Every team has communicators who stand out from the crowd—some might call them loud—and quieter team members who spend more time listening than speaking.
While the quiet listeners may fly under the radar, they are often the ones who bury themselves in work—and make sure everything gets done.
If you're a manager who tends to be vocal and a direct communicator, you may find it challenging to get your quiet staff members to speak up or respond beyond a few monosyllables.
But every opinion on your team matters, and it's essential to keep them involved as much as possible.
Not to mention, those team members that feel heard feel respected and are more likely to be loyal, cooperative, and productive contributors.
Avoid the temptation to view these quiet, hard workers as "pushovers." Nor should they be overlooked as leaders.
Because they tend to prefer harmony over conflict and are more tolerant of differences, they are often well-liked and can form the glue that holds a team together.
Folks who tend to be more aggressive or even charismatic in their communications may be tempted to think that they can railroad or talk over these key team members. And they would be wrong.
Communication tips for boosting your quiet, "S" peeps
Recognizing your quiet team members' personality strengths—and limits—is a great place to start. By acknowledging what everyone brings to the table, you enjoy healthier, more productive relationships across the entire team.
Now, it's time to learn about the "S" personality: sincere, sympathetic, and steadfast. These types are often called Doves.
Looking at the DiSC spectrum of quick vs. process and task vs. relationship, doves prefer to take their time (process) and focus more on harmony (relationships) than on the tasks at hand.
Spotting a Dove
Doves tend to:
Doves' patience and tolerance must be appreciated and acknowledged, so they know they are a valued part of the team, even if they don't have as loud of a voice.
Adjusting your communication style to best suit your Doves
It may be challenging to relate to a dove sometimes if you're an eagle or parrot who prefers quick, to-the-point, or spontaneous communication.
While you may want immediate response and action, remember that doves need more time. This is an opportunity to compromise and leverage your doves' best strengths:
Give doves the space they need to give you the right answer.
Anyone who's a quick processor, like an eagle or parrot, doesn't need the right answer; they just need some solution, FAST. With the idea that, if it's wrong, we'll fix it later.
But for folks who like to process, like doves (and owls, who you'll learn about in our next article, being right is crucial. Because details are important and not hurting people's feelings are important.
Fast processors on your team can be a bit like bulls in a china shop. Slower processors can help balance their pace and reduce potential damage.
As a leader, you have to be a chameleon. It's not that you need to be a phony or give up your point of view—but you have to minimize differences between your and your people's communication styles.
By matching their style, you get the best work out of your people.
If you are an eagle or parrot, try this next time you need to approach a dove about a particular project:
"Hey, how are you? Thanks for your help so far. Can I get you to focus on the finance report this morning, and let's catch up after lunch to finalize."
Instead of bombarding the dove with a demand to meet and go over the report ASAP, give them a little time to process and get organized.
If you are a dove, try this to advocate a bit more for what you need the next time an eagle approaches you with a sudden demand:
"Thank you for letting me know. This is at the top of my to-do list, and I will give it a final look over and then send it to you by 11:00 am. Let's chat afterward and finish it off."
It's polite and friendly but still gives you the chance to say what works for you, instead of bending to please others. Of course, this may not always work if you are on an urgent deadline, but the overall concept is the same: you deserve some time to process so that you can offer your best performance.
Remember, DiSC is not one-size-fits-all. Plenty of people share characteristics of more than one personality. For example, someone may be a D with a little bit of I, or a combination of S and C. Everyone is different, and if you want to learn more about DiSC profiles and how they can help your team, check out the other articles in this series (here and here ) and keep on the lookout for the next article, coming soon.
Every manager deserves the right tools to understand their team's different personalities and how to best communicate with them If this sounds like exactly what your team needs next, schedule a discovery call to learn more, today!