Connecting With Your Team By Flexing Your Style 

As a leader, being able to relate to and connect with your team members is crucial for building trust, collaboration, and engagement. But every person is different, with their own preferences and styles of communication. Flexing your own style is key for making authentic connections. Here are some tips:

Get to Know Your Team Members’ Styles

Make an effort to understand how each person on your team prefers to communicate and work. Notice whether they tend to be more introverted or extroverted, logical or emotional, big-picture or detail-oriented. Ask them about their ideal working environment. Learn their motivation triggers. Tailor your interactions to align with their styles, not just your own default mode.

Show Empathy and Vulnerability  

Being open about your own weaknesses and struggles helps team members feel comfortable opening up to you. Admit when you make a mistake. Share stories of how you have overcome challenges. Ask thoughtful questions and listen intently. Show that you care about them as individuals, not just workers.

Adjust Your Communication Approach

Some people want frequent check-ins and updates, while others want space to focus. Some prefer blunt truth while others need careful tact. Observe and find the best communication frequency and style for each person. Email some team members and call others. Adjust the amount of details you provide. 

Collaborate According to Preferences

Suggest brainstorming in pairs or groups if some team members are more extroverted. Let the analytical people first map out a detailed plan. Engage the big-picture thinkers in vision casting. Enable those who like to take charge to lead parts of the project. Lean into each person’s strengths.  

There is no “one size fits all” leadership style. Meet your team members where they are. Thoughtfully flexing your approach to connect with each person will build a cohesive, thriving team.

Here are some common models that categorise personal preferences, styles or types:

– Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – Categories personality types into Introversion/Extroversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. Examples of types are ISFJ, ENTP, etc.

– DISC assessment – Classifies behaviour into four types – Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious. Helps understand communication and work styles.

– Learning styles – Grouping models like VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) that describe how people best absorb information. 

– Holland Codes – Matches personality types with compatible work environments and occupations. The six types are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

– Enneagram types – Describes nine personality types based on core motivations and fears. Types include Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, Peacemaker. 

– Social styles – A model with four types – Driver, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical – based on assertiveness and responsiveness when interacting with others.

– StrengthsFinder – Identifies people’s top 5 talent themes out of 34, such as Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, etc.

The wide array of models highlights the diversity of personality and work styles. Being familiar with different frameworks helps leaders better relate to individuals.