Poor communication can cost companies thousands of dollars per year. While many people think this only refers to employees being unable to communicate due to a lack of resources, it also relates to employees and leaders who can communicate but have a hard time doing so effectively.
Does that sound familiar? Certain communication styles could be holding your business back.
We’re here to talk about the four primary communication styles so you can identify them and start making changes. Read on to learn more.
Assertive communication is considered the most effective communication style for people communicating in business (and anywhere). Assertive communicators can express needs and ideas while asserting boundaries, but they aren’t overbearing.
Assertive communicators use “I” statements to take ownership during conversations. In addition, they use active listening techniques and are excellent at reading and displaying proper body language. As a result, they can quickly deliver uncomfortable messages to employees, respond to criticism, and otherwise communicate well.
They maintain eye contact and aren’t shy about asking for what they want or saying “no” when necessary.
Great examples of assertive communication include:
- “I appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration.”
- “I’m unable to take on an extra task right now; I’m sorry.”
- “This conversation isn’t productive. Let’s continue our discussion after we’ve both had time to reflect.”
Passive communication is yielding, and passive communicators are often people-pleasers. However, it often results in a lack of verbal communication, leading to misunderstandings and conflict. Passive communicators come off as kind and giving, but this is one of the least functional communication styles.
Passive communicators struggle to make eye contact. They don’t display confident body language or posture. On the other hand, they’re good at “going with the flow.”
Examples of passive communication include:
- “I’m busy, but I can take that extra work.”
- “I’m sorry for making a mistake. I must have misheard you before.”
- “I’d prefer this, but it doesn’t matter.”
Aggressive communication is the opposite of passive communication. Aggressive communicators are obvious. They’re loud and overbearing.
They may speak loudly, and while they maintain eye contact, they do so to intimidate. They can be critical and always “on the attack.” They do not take rejection or criticism well.
They command respect from people around them, but that respect is rooted in fear.
Examples of aggressive communication include:
- Any raised voices
- “My way or the highway.”
- “You will do this task or else.”
Passive-aggressive communication is a mix between passive communication and aggressive communication. The communicator seems passive, but their passive communication has caused resentment to build. They may be snarky, sarcastic, and otherwise “mean.”
This is an ineffective communication style. Misunderstandings are common and can cause a lot of strife in the workplace. In addition, these communicators aren’t good at voicing their needs, but they get upset when no one meets them.
Examples of passive-aggressive communication include:
- “I wouldn’t do it that way, but you can.”
- “You can try that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if the boss gets mad.”
- “Sure, I can do that. It’s not like I was trying to leave early or anything.
Communication Styles Matter
There will always be various communication styles in the office, but most people should strive to be assertive communicators. Assertive communicators are effective, fair, and strong. They make great leaders and great employees.
Are you trying to improve your team building and communication? We want to help. Contact the Fire Up and Lead team to learn how we can help you.