‘We are going to determine what colours we are’, was the answer given by my colleague, when asked what the teambuilding day was about. To be perfectly honest, I am not thrilled to sit down and watch a pallet of colours pass by, which describe our personality and communication preferences by putting a label on them.
There are different approaches on determining what kind of communication style someone prefers. It can be done by using colours, elements or by describing the main qualities such as analytical, inspirational, or controlling. There are different models that classify a different number of communication styles. The results are supposed to give a representation of the different approaches people have when it comes to communicating.
Knowing each other’s communication styles can improve the quality of meetings. During meetings, I usually keep track of the minutes, apparently a task no one seems to enjoy doing. It is always the same people who speak their mind, who hold their tongues, and who incidentally decide to join the conversation. And it causes friction at times, depending on the topic and who is speaking.
The four styles that I use during my training with clients identified the following communication styles: analytical, directive, expressive and supportive.
Analytical types are often characterized by being a bit more distant and careful in their wording to others, can sometimes even come across as emotionless, and they like to know the reasons and motivations before acting.
Directive types are often goal orientated, can be a bit impatient, tend to stay on top of things and like to control the things they do. They can come across as being blunt.
Expressive types are often full of ideas, tend to speak their minds without thinking it through, they are often full of energy and can motivate others too. Their conversation may tend to go all over the place and listening to others is sometimes more difficult.
Supporting types are often considered as friendly and caring people. They are sensitive to the atmosphere within a team. They are calm and prefer harmony to conflict. They tend to help others even when the extra workload is something they cannot combine with their own work. Saying no is difficult for them.
These four styles are often linked to the colours: blue for analytical; red for directive; yellow for expressive; and green for supporting types.
Understanding the communication styles of my colleagues may not necessarily make it easier or less annoying to communicate, but it does help in not being exhausted at the end of a conversation. During meetings, it can help prevent an endless discussion that does not lead to anything productive. So, even though I do not look forward to the whole discover your colour teambuilding event, I do see the value it can offer.
Sonja Schaap: https://www.sonjaschaap.nl/2015/10/05/kleur-bekennen-wat-is-jouw-communicatiestijl/