a team.
So, Cockrum once again says that Creators should be included early on in meetings if you want to hear what they have to say.
Creators have a gift for anticipating what may happen in the future based on current circumstances. As forward-thinking individuals, they are the key to the steady progression of your business.
One-on-one meetings with creatives is a great way to get them to share ideas and opportunities that they see, as they may be hesitant at times to speak up unless prompted to do so.
Creators are always looking for ways to improve systems and processes, so it’s important to make sure that their voice is heard.
Checking in on them every now and then or having weekly meetings with your top creators can help bring forth bold, but successful new strategies. Overall, if you want them to participate, ask them questions to draw out their ideas.
When talking with Guardians, it’s important to be clear and to use logic — in this way they are similar to nurturers.
This also leads them to be known as the devil’s advocate within teams. This isn’t out of spite, however, as they just want to ensure that the company is on the right track.
This characteristic also makes them great at implementing ideas that they truly believe in.
If you need to get something done fast, Guardians are a great resource for those crunch-time moments.
However, because the are naturally skeptical, it may take some time to get them on board with specific ideas. In order to speed up this process, make sure you understand their concerns and why they feel the way they do. Then, make sure you address these concerns carefully and with detail.
Along with that, they are great resources to run plans and strategies by before approval, as they will go over it with a fine-toothed comb.
Connectors are usually fairly vocal on their own and are considered to be the life of the party and the ones who help create the fun culture at work.
They are excellent when it comes to collaboration, so if you want to help facilitate communication that involves your Connectors, let them work in teams and invite them to as many meetings as possible.
Cockrum says they make-up 11% of the population, so make sure to place the ones you have in positions that allow them to thrive (They can typically be found in sales and marketing roles).
Pioneers are scarce — making up about 7% of the entire population.
However, they allegedly make up 50% of CEO roles. Pioneers have a knack for managerial roles and working their way through the system to leadership positions.
Like connectors, pioneers are pretty vocal and like to speak up. However, Cockrum says that the best way for them to communicate is to hold off until others have chimed in. Otherwise, they run the risk of taking over meetings and excluding others.
At the end of the day, one of the most important things you can do to help keep a healthy flow of communication throughout your organization is to make sure your employees feel valued.
Hostile work environments are unproductive work environments.
No one responds well to harsh criticisms and anger. Mistakes are made all the time in the workplace. The key to fixing them is to be considerate and well-meaning in your critiques.
People want chances to learn from their mistakes and all five of these personality types will respond well to being given the chance to do just that.
There is definitely a shift in how the workplace is being treated. What was once a place where formality was required, business leaders and managers are now focusing on culture and how to get the best work out of their employees.
Employee satisfaction and engagement are now being prioritized over profits because if you can increase those two metrics, the sales will follow.
Taking the time to learn how your team members communicate will be instrumental in increasing productivity and the overall success of your business.
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