5 bad communicators in the workplace

bad communictor

In a recent employee survey of over 500 people, a HR company found that if employees were the CEO for the day their number one change would be communication in the office.

Bad communication in the workplace seems to be an epidemic but what most leaders may not know is that by understanding the different communication styles of individuals this outbreak of bad communication can be eradicated.

With this in mind, we’ve listed five bad communicators that you will find in every office. By understanding these repeat offenders, it will assist you in working towards a more collaborative and transparent workplace.

The Dominator

This offender often comes across as very direct and someone who says exactly what they think. They are very good at asserting their own opinions and have a habit of speaking over other people.  The Dominator is typically results-oriented and has a very clear idea of what the outcome should be and how to achieve it.

When communicating with a Dominator it is best to keep it simple, be direct and get straight to the point. Remove emotions from your communication and don’t take the Dominators approach personally.

The Storyteller

This bunch needs you to feel, believe and engage with their story and will explain things in such a way to draw in their audience without placing a lot of importance on the facts. This type of communication can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, not to mention frustration about the time the Storyteller takes to communicate information.

When communicating with a Storyteller try to schedule additional time for the conversation. Show emotion (excitement, empathy etc.) and allow them to do the same. Ensure that at the end of the conversation the outcomes or requirements are clearly defined and understood by all parties. This may require some direct and specific questioning from you.

The Withholder

Communication from the Withholder will typically lack important details and information which can leave others unsure of specific outcomes or requirements. When others ask further questions or request information the Withholder tends to get frustrated and defensive as they find it hard to understand why others need in-depth information.

Working with a Withholder can be seen as inefficient as there is often a need for rework because not all information is provided in the first instance.

If you are engaged with a Withholder, ask questions but ensure they are targeted and specific. Explain why you require further clarification or information and make sure both parties are clear of what the expected outcome or process is.

The Dilly-Dallier

This style leaves communication to the last minute but expects their late requests be actioned in a flash. They can sometimes appear flustered and rushed and can often leave out details because there isn’t enough time to be specific. Dilly-Dalliers aren’t concerned with the process they just need something done.

They can’t always see why other people get frustrated with being thrown in at the last minute because they themselves wouldn’t bat an eyelash in the same situation.

Confirm deadlines with Dilly-Dalliers and don’t be afraid to check in to see what progress has been made. Help eliminate fearful thinking and avoidant behaviours in order to shift their focus to achieving a required outcome through reiterating the need for process.

The Antagonist

This type is often very defensive and aggressive in communication. The Antagonist will snap quickly at others when questioned and will quite often be very negative in their communication, offending others with their statements like “I have to redo this because you clearly didn’t understand what needed to be done” or “she never seems to get it right, why is she here”.

Antagonists have a need to elevate their status by putting others down.

When communicating with an Antagonist stay focused on the facts and the outcomes. The Antagonist will flourish in environments where others buy into their behaviour. It’s important to remind the Antagonist that we are all here to achieve the same goal – working against each other will only hinder that.

So next time you feel that you are dealing with one of these communicators in the workplace, try one of these strategies to get the most out of your conversation and become a business that thrives on great communication.

5 thoughts on “5 bad communicators in the workplace

  1. Doug Picirillo

    This is very interesting and contains some very helpful insights. Do these five types represent the majority of communication styles across all demographics? If so, there surely must be some great strengths associated with each.

    For those who would like to know more, are these categories and conclusions based on some body of research?

    Reply
    • Kerine Nightingale

      These five styles represent the prodominant styles we come across and you are absolutely right, each have so many great strengths and we find when each of the styles truely understand each others strengths the communication and working relationships improve significantly.

      We compiled this data and research over a period 4 years conducting one on one and team behavioual assessments prodominantly in the SME sector.

      Reply
  2. Martin Gysler

    An interesting post, thank you.

    The lack of communication is, in my opinion, not only a problem of managers and leaders, but a problem of almost all mankind. If you ask someone if there is good communication in the business, the risk is great that he said “no.” But if you ask the same person what they want to do to change the situation, the answer is often, “I do not know” or “nothing” … I think this is the great challenge of our society, to change this mindset.

    Reply
    • Kerine Nightingale

      I could not agree more and we come across this all the time. As mentioned in the article improved communication is the number one thing employees (that we have surveyed) at all levels would change if they have the power. What they don’t understand is in some way each and every person in an organisation has the power to change and improve communication.

      Reply

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