Friday, July 29, 2011

Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

Master the Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

Master the Four Communication Styles: A Key to Leadership Success

By Astrid Baumgardner

Think about the last time you were at a party and had the opportunity to observe a lot of people in action:

  • Who dominated the conversation and put a premium on being right and convincing others to go along with his solutions?

  • How about the serious person who rather cautiously talked in precise detail?

  • And how about the person who was bursting with enthusiasm and could not wait to tell you her great idea?

  • Who walked into the room and began by introducing herself to others, spending time with each person to establish a connection.

These are examples of the 4 communication styles:

  • Driver: the person who takes charge and wants solutions;

  • Analytical: the person who values accuracy and details;

  • Expressive: the idea person; and

  • Amiable: the person who prioritizes relationships.

While we all have characteristics in more there one area, we each have a default style-the style we go to first. These are tendencies and should not make you feel limited in the way you communicate.

Moreover, no style is better than another. Any style can be effective depending on the circumstances. A strong team will leverage the strengths of each type so that you can work together the most effectively.

In order to be a powerful and effective communicator, it is important to understand each style and figure out how to adapt your default style to the circumstances at hand.

So let's start by understanding each style. Figure out your style as your read the following descriptions:

What are the four communication styles?

1. Driver

Hard-working and ambitious, drivers tend to be the group leaders who value getting the job done with excellent results. Drivers are apt to be decisive, competitive, hard-driving and good at delegating to others. They like to be where the action is and are likely to enjoy taking risks. Their focus is on winning, being successful and making things happen. They need options and prefer it when others are direct.

On the downside, they can be pushy, demanding, dominating, tough and exclude others from decision-making. Under stress, they become autocratic and order others around.

2. Analytical

Quick to think and slow to speak, the Analytic person values accuracy in the details and likes to be right. This is a person who plans thoroughly before deciding to act, is persistent, highly organized, cautious and logical. The Analytical prefers to work alone and has a tendency to be introverted.

The Analytical person is focused on process, tasks and doing things the right way. They prefer a rational approach, logical thinking, solid documentation and careful planning. The down side is that they have a tendency towards perfectionism and can be critical, picky and stubborn, as well as indecisive. Under stress, they are likely to avoid others.

3. Expressive

The Expressive person loves to have fun and enjoys helping others. This person is full of ideas and can't wait to share them with others. Talkative and open, he asks others for their opinions and loves to brainstorm. This is someone who is flexible and easily bored with routine. The Expressive is optimistic, intuitive, creative and spontaneous and may have a tendency to be flamboyant.

Expressives are focused on the big picture. They love ideas and concepts and thrive on bringing visions into reality. They need innovation and look to others to handle the details. On the downside, they can be overly dramatic, impulsive, a tad flaky and undisciplined.

4. Amiable

Amiable is the relationship style. Amiables focus on the feelings of other people and effective collaboration. People with this style are intuitive and care about how situations "feel". They like consensus, avoid confrontation, and tend to be timid about voicing contrary opinions. Amiable people are good listeners, friendly and sensitive and build networks of friends to help them. They are likely to be slow with big decisions and need a lot of input. They thrive on involvement, participation and inclusion.

On the downside, the Amiable person can be hesitant, unsure of himself and dependent on others. Under stress, they acquiesce or yield to the decisions of others.

How to Use Communication Styles to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Communication

Knowing about the communication styles is helpful in two ways. First, when you know your own default style, you can spot the best opportunities to use that style and build up your strengths. You can also see where you have gaps and where you can improve by learning from the other styles.

Second, once you know about the styles, you can spot someone else's style and adapt the way you communicate in order to get that person on board with you. Eventually, you can learn how to use each style comfortably and maximize the chances that others will follow your suggestions. This is at the heart of great leadership and it is why knowing about the communication styles is a powerful element of great leadership.

Here are some suggestions on how to communicate effectively with each of the four communication styles.


When you communicate with a Driver, be sure to tell her about progress to goals, the actions to be taken and solutions to problems. Avoid chitchat and focus on the bottom-line. Be clear, concise, focused, relevant, decisive and efficient. When working with a driver, here is what you would say if you encounter a problem that may interfere with getting to successful results:

"I know you are pushing to finish this by tomorrow with great results. Based on my research and investigation, I think there might be a hitch. I have some ideas on how to solve that. Would you like to discuss this?


The Analytical person asks for data, information and facts. Therefore, it is important to be precise, specific, thorough, prepared, accurate, rational and orderly in dealing with her. If you want to get the Analytical person's attention, you might say something like this:

"The research and data seems inconsistent with our initial concept. I have two ideas that would improve the quality and timeliness of the project. I need 15 minutes of your time. Can we meet today at 4:00?


Expressives thrive on vision, stories and analogies and love to have fun while working on projects. Therefore, when communicating with an expressive person, be sure to focus on the big picture. Deliver your message in a way that is enthusiastic, expressive, friendly, flexible and open to possibilities. Avoid getting bogged down in too many details!

"I've got a fabulous idea to make our project fabulous and knock it out of the ball park. Do you have a minute to talk?"


Your amiable friend or colleague cares deeply about the relationship. He is interested in information about others' skills and interests, valuing input from others and welcoming feedback. In dealing with the Amiable person, be sure to be warm, relaxed, involving, caring and inviting. This is the person to go to if there are tensions on the team, whether that is a string quartet or a work group! A way to get his attention is to say:

"I have a strong feeling that there is something bothering you about the team. Would you like to hear my thoughts on how we might help everyone out here so that we can make sure that everyone is on board?

With a better understanding of each style, see how you can master these styles and become a dynamic and powerful communicator and leader!


