A little over three years ago the world experienced a transformative shift unlike anything seen before in our lifetime. You know the one… 😊 The Covid Pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders turned our work lives upside down. Zoom became a household name and people around the globe had to adapt to new ways of working. In this 2-part article series, I share my insights on how we all have preferred work styles and communication preferences, and how recognizing and honoring them support a more effective hybrid work.
In response to the Pandemic, companies quickly enabled enhanced collaboration technology to help us work virtually. But it also created new challenges. We lost the benefits of in-person communication such as rapid responses, and the ability to read body language and tone. All though we can communicate via video, it’s simply not the same as in-person communication. We can’t read body language easily through a computer screen. In addition, we each have ways we prefer to work and ways we prefer to communicate. These ways are hardwired in us and can cause blindspots that make our work (and that of our colleagues) more difficult. Remote work exacerbates these challenges, and it is important to recognize and address these blindspots.
The way we communicate, and our individual styles and work preferences, affect how we work with others. We bring our whole selves everywhere we go—and work is no different. We show up at work with our whole self: our head, our heart, and our briefcase. Our head is composed of the behavioral and cognitive traits that make up our personality. Our heart is the core values, interests, and passions we possess. Our briefcase is our education, knowledge, and experience. The heart and the briefcase will change as our experiences and knowledge grows; the head, our natural drives and cognitive traits, generally stays the same. Our natural drives influence how we like the world to be and how we tend to “show up”, and that influences how we like to work and our communication style.
Let’s explore communication preferences and individual work styles and see how that influences our interactions in the workplace. The image below shows some of the typical ways we like to work and communicate:
Think about the ways you prefer to work:
You might flex between styles but it’s likely that some of these tendencies are more dominant in your particular preference. The same applies to your colleagues, though they may flex between styles, they have preferences that are innate.
When you recognize your preferences and those of your colleagues you begin to understand why you (and others) work in particular ways. Here are some examples:
Opposites attract? Well, differing styles can be complimentary by balancing out our natural blindspots. A room full of messy brainstorming creatives might never get to a solution without a structured time and agenda keeper. A room full of agenda keepers might miss critical ways to find a creative solution.
So how can we harness the power of our differing styles and preferences and watch out for our blindspots? Like most things, it begins with good communication. And that is true whether you’re in a virtual setting or you’re in person.
In Part 2 of this article series, I’ll share some ways to tap into strong communication practices to make the most of others’ styles while recognizing your own.
This article was originally published by Adrienne Guerrero on LinkedIn.