I am now a few weeks into my business management course, and it continues to be a great growth experience for me (both personally and professionally).
This past week we covered “Better Business Communication” — and it’s no wonder why so many companies struggle to remain productive and profitable. There was a ton of awesome advice that our teacher gave us, and I’ll attempt to relay that here within the context of my own experience: working at a tech company.
Before going into class, we all completed a communication strategy assessment which is essentially just a multiple-choice exam (roughly 10 questions) where you rank the choices on a scale of 1-4 (1 being lowest, 4 being highest). After ranking the choices for all questions, you sum the totals for each choice. The choice with the highest total is your communication style.
In this case, I was a clear “D”. But what does that mean exactly?
- Driver: focus on big picture, productivity
- Promoter: focus on big picture, people
- Analyzer: focus on details, productivity
- Supporter: focus on details, people
My results put me squarely in the “Driver” style: I’m (allegedly) direct, to the point, and function professionally by making statements. I use a high amount of eye contact, am action-oriented and focus on producing results. I’m a problem solver who takes charge.
The important thing here is not necessarily the “good” skills that come along with being a Driver; it’s actually in knowing my communication style’s weaknesses, and learning how to best connect with co-workers in the other quadrants.
Strategies to Improve Communication
Working in the tech/software industry, it comes as no surprise that many of the people I interact with are either Drivers (like me) or Analyzers. Software engineers are notorious for being focused on details and tasks – and generally want to be left alone to get their work done!
But the clear downside to having so many Drivers and Analyzers in the software industry is that people are often neglected. Ask any woman or minority in the tech industry and I’m sure they’ll agree — people, their feelings and their ideas are getting marginalized.
As a Driver, I need to become more aware of people because Supporters and Promoters are absolutely essential to the success of any company. Listening to others and responding to their feelings allows everyone to cooperate and contribute.