Interpersonal and Team Communications

Last Wednesday, I participated in an Administrator’s Academy that focused on knowing your own personal communication style, the communication styles within your team, and how to best communicate with those of differing styles – it was a life changing experience!

Prior to the workshop we were required to take a brief 15 minute questionnaire. These questions were focused around our goals, priorities, thought process, and personality. Our answers were then calculated to create an Everything DiSC Workplace Report that we received and analyzed at the workshop.

The Everything DiSC model is made up of four basic personality styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, & Conscientiousness. Based on our answers to the questionnaire, we were placed in one of the quadrants. There is not one preferred personality type, one is not better than the other, everyone is unique and works differently. However, it was interesting learning about the quadrants that differed from mine. As we learned characteristics of each style I started thinking about how stressful it can be at times working with people outside my own communication preference.

Throughout the day I learned about the different priorities, motivations, stressors & fears associated with each communication style.  I can’t begin to tell you how many “ah-ha” moments I had throughout the workshop! No wonder I struggle to work as efficiently with some and not others! 🙂

After learning about our communication styles we then discussed approaches to manage conversations across the different styles with the hopes to remove the frustrations when working with others different from us, this was a great discussion for me not only professionally, but personally! These strategies are suggestions all good communicators do but it is always good to be reminded of them from time to time.

Here are some ways to bring those who fall into the steadiness & conscientiousness quadrants into the conversation:

  • Administer a survey prior to the meeting to gather input
  • Use small group discussions
  • Assign role of devil’s advocate to assess proposed ideas (prior to meeting)
  • Invite members into the conversation (I would love to hear your ideas)
  • Make agenda available in advance of the meeting

Here were some suggestion on how to ensure the dominant and influencers don’t control the conversation:

  • Use a timed agenda
  • Assign a “penny for your thoughts” to limit input by pennies members have available to spend
  • Set ground rules
  • Request member let others contribute before adding new comments

What conversation style are you?

Are you the direct, strong-willed, firm type or the more even-tempered, accommodating, patient group member? Do you prefer high-spirited, lively, enthusiastic settings or the more private, systematic, reserved situations?

Knowing your communication style and those around you can help create a more productive work environment where all members of your team feel heard and respected. I encourage all team leaders, coaches, chairs, and administrators to complete a DiSC survey; understanding yourself better is the first step to becoming more effective when working with others!

If you would like more information on the administrator’s academy, or DiSC reports please do not hesitate to contact me at any time!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning
(t):630-444-3044
(c):630-675-4447
(e):kalgrim@kaneroe.org

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