Accepting Work Style Differences Supports Success in Business and at Work


I enjoyed the leadership training I attended and co-facilitated this weekend. I sat with two other Myers-Briggs Extraverts like me (we think and talk at the same time, verbal brainstorming is our comfort zone) and two Myers-Briggs Introverts like my husband Joel (they like to think, and then talk – at times, not until the next meeting). Neither style is good or bad – just different.  And whether you use the Myers-Briggs or the DiSC (an easier assessment for non-HR-geeks to understand and integrate) to definitively identify communication styles on a team, I’ve witnessed consistently over the years how such knowledge – and a mixture of communications work styles – can support the success of any team in any sector.

Understanding and accepting my own style – and recognizing and accepting the traits of my teammates’ respective styles, even if I don’t know what their profiles are – helps me to modulate my communication style so that I can increase my chances of being heard and understood by all styles on a team.

In our table group during the leadership group training, we were asked to pause at least a minute between each participant’s turn at talking. The Introverts loved it. The Extraverts squirmed a bit.

Our discussion revolved around strengthening inclusiveness around gender, ethnic and racial differences as leaders. “Another leadership opportunity is acknowledging and strengthening inclusiveness around differences in communications styles,” I remarked. “While I’m sure the Introverts appreciate the pauses we take between speaking so they can think and then talk, us Extraverts would just like to speak and free-range brainstorm.” My friend Pat agreed. “I do like the pauses, so I can think before I talk. Thank you for bringing up that difference as well.” I smiled. “Thank you for being willing to have the conversation,” I continued. “When we identify, acknowledge and accept our communications-style differences, we have a better chance of working (and learning) together as a higher-functioning team.”

How will you identify, accept and facilitate communications-style differences to support the success of your team this week and beyond, in business and at work?

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