How a Communication Style Assessment Helped a Struggling Admin Team

How a Communication Style Assessment Helped a Struggling Admin Team


Communication assessments benefit the workplace

HRDQ’s What’s My Communication Style? communication style assessment tool has offered many managers and employees the opportunity to learn their own style and develop a way to better communicate with others.

The Problem

Gary Turner, an award-winning trainer and consultant, used What’s My Communication Style? to help a large company with a morale issue in its administrative team. The HR manager contacted Turner and told him she suspected that the complaints, which were mostly interpersonal in nature, were the result of recent organizational changes. She reported that within the previous year, productivity had dropped and job satisfaction was low.

The Approach

“I recognized these symptoms from past training experience, [so] I recommended to the client that they administer What’s My Communication Style? as a diagnostic tool and starting point for intervention,” Turner said. “The online assessment identifies personal communication style, and, in this case, was used to profile the mix of styles within the administrative team.”

The program also gave individuals a practical tool for learning the types of communication and how to better adapt their style to improve communication and relationships with their peers. As expected, the assessment results confirmed that the team was made up of a variety of communication styles. But one metric stood out as a possible cause for the team’s problems: a very low ‘Spirited’ score.

The Scores

The team’s scores revealed whether they were direct, spirited, systematic, or considerate. The behaviors of each are as follows:

  • Direct – Direct people have high assertiveness and low expressiveness. They like to lead with a decisive tone and they put an emphasis on the bottom line.
  • Spirited – Spirited people have high assertiveness and high expressiveness. They have an animated speaking style and may be very persuasive.
  • Systematic – Systematic people have low assertiveness and low expressiveness. They tend to be precise and factual at work.
  • Considerate – Considerate people have low assertiveness and high expressiveness. They usually listen well and are supportive to others.

The team scored slightly above average in the ‘Direct,’ ‘Considerate,’ and ‘Systematic’ styles, but it scored very low in the ‘Spirited’ (which indicates a person who is enthusiastic, enjoys teamwork, focuses on the big picture, and is open to alliance building) style. A low Spirited score typically indicates individuals who are competitive, resistant to change, and terse with others. These personality characteristics were in-line with the behavior that the human resources team observed among the administrative team.

Turner developed a training session targeted at addressing the trouble spots and challenges teams face when the Spirited style is underdeveloped. He also performed individual coaching sessions focused on reducing competitive behavior and helping the team work together more collaboratively.

The Results

There was an immediate improvement in productivity for both the administrative and human resource