Get More From Your Communication: We are better together

It’s easier to work with people who are like us. They think like us. They talk like us. They finish what we say. The “get it” factor is high. We instinctively surround ourselves with people like us. Our frustration increases when people don’t get it. We have to repeat ourselves. We have to work harder to communicate what we mean. Everything seems to slow down. It might even seem like results are compromised over these communication differences.

It’s too easy to conclude that it would be easier if people were just more like me. What if a piece of the puzzle is missing on your team? With too many people like you on the team, are you noticing challenges?

  • Meetings are fun and engaging, but people don’t have clarity on what’s next
  • People take action to solve problems, but the same one keeps haunting you
  • Events where everyone thought they had it covered only to find big pieces got missed
  • Decisions seem logical and obvious, but create unexpected ripple effects with others

These are just a few examples of lopsided teams. So, let’s take a few minutes to explore how each of these three things: meetings, problem solving and expectations can benefit from the influences of each communication style. When we weave these together we can accomplish more. It seems like it will take MORE time to bring everyone together, but in reality with awareness and intentionality the team’s differences can be harmonized and we can be BETTER together.

Meetings

Effective meetings are a leadership necessity. Ineffective meetings are one of the most common complaints voiced by those frustrated with meetings. Problem Solvers help us define the purpose of the meeting and keep us focused on desired outcomes for a meeting that create clear action steps. Bridge Builders offer dialogue that makes sense of the current reality and bring people together for the future. Strategic Thinkers keep us focused on the goal that anchors every decision that arises out of our conversations. Compassionate Connectors highlight the resources we need to get the job done and remind us of the people impacted as we make our decisions. While accomplishing all of these necessities in one meeting can be quite a feat >> a strategic leader will frame the meeting to cover all four bases.

Problem Solving

Solving problems is a complex initiative. Based on our own view we see a specific angle to the problem to the distortion of other angles. Bringing it together from multiple perspectives helps us fully view the problem from all angles. Problem Solvers help us identify problems and come up with some quick solutions, while the Strategic Thinker slows us down to make sure we get at the deeper root problem for long-term solutions. Bridge Builders create space for us to rally people around acceptance of the real problem and creating solutions that bring people along. Compassionate Connectors create the pathway to implement the solution in a way that addresses the values and the needs of the people involved in or targeted by the solutions. 

Expectations

Expectation is defined as believing that something is going to happen or believing that something should be done in a certain way. On your ministry team you set expectations believing that something will be done in a specific way to accomplish team projects, achieve goals or help realize the mission. There are both BIG expectations that define an overarching goal, as well as  specific expectations for a given task that must be done. Each communication style listens for you to share your expectations in a specific way. Shaping your communication to clarify expectations in ways that connect to others will streamline actions and move your team toward achieving your ministry goals. For Problem Solvers, use logical reasoning with a clear purpose and let them outline the steps they will take to get there. For Bridge Builders, offer space to talk it through and get them involved in setting their own expectations. For Strategic Thinkers, tie your expectations to the big picture goal and give them room to roam on how to get there. For Compassionate Connectors, focus on what is important to them and then dive into the “to-do” items, checking in along the way and lending a hand when you can.

Creative Combinations

Teams work better together when they interact across all four communication styles. Leveraging those with connected communication styles that are like ours  creates energy but leaves some big gaps when trying to get things done. Complementary communication styles share one of the two communication strengths but must stretch themselves in areas where they are different. Conflicted communication styles don’t share either of the same communication preferences and must work harder to create shared understanding with their opposite. While similar combinations may find it easier to understand each other, teams that leverage the differences will accomplish  more thorough collaborative problem solving and taking time to establish clearer expectations. 

What’s Next?

In ministry being familiar with these 4 communication styles has an exponential impact on the lives of our leaders, our ministry teams and every person impacted by our ministry. To keep the conversation going on this topic grab a strategy session with me to talk specifics and get one action step that can help you communicate more effectively as you work together. Book  a free 30 minute strategy session appointment on my calendar right HERE.

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center of Coaching Excellence.

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