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Understanding The 4 Communication Styles In The Workplace

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Styles of communication are the various broad ways people prefer to communicate with others. It is just like the different personal styles that reflect our outward appearance. It is not only limited to verbal communication but non-verbal communication as well.

Recognizing different forms of communication will dramatically enhance the quality of your relationships. That's because your skill of managing difficult conversations depends on communication ability.

There are four main styles of communication that you are like to encounter in your workplace. They are Passive, Passive-Aggressive, Aggressive, and Assertive.

Passive Communication Style

Usually, passive communicators are very quiet. They can be resistant to debates and never take a firm stand or assert themselves. They don't share their concerns or feelings, making it hard for colleagues to understand or support them. They usually avoid expressing their thoughts and feelings. Thus misunderstandings are familiar with them.

They may allow other people to control discussions a bad at eye contact. Apart from that, some of the identifications of a passive communicator are-

  • Poor posture
  • Soft voice
  • Apologetic behavior
  • Fidgeting

Examples of phrases that a Passive Communicator would use-

  • "It doesn't matter that much."

  • "I want peace."

Dealing with a passive communicator

To deal with a passive communicator, you need to take a direct approach. You need to understand that they may not express their actual needs and feelings. They may also agree when they don't want to do something. To be optimistic, sure, and convincing is the best approach to that. You can also start one-on-one conversations. For them, private communications are often more relaxed than group environments.

Ask them for suggestions and thought, using broader language. It will provide plenty of room for replies. As they might need some time while answering, you need to be patient with periods of silence.

Aggressive Communication Style

The aggressive communicator's traits include being arrogant, condescending, sarcastic, and opportunistic. It shows up in bossy, mean-spirited, lacking gratitude, and disrespectful behavior. An aggressive communicator may also act before thinking. It affects long-term relationships and the effectiveness of their interpersonal abilities.

Few signs of an aggressive communicator include-

  • Harsh tonality
  • Gestures like crossed arms
  • Invading others’ personal spaces
  • intense eye contact
  • Mocking behavior

Examples of phrases that an aggressive communicator would use include-

  • "I'm right, and you're wrong."

  • "I'll get my way no matter what."

  • "It's all your fault."

Dealing With An Aggressive Communicator

Experts suggest that you remain calm and polite and get to the point. Keep your conversations away from feelings and emotions. Focus the discussion on an actionable solution to the problem. If the person is too difficult or is no longer making meaningful progress, walk away from the situation. But, you will have to seek the HR team's support in handling any harassment or bullying.

3. Passive- Aggressive Communication Style

Those people are passive. But they are still frustrated or discontented under the surface. That is, their acts do not always agree with what they say. To turn a scene into one that favors them, passive-aggressive communicators can be deceptive. Some passive-aggressive communicators use this approach because they feel powerless or exploited.

Signs of a passive-aggressive communicator includes-

  • Mumming,
  • Using sarcasm
  • Showing denials
  • Presenting a happy face though obviously irritated
  • Providing the silent treatment

Examples of phrases that a Passive-Aggressive communicator would use-

  • "That's fine with me, but don't be surprised if someone else gets mad."

  • "Sure, we can do things your way" (then mutters to self that "your way" is stupid)

Dealing With Passive-Aggressive Communicator

You may be able to dissolve the condition with humor in mild cases of passive violence. In other cases, you can confront them with their actions. You can encourage them to bring their viewpoints with feedback and truthful communication. But, if possible, you would need to address the issue more explicitly. You can use standardized procedures in more extreme situations.

4. Assertive Communication Style

The assertive communication style considered the most successful communication mode. It features an open contact link while not being overpowering. They communicate their wants, expectations, thoughts, and emotions. But they also consider other people's needs. They take on challenges but know when to say no.

In any scenario, assertive communicators tend to protect both sides, balancing one's rights with the rights of others.

Signs of an assertive communicator includes-

  • Extensive gestures
  • Good pose
  • Good eye contact
  • A clear voice

Examples of phrases that an aggressive communicator would use include-

  1. “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
  2. “I’ll get my way no matter what.”
  3. “It’s all your fault.”

Dealing With An Assertive Communicator

If you know an assertive communicator, empower them to express their thoughts. One should recognize and learn assertive behavior and communication. It can control stress and anger. It will also improve coping skills with passive, passive-aggressive, and aggressive communication styles.

So, how do you deal with the different communication styles in the workplace? Do let us know in the comments section below.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact