Identifying Your Communication Style
Once you get past the surface-level distractions, leaders are still faced with learning how to effectively communicate with employees who have a variety of communication styles.
“We all tend to communicate with people the way we [prefer to] communicate; if we’re direct and extroverted, we think everyone is direct and extroverted,” Ryan says. “Successful leaders have to be able to flex and communicate with all styles.”
During the IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit, Ryan will invite attendees to take an abridged version of the DISC profile to identify their communication style. According to the DISC profile, there are four types of communicators:
- Director/Controller: These people are often found in leadership positions. They like to be in charge and they’re only interested in the facts. While they excel at taking a project and running with it, they can also be perceived as insensitive.
- Socializer/Promoter: These people are the life of the party. They’re naturally sociable and enjoy talking for long periods of time…about almost anything. They tend to be expressive, curious, and enthusiastic.
- Thinker/Analyzer: Those in this group are focused on details and organization. Because of their analytical nature, they may hesitate to speak up or make decisions if they feel they don’t have all the facts.
- Supporter/Relater: Those with this communication style are usually calm, cool, and collected. They’re steady workers who avoid conflict. Since they’re happiest when everyone is getting along, they’ll put themselves last if it means peace and harmony in the group.
“Two of the styles are very direct—you never wonder what they’re thinking because they just tell you,” Ryan says. “The two others are indirect; they’re the people who might have a question but they don’t ask it—you have to pay attention to body language to draw them out.”
Communication styles are especially important in the health club setting, where most staff are dealing with colleagues and members.
“If you’re a personal trainer and you’re training a Supporter/Relater, you should train them differently than you should train a Director/Controller,” says Ryan. “It has a lot of ramifications for the business.”