Different strokes for different communication styles

Different strokes for different communication styles

When a bunch of different folks form a team, conflict arises. Stop hunting and pecking for a solution. Here's the key to working together: Identify what pushes your co-workers' buttons.
Feb 01, 2009

Some people are hard to work with. You know who I'm talking about—the person who doesn't even utter a friendly hello at the start of the day.

Hold on, not so fast. Before you point fingers, consider this: Some team members are so task-driven that they really do forget the social niceties many of us appreciate. Look at work from their perspective. Stopping to say, "Good morning," seems unnecessary and superficial when there's so much to be done.

Working with people who exhibit different behavior types can certainly drive you crazy, but these differences make your team stronger. Can you imagine a practice full of people who work just like you? This idea may sound fabulous at first. For example, if your team was made up only of people-pleasers, everyone would sacrifice their needs for the group. Every employee would stay late and come in early. The phones would always be answered in a kind manner. Where's the stapler? Right here, next to the pens and sticky notes, perfectly organized as usual.

On the flip side, no one would ever feel an urgent need to take on new challenges. Your team wouldn't focus on accuracy. In the end, a team of you, no matter how great you are, would cause problems for employees and clients—and you.

So put personal preferences aside and start putting your team's differences to good use. This will take practice. It's hard not to judge co-workers based on your own background, motivations, and values. But try to step back, get to know your team members, and gain a better understanding of why they do what they do. Get started by checking out the information in the following charts.