Leverage individual communication styles to enhance team operations

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“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly”.

(Mark Sanborn)

There are no two teams that are exactly alike.  Not the most prophetic thing I’ve ever written in this blog space but worth stating.

Teams have different dynamics and function based on these things and the people who make up the team.  The most successful teams can leverage the talents of each team member into the overall organizational dynamic to ensure successful outcomes.

We’ve discussed team communication strategies in previous posts with an angle to strengthen your team.  Individual communication styles and preferences should be reviewed and discussed when you add someone new to your team.  I’m sure everyone strives to hire the best candidate to fill an opening on their team.  How much thought do you put into understanding how to integrate the new team member’s communication style in with others?

I’m a firm believer that leaders should know direct reports’ communication style and preferred way they want to receive information.  This knowledge allows leaders to seek ways to ensure they communicate in a way to maximize operational needs.  This knowledge has helped me when assigning tasks to team members.

Example #1:  When faced with a project that has an extremely quick turnaround time, I normally assign this project to my ENFJ (MBTI) staff member.  This type project excites the staff member and I know they will get things done quickly with enough time for review before the deadline.

Example #2:  When faced with a project due four months from today, I normally assign this project to my ISTJ (MBTI) staff member.  This type project allows the staff member time to plan, strategize and ask all the questions they need to for a successful outcome.

The examples listed above are two actual scenarios I’ve tackled in the past.  Both had successful outcomes because I knew and understood how to engage staff to maximize their talents.  This in turn produced successful outcomes for the organization.

Knowledge of individual communication styles also provides a blueprint to help build training plans to help staff members grow.  Introverted staff are not exempt from ever getting a task with a quick turnaround.  The leader needs to provide a more detailed set of instructions and understand they may have to follow-up with the staff member.  This process begins to stretch the staff member and helps their professional growth.  This also provides the leader with another staff member who can handle future quick turnaround projects and not wear out the extroverts.  Also, extroverted staff are not exempt from being assigned long term projects—training applies to all staff members.

There are multiple ways to engage staff to understand their individual communication style.  MBTI and CliftonStrengths are two tools used in my work environments.  These tools allowed me to get a better understanding of everyone on my team and integrate this knowledge to help teammates understand each other as well.

What’s the most successful way for me to understand how to communicate with my team?  I sit down with them and ask everyone how they like to receive information.  Simple, huh?  Then I make sure to communicate with everyone in a manner they identify (as much as possible).  Things pop up but I try to remain consistent with the communication process.  Direct reports seem to appreciate this fact and respond in a positive manner.

A final note, leaders need to ensure their team knows how they like to communicate as well.  The team shouldn’t have to guess how to approach a leader.  This creates undo stress and is not productive.

How do you account for individual communication styles in the work environment?  Can this knowledge impact your current organization?  (Please respond in the comments section below—thanks!)

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something”.

(Plato)

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Committed to the blog – Blogging about blogging

Blog notepad

“You are not obligated to win.  You are obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day”.

(Marian Wright Edelman)

My laptop has been the tool I’ve used over the past year to research, write, edit and publish articles for the Walk into the Future blog.  It’s a rare day to find me anywhere without my laptop close by to record a new idea or thought to turn into an article for the blog.

Well, I experienced a slight glitch to my productivity in late June when my laptop decided not to boot up.  Tried multiple diagnostic programs to see if I could fix the issue on my own but finally had to give in and put my laptop in the shop.  Figured I would lose a couple days of writing production so focused more time in the gym and on my Philly Rock n Roll half marathon training program while the laptop was out for service.

Quickly discovered the time dedicated to creating content for the blog was an actual part of my lifestyle and I felt weird not working on the next article.  The commitment to write and produce weekly content for myself, followers and other readers was still present even without my laptop.  Felt like I was cheating myself by taking days off from research and writing—this fact makes me laugh considering I normally have 8 weeks of articles already written prior to publishing on the blog.  This gives me time to go back and edit/add content as needed before you read it.

I was talking with a friend about my laptop dilemma and my inability to record my thoughts as usual.  My friend offered I could always write my ideas by hand if needed after laughing at me and my made-up problem!  I’ve documented how bad my handwriting is, so it never crossed my mind I could still be a productive writer by simply writing down my thoughts/ideas and then transcribe them later—what a concept, huh?  LOL.  We joked I should call the article ‘Blogging about blogging’ since I had to be convinced blogging doesn’t stop because I’m not on a laptop.  Sounds almost like an old Seinfeld episode—blogging about blogging.

The image above is my notepad while sitting at Lucky Goat generating content for future blog articles.  Generated two ideas with my handwritten content and later transferred into Microsoft Word once I got my laptop back.  This process was not as difficult as I made it out to be—I’m still learning, adjusting and growing with the blog.

My commitment to this blog is real and hopefully the articles you read here provide a place to laugh, learn and enjoy the process of my journey!

What are you committed to daily?  How do you ensure it has priority on your schedule?

 

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  Accordingly, a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework”.

(Thomas Edison)

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Walk into the Future—What it means to me

 “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Wanted to dive deeper into the title of my blog, Walk into the Future.  Last year I decided to change my mindset and physical space to embark on a journey.  This journey was designed to allow me to experience a level of freedom that wasn’t present, but I knew existed—just had to open my eyes a bit and walk forward.

Merriam Webster defines future in multiple ways, “time regarded as still to come AND what is going to happen”.  Both versions provide a flexible view and allows individuals to determine what the future means to them.

I selected Walk into the Future as my title to embrace the future and identify the courage to move forward.  This forward approach covers personal and professional adventures as well as insight I want to share with readers.  I created this project to share my ‘walk’ and provide insight into important concepts for me.  There are days I sit down to write, and the words just come to me.  There are other days where I will reach out to my tree branches to see what they want/need to read and then develop content around their inputs.  I am keenly aware of my surroundings, so inspiration comes to me from multiple outlets, I just capture an idea and then work to develop into something readable.

My Walk into the Future (so far) has allowed me to:

  • Post blog articles weekly
  • Get back down to Jamaica
  • Visit Paisley Park
  • Improve my half-marathon time (3 times)
  • Mentor others (in-person and virtual)
  • Serve as a professional development vendor with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
  • Gain followers for my blog
  • Inspire people
  • Live life

I could add more things here but believe you can see the positives I’ve experienced from posting blog articles on my current walk.

Walk into the Future has become a life style for me and I’m excited to see how it develops moving forward.

Remember, enjoy the process—walk, don’t run!

What does Walk into the Future mean to you?  How can you leverage this concept in your daily walk?  Interested to hear from you—thanks!

 “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Future May 2019