Adapting Your Communication Style

Personality conflicts are a fact of life in the office.  Even if a team has the same goals, they will differ on how to achieve them.  Understanding your own communication style and decision process is important if you want a successful team.  Even more important than self awareness, though, is your ability to adapt to the other team members’ styles when communicating with them.

One tool for self awareness is The Ultimate Personality Assessment, developed by Progress West, Inc., a Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based consulting firm which specializes in advanced learning models for a series, which Scott West called the Human Equity Series. 

The Ultimate Personality Assessment uses colors to describe human behavior.   For example, “Orange” people are charming and witty optimists who enjoy the spotlight.  They’re competitive and adaptable, and seek variety and challenge at work.  The behavior they see as bold, innovative and fun-loving can be perceived as pushy, brash and reckless by those who look at the world through a different lens.

“Green” people are analytical, serious and innovative.  They see themselves as intelligent and creative – true visionaries.  They’re surprised when others describe them as cold and critical.  “Gold” personalities value order and discipline; they value doing things the right way –because their method is what they consider correct.  They see themselves as reliable, practical, and professional.  Others may see them as rigid, narrow-minded and negative.

“Blue” people value relationships above all else.  They give plenty of support and approval, and demand just as much as they give.  They see themselves as humanitarians and romantics, and are devastated when they hear others talk about them as high maintenance.

Where do you see yourself in this spectrum of colors?  Most of us are a combination of a couple of these personality styles.  Pay attention to the color description that feels the most right for you and the one that feels the most removed.  You’ll find that the people who irritate you the most have the most – or least – in common with you.  That pushy new hire in accounting?  She feels the same way about you.  Negative and grumpy Jim, who sits in the corner during your brainstorming session mumbling under his breath about how your plan is doomed to fail?  He’s just trying to provide balance to what he perceives as your crazy, half-baked schemes.

Who do you clash with at work?  Could you handle things differently? Check the next post for ways to communicate with people who don’t see things your way.

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