In Part 1 of this article series, we uncovered some common styles and preferences in the way we work and the way we communicate—and the challenges that come with those unique traits. (If you missed it, read it here.)
Now, let’s discuss what we can do about the blind spots that are created from our work style preferences and the ways we prefer to communicate? It sounds simple, but I believe that good communication covers all bases. And that is true whether you’re in a virtual setting or you’re in person.
As the leader, make sure you’re allowing for all of the different styles to come through throughout your meetings and that you’re having meetings that are meaningful. If you have teammates who you know have a dominant style that’s opposite of yours, enlist that person to help make sure that you’re covering that style as well.
Here are some ways to make sure that you don’t behave only according to your natural tendencies and forget to accommodate the varying styles of others. It begins with recognizing your own blind spots.
How we and others like to work:
If you’re a person that likes to collaborate, make sure that you’re providing opportunities for others to bring input later. Allow those folks who like to work on their own to be able to share that input, take things back, kind of work it through, and then share it later. Better yet, ask ahead of time so they have time to prepare.
If you’re someone who prefers to work on your own, make sure that you’re creating those opportunities for people to work together and that you’re allowing them to provide some of their input.
Provide just enough structure to clearly guide those who prefer that scaffolding, while also allowing enough space to be creative and innovative and adjust as you go.
How we and others like to communicate:
If you’re a talk-it-out kind of person, make sure that you’re allowing that input to come separately. If you’re in a meeting and you’re working through things and you’re talking through things, make sure that you’re also allowing for the person that likes to think it out to have that time as well.
Make sure that you’re slowing your speech (power of the pause!) so that others can kind of jump in when you’re showing up in a meeting.
If you are the person who wants to have that specific agenda, make sure that you’re summarizing any decisions and action items, but then also make sure that you’re building in that time for the sort of offline chatting that builds camaraderie.
Take it up a notch when virtual! Good communication is good communication, whether you’re in person or you’re virtual. But it’s even more critical when you’re virtual. A few key points to really bring home these techniques when working remotely:
Make sure that you are slowing down, that you are increasing your listening and you’re reflecting on what you’re hearing. Increase those pauses to allow people to process if they’re a “think it through” kind of style or allow people to speak if they are trying to get a word in.
Get to the point but have fun, too. Be clear on your goals and your objectives but allow some time for that flexibility and casual chatting. Laugh off those inevitable interruptions that happen when working from home (dogs barking, doorbells ringing, kids videobombing!)
Make sure to summarize decisions and key points being made (any action items and expectations) coming out of that time together.
Keep your meeting agenda short to allow enough time for these multiple styles to come forward.
Be open to all modes of communication, even if it’s not your first choice: chats and texts and phone calls and emails. As leaders, as all of us are working in this distributed way now, it’s critical to make yourself more available to your team.
Strong team dynamics and good communication, especially in virtual settings, starts with knowing your employee’s individual behavioral traits as well as work styles and communication preferences. In today’s remote environment, it is important that this information is based on fact rather than observations and impressions. Perhaps your next team meeting can include some time to discuss each other’s preferences. Use the graphics above to start that conversation!
As a team, you will begin to find the best way to navigate this world of remote and hybrid work together.
This article was originally published by Adrienne Guerrero on LinkedIn.