Last month, I wrote an article for the Halogen TalentSpace Blog that focuses on the impact and importance of meaningful work as a key driver of employee engagement. A critical aspect of helping employees find this meaning is effective, tailored communication.
This is where manager coaching and feedback plays a key role. So what are the components of tailored communication? Let's break them down.
How personality preferences impact communication
We all have innate preferences that influence our motivations and interests, as well as our biases and frustrations. Our personality preference also greatly impacts how we communicate, which is a significant component of the manager and employee relationship.
By learning to tailor how we communicate, managers can improve their ability to coach and provide feedback and employees can increase their opportunities to leverage their strengths. The combination is a recipe for highly engaged employees.
Here's what I mean:
As a manager, you are an important part of your organization's success. When you succeed in your work and career, when you are involved and engaged in what you are doing, your organization benefits. Now, you might ask: well, how do I ensure this success?
1. Enhance self-awareness. The first step is enhancing your self-awareness by discovering your unique gifts, motivations, and potential areas for growth. Perhaps you are naturally adept at considering all sides of a situation before making a decision and yet, need to work more at sharing information with your team in order to build commitment.
2. Appreciate natural differences. The second step is becoming aware of, and learning to appreciate, natural differences between people. For example, you will begin to see-and understand why-we don't all think alike or communicate the same way. Acknowledging the value of differences is key to working more effectively with others.
3. Focus on individual development. The third step is individual development. While we should all leverage our strengths and seek out others whose strengths complement ours, we also need to practice new behaviors where we have identified blind spots.
By incorporating different perspectives into our processes, we can be more flexible in a variety of situations. For example, as a leader assessing the impact of a particular business decision, you might need to work on asking your team to share their needs and insights before setting direction....
By learning to flex outside your preferred styles, you will enhance your working relationships and contribute to team effectiveness.
Why a customized approach to employee coaching and feedback works
Ultimately, employees who actively leverage their strengths enhance their ability to interact with others. They contribute to increased organizational productivity with the rippling effect of greater engagement.
For managers, these skills are vital to be an effective coach, provide constructive feedback and keep an open mind regarding employee development and opportunities. When you understand your personality preferences, you can approach your work in a manner that best suits your style.
You may suddenly realize why you are so passionate about a topic, or feel you finally understand the root causes of past difficulties in your life. Your development will be personal. How you decide to manage your time, solve problems, approach decision making, and deal with stress will depend on your unique needs.
Knowledge of personality preference can help you better deal with the culture of your organization, communicate and work with others, appreciate your unique contribution to teams, and cope with changes in the workplace.
When interacting with others, individuals tend to initially
filter and interpret what they hear and see differently based on their innate
preferences. Knowing what your colleague's or employee's preferences are allows
you to learn to understand, appreciate, and accommodate any differences in your
You may also more effectively share your opinions, understand his or her perspective, solve problems and work better together.
Manager and employee example of tailored communication in action
Don was having trouble communicating with his new staff. Previously an entrepreneur heading his own venture, Don was accustomed to giving orders and having them followed immediately. He felt that his ability to direct and control a given situation was one of his greatest competencies and he looked forward to using it in his new role.
A clashing of communication preferences
However, his take-charge approach was criticized by one of his new key direct reports. Val shared that Don needed to allow others opportunities to express their opinions and think about issues before expecting them to act. She also suggested that he look to his new staff as collaborators on key decisions.
Don was surprised to hear this feedback and was initially frustrated by the thought of slowing down the decision-making process. However, after learning more about his own innate preference through a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) assessment, and that of Val, he realized they had very different needs. This insight enabled him to adjust his style so he could create an environment allowing Val to be at her best.
Tailoring communication to support the needs of the team
Don learned he would get much better support for decisions if he integrated other viewpoints into the process. He resolved to collect stakeholder feedback on key issues and to consider staff member's perspectives before making final decisions.
In turn, Val also learned to appreciate their differences. She no longer took Don's abrupt actions personally assuming he didn't value her ideas. Rather she would call it to his attention and prompt a dialog if she felt the matter needed more collaboration.
Tailoring communication works
In summary, organizations that help employees find meaning in their roles; provide opportunities for personal insight and development as well as promote a culture of effective coaching and feedback fueled by tailored communication, will produce highly engaged employees.
The benefits are immediate and in the moment, which can be contagious! Organizational adoption of these values result in long lasting engagement for your workforce. I'll be discussing this topic further in an upcoming webinar titled, Tailoring Communication to Increase Engagement.
If you'd like to learn more on how to help how employees improve communication skills with their colleagues, register for the webinar here.Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI are registered trademarks of the Myers & Briggs Foundation in the United States and other countries.