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Cracking the Code: Coworkers' Communication Styles

Effective businesses thrive on clear, symbiotic communication between employees at all levels. Understanding the communication styles of our colleagues boosts efficiency, fosters collaboration, and prevents misunderstandings. Successful communication builds impenetrable, enduring relationships that are the muscle of a goal-busting business. So, how do you crack the code on your coworkers’ communication styles?


ROLA: Recognize, Observe, Listen, and Adapt.


Recognition: Communication styles assuredly vary. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues what they prefer. Is it direct and assertive communication? Or do they prefer a friendly, diplomatic approach? By initiating an open dialogue about communication preferences, you can establish clear expectations and avoid misunderstandings down the line.


Observation: Observe how your coworkers interact in various situations. You might begin to recognize patterns in their communication styles. They may always call to elicit conversation, or they may prefer to meet face-to-face. They may also prefer a quick slack message or email. Pay attention to factors such as tone, body language. They may be signs of what is or isn’t working.





Listening: It’s the information era. Multitasking is tempting– and sometimes even invisible. But multitasking during conversations with coworkers means we’re not actually engaged, and hearing and listening are two very different things. Take the time to synthesize and digest what your coworkers are saying. Observe their syntax and nonverbal cues. Don’t be afraid to summarize what you’re hearing to make sure you understood them properly, and never be afraid to ask clarifying questions–they’re often the mark of the smartest mind in the room. 


Adapting: Once you've identified your coworkers' communication styles, make an effort to use their preferred style and method and mode of communication where you can. If you're working with someone who prefers direct and succinct communication, strive to be concise and to the point in your interactions. If you're collaborating with a coworker who values collaboration and consensus-building, be sure to solicit their input and actively engage them in the decision-making process. If a colleague always calls you, they may prefer a quick phone call as well. By demonstrating flexibility and adaptability in your communication approach, you can foster smoother and more productive interactions with your coworkers.


So, now that we know what it is, why should we ROLA again? Effective communication is not just about cracking the code on your coworker’s preferences or exchanging information—it's also about building rapport and trust. Showing genuine interest in a colleague’s ideas, opinions, and perspectives demonstrates empathy and understanding. By fostering a positive and supportive environment, you can cultivate a workplace that builds goal-busting muscle and creates lasting growth and positive change. 


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