Jana, a driven, hard-working business analyst, was at her wits’ end with her colleague in new product development, Tim. She explained to me: “Tim always wants to talk and brainstorm, and I don’t need any of that. I just need him to tell me the requirements so that I can document them and give them to the engineering team. He wants to talk about the ‘big picture’ and I need him to focus on the details. We’ll never get his product in development if he has to talk so much!”
What Jana didn’t realize is that she and Tim have different communication styles. Tim, with his brainstorming and spirited communication exchanges, demonstrates the predominant style of “Motivator.” Motivators tend to be extroverted and consequently get their energy from working with others. They are far more concerned with the big picture and are less concerned with the details. Incidentally, that’s why they need someone like Jana around: to help them focus on the details.
Motivators consider the relationships they have with others to be the foundation of getting work done. And the way they enact those relationships is through communication, usually the face-to-face variety where there is lots of room for animated interaction.
If Jana can shift her frame of reference and see that the differences in communication style between she and Tim are an asset rather than a detriment to their ability to work together, she will be far less frustrated with Tim.
She may even come to appreciate his brainstorming and animated style, recognizing that his style is different from hers. (Jana, incidentally, demonstrates the Director style, which I’ll be discussing in next month’s newsletter.) Jana can maximize her interactions with Tim if she adapts her communication to meet his style’s needs.
The next time you are working with someone who is the “Motivator” style, use the following steps to adapt your communication to their preferences.