Astrid Baumgardner, JD, PCC is a Certified Professional Life & Career Coach and Lawyer working with musicians, lawyers and creative professionals to help them achieve authentic success, life balance, better time management and productivity. Sign up for her free newsletter with tips on how you can achieve authentic success at

(C) Astrid Baumgardner 2011

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

360 leadership surveys... Final thoughts

Management guru Peter Drucker said "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." The best leaders are highly effective at executing. They make important things happen and they get things done.

Well-designed Leadership Surveys include questions about both the management and leadership roles of your organization’s leaders, from executive management down to first-line supervisors. 360 leadership surveys assess leadership effectiveness from the perspective of your organization’s employees. Successful, highly profitable companies have highly effective leaders, from the top to the bottom of their organization. No other factor can substitute for weak leadership.

Some organizations only conduct a 360 survey occasionally for one individual leader at a time because the leader is highly ineffective and the perception of the leader is low. For more forward looking organizations, 360 leadership surveys offer a significantly greater opportunity to understand organization-wide leadership strengths and weaknesses, and to elevate leadership effectiveness across their organization.

Organizations that want to learn about their leaders and what needs to be done to strengthen company leadership at all levels of their organization can conduct 360 leadership assessment surveys for many or all of their leaders at the same time, or over a narrowly defined timeframe such as a quarter or two.

These organization-wide 360 leadership surveys provide companies with two critical types of leadership effectiveness information and insight:

1. Each leader receives anonymous feedback from their direct reports, their peers and more senior-level leaders including the leader's manager. The 360 leadership feedback is for a comprehensive list of leadership criteria using the same criteria for all leaders. This is important because it enables comparison of leadership strengths and weaknesses across your organization. Leaders receive ratings on their leadership effectiveness along with comments and perceptions based on first-hand experience of the people providing the 360 feedback. Leaders become aware of how they are perceived, providing them with useful information and insight that enables them to strengthen their leadership effectiveness.

Leaders also complete a self-evaluation, enabling them to compare how they see themselves with how others perceive them.

2. Senior management and HR receive comprehensive leadership effectiveness information and insight that identifies leadership strengths and weaknesses by demographics across the organization.

360 Leadership Assessment Surveys typically include feedback on 20-35 leadership and management effectiveness criteria. Following is a sample of the leadership criteria included in 360 leadership surveys: integrity, respect for others, charisma, vision, fairness, consideration for others, leading diverse employees, intellectual stimulation, courage, loyalty, dependability, self confidence, flexibility, judgment, perseverance/tenacity, mentoring and developing, decision making, communications, negotiation, delegation, empowerment, decisiveness, goal setting, assessing risks and execution/getting things done.

Organization-wide 360 Leadership Surveys provide the following benefits for your organization:

  • Increasing organizational effectiveness, employee satisfaction and engagement, and reduced voluntary employee attrition as a result of having stronger, more effective leaders
  • Providing leaders with anonymous feedback for increasing effectiveness
  • Creating and maintaining an organizational leadership competency database
  • Identifying training and development needs for each leader and the organization overall
  • Identifying high-potential leaders for new assignments and to lead or participate in projects
  • Focusing recruiting and hiring based on organizational leadership needs
  • Gaining information for increasing leadership effectiveness at all levels of your organization
  • Identifying weak leaders that need to significantly increase their leadership performance or be replaced
  • Having the ability to evaluate and rank leaders based on their leadership competencies
  • Using 360 leadership survey data for succession planning
  • Using leadership to create a competitive advantage

Final thoughts about 360 degree leadership surveys:

At most organizations, people are their most important and most costly asset. Strengthening leadership across the organization significantly elevates the performance of all employees, boosting the bottom line. For organizations that want or need to become significantly more competitive and profitable, one of the best and most cost-effective things they can do is to conduct organization wide 360 leadership surveys.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Qualities to Be an Effective Leader

Due to the increasing number of businesses and organizations today, it is actually a big query to us all exactly how particular individuals started to be efficient enough upon creating their own approach to the corporate world. These people were not just privileged, despite the fact that good fortune offers participation upon achieving their dreams. These people have certain characteristics as well as attitudes which assisted them along the way and it was these kinds of attributes that led all of them to surpass each difficulty and problems. Stated below are essentially the most common and incredibly crucial qualities a particular person needs to have so that he can certainly be a great leader and manager.

Management: This is the primary component to become a successful person. Having excellent authority is highly respected by his colleagues. Management skills include your character of being organized and stable upon doing any kind of work.

Decisions: He is the type of person to look for whenever it involves creating healthy choices. He is the kind of person which analyses almost everything first prior to making a choice.

Determined: This individual doesn't permit anything or even any person to interfere with their method. Being a good leader demands a lot of guts and courage to beat all the difficulties that can come on his organization.

Competent: Great skills is a must to be capable of maintaining as well as controlling a business especially if it's an insurance company, because this requires more skills and proper planning.

Socially Motivated: He isn't timid to deal with different types of individuals. He should be agreeable as well as friendly neighbour type.

Persuading Power: This is among the qualities that are not easy to get. It takes significantly practice and only a few has this particular gift. The power with regards to convincing sets a vital function upon generating the people's trust and causing them to be convinced.

Being a manager or leader is basically one of the toughest things that an individual could be. It takes a lot of exercise, skills and imagination. One of the things that you can do to be one is to obtain books with guides and pointers upon developing your skills. Among the best methods for understanding is simply by attending training courses upon self-development so that you will be able to have knowledge upon all your capacities and skills. It is then that you would know if you are qualified to be an effective leader or not.