Every project manager knows that communication is the key to a successful project. Effective managers understand communication styles and manage employees based on those styles. Take the time to learn how to manage people with different communication techniques, and recognize how your communication tendencies affect your interactions. Identifying and coaching based on these four communication styles will make you a more effective manager.
Assertive communicators leave you feeling better after a conversation. Team members leave meetings feeling acknowledged and heard by assertive-style managers. They have confidence in how the manager handles emergencies and improves efficiency. The easiest way to identify assertive communicators is through their speaking style. They look for ways to express their thoughts without blaming the listener. For example, the assertive project manager requests new software by saying, “I feel that Smartsheet alternatives allow us to build a comprehensive project management solution that will benefit us for years to come.”
Encourage employees to communicate assertively by restating negative statements. A frustrated team member may say that management changed the scope, causing them to miss a deadline. Restate their message, “I hear you say that scope creep is becoming a challenge. Let’s get the team together to review our deliverables and timeline. You feel we should meet with the customer to verify the scope.”
Aggressive employees negatively impact the cohesiveness of your team. They dominate conversations and imply they are superior to others. They may pass blame, attack, or criticize others. If you feel you have an aggressive style, understand that employees may not bring challenges to you early. Your team may see react by attacking or belittling others. Learn about the situation before you respond. Remain calm and review your options before making a decision.
When coaching aggressive employees, ask them to work on their mannerisms and communication style. You can encourage them to remove themselves from the conversation before their emotions get too high.
Passive employees appear not to speak as much. Not to be confused with introverts, passive employees rarely tell someone, “No.” Instead, they prefer to keep peace within the department. Passivity can lead to resentment and anger. These employees can be an asset in volatile situations, as they tend to be more level-headed. They do not let emotion drive them.
Coaching passive employees involves reading between the lines and providing assertive language. Restate their comments as you understand them and ask them to correct you if you are wrong.
Passive-aggressive team members can be challenging. They appear passive on the outside, going with the flow and seeming to work with the team. However, under their breath, they may express anger. Many passive-aggressive communicators use sarcasm, rumors, and silent treatment to avoid confrontation.
If the employee is sabotaging the project or their peers, intervene immediately. Similar to coaching passive communicators, give these employees words to voice their emotions. Do not tolerate criticism of the team.
Identifying and managing based on communication style can help you establish trust. Employees become better versions of themselves and work harder for you. When your team is successful, your project is successful.