When you work on a creative team, everyone brings something different to the table. So how do you harness all the different yet equally important strengths of your team to work towards your common goals? The simple answer is: understand what makes each other tick.
The popularity of personality assessments as a litmus test for potential employees is on the rise. Competency can always be taught, but culture alignment is a much better test of how an employee might fit in. Even for existing employees, this can be a fun way to shift focus from the 'what' of the work to the 'who' of the work, while building stronger teams with a greater understanding of each other.
However, something that leaders often forget to consider is communication styles. While a personality type might reveal the kind of person you are - with background, family, upbringing, and life experience coming into play - your communication style is how you share who you are with other people. It’s a fascinating look at how people work, talk to each other, talk about their work, even how they perceive themselves as a person in the workforce.
Understanding Different Communication Styles Can Transform Your Staff.
As you understand how people work and communicate, you can maximize effectiveness by matching their communication styles. Over time, this creates cohesive, collaborative, cooperative work with each other. Teamwork has never looked so good.
So how do you do it?
1. Understand the Different Communication Styles
Understanding the different ways people communicate and translating it into a vision for your church staff is a process. If you start with understanding the different communication styles from every perspective, you’ll be much better equipped to see how each person on your staff can bring their invaluable and unique input to the table.
2. Make It a Part of Your Company Identity
The next step is building your church staff's identity around the utilization of communication styles. Emphasize the importance of these differences and encourage staff members to build strong relationships with each other.
One of the best ways to integrate differences is to see them through a lens of friendship and cooperation. Remember, often the best marriages and friendships are opposites! You might see things differently from your coworker or approach communication in vastly opposite ways, but understanding this about each other will build a foundation of trust and appreciation that goes a long way in forming a cohesive staff.
Staff retreats and development days are a great place to work on this. It can be fun too - playing interactive games or taking a short communication or personality quiz can start conversations and get the ball rolling.
3. Celebrate the Differences!
While you’re weaving the importance of communication styles into your church staff culture, don’t forget to celebrate the differences! At Vanderbloemen, we each have a set of foam lego blocks on our desks that indicates how our communications styles are ranked. We also have a wheel on the wall with headshots showing where each staff person fits into the spectrum of communication types. We call it our Wheel of Culture.
Understanding communications styles and personality types are a fun way to get to know new people and deepen friendships, which go a long way in working together on projects. But more than the enjoyable side of it, it also helps build a lasting strength to the work you do and how you do it.
You’ll likely never be working on a team with exactly the same kind of people as you, but as you learn how to work together in spite of differences, you’ll see tremendous personal and professional growth. We joke about the differences too sometimes, understanding that not everyone will have the same strengths - but that’s why we need each other to do effective work. We work as a team, and that is a vital part of a strong culture.
How can you begin to evaluate your team's various communication styles?