Having spent ample time with others, you can probably tell by now that every single person basically speaks their own language. You can ask two people to handle the exact same task, and one will leave and get moving on the project immediately, while the other has to stop and ask a co-worker what they think you meant.  It can get difficult and sometimes frustrating having to accommodate the different styles with which others communicate in the workplace, but remember, you have your own personal style as well!

There are 4 different types of communication profiles, and everyone fits into one of them depending on two factors.

  • How openly they tend to communicate

  • How directly they tend to communicate

Which communication style best describes you?

Are you a Realtor who cares mostly about people and their feelings?

Or a Thinker, well focused and task driven?

Although our own communication style is well established by the time we find ourselves in the workplace, as employees and would-be leaders, we can be trained to be open and flexible in regards to the different styles.  Since each profile is best suited to flourish in different work environments, flexibility may mean identifying which is most effective depending upon your organization’s needs.  For example, Socializers tend to thrive on collaborative team projects making them a wonderful fit for a creative department.  Whereas a legal or IT department likely consists of Thinkers who succeed while working alone.

Knowing your personal communication profile is key to managing a team wisely and succeeding in your career. Your personal style will impact your delegation of tasks, the types of assignments you request, and how you develop your team.

Interested in more detail about each communication type?

Here are the main characteristics and types of roles best suited for each communication style.

The Realtor

Since realtors care so much about establishing harmony in the workplace, they are most often best suited for managing large teams that are effectively trained and autonomous, such as a group full of creative individuals. Their management style can be described as “pace-setting”.

While speaking with others, the Realtor tends to ask more questions, listen actively, reserve his/her opinions and provide less verbal communication.

Realtors use warm, less forceful, low volume, slow speech in an attempt to convey their thoughts and opinions in a softer, more palatable tone. They can be identified by their visual cues, such as intermittent eye contact, gentle handshakes, slow movements and a patient demeanor.

How can you spot a Realtor in the workplace?

They will have lots of photos of family and friends, mementos, and other personal items. Their desk or office will likely be decorated in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere that exudes openness and acceptance.


The Socializer

Similar to Realtors, Socializers adore people. Since they are incredibly people oriented, yet fast and direct, the Socializer is best suited to manage interns or entry level professionals who need a friendly and clear manager to teach them the ropes. They generally engage in the ‘coaching’ management style.

While speaking with others the Socializer tends to talk a lot, share stories, express feelings and opinions openly and informally.

Socializers use loud, fast, dramatic speech with lots of inflection in their tone to help convey their emotions.  They often incorporate spontaneous, animated hand and body movements to assist in expressing their point of view.

How can you spot a Socializer in the workplace?

They will have lots of photos of themselves, personal items, and display their accomplishments openly.  They decorate to exude a relaxed and friendly environment that is open and informal, but likely to be a little messy.


 The Thinker

As mentioned earlier, unlike Socializers or Realtors, Thinkers prefer to work alone.  Strangely, they share the same background management style as Realtors. This is because they love to do things by themselves, so they tend to set the pace for the balance of the team. This shows us why they should manage sales or legal/compliance departments.  They work autonomously and succeed from a manager with exceptional analytical skills to help in problem solving and tackle issues they do not have time to handle themselves.

While speaking with others, the Thinker tends to be formal and proper, focused on the facts and keeps feelings to themselves.

Thinkers use less local variety, rather, they speak with a very low volume, with a slow and steady pace. They use little to no facial expressions or gestures, and rarely initiate eye contact.

How can you spot a Thinker in the workplace?

They will have a multitude of charts, figures and other analytical items displayed at their workstation. They are very clean and organized and only decorate in orderly and arranged fashions that appear formal and proper.


The Director

To sum it up, Directors direct.

They are most suited to manage in extremely fast paced work environments because their communication style is very clear, concise and as I’ve said already, direct.  The Director is infamous for using the (you named it!) ‘directive’ management style.

While speaking with others the Director tends to tell rather than ask. They can be abrupt and right to the point. It is no uncommon for a Director to not be a wonderful listener.

Directors use plenty of vocal variety and forceful tone, speaking loudly and with great speed to convey their requests as quickly and effectively as possible. They provide steady eye contact, a firm handshake, and strong body gestures that can sometimes be interpreted as impatience.

How can you spot a Director in the workplace?

They will display all of their awards openly along with planning calendars portraying an atmosphere of power and prestige. Workspaces will be arranged formally, with lots of work going on.


How does knowing each type and their characteristics help YOU?

Whether you manage a team of employees or are simply getting to know your own manager, it is beneficial to know which communication profile you are working with. Understanding how others communicate will ultimately help you determine the best course of action for yourself, the department, and company as a whole. By recognizing and understanding the different communication styles you will encounter in the workplace, you will be more adept and open in your own communication! Check out these additional tips to communicate effectively in the workplace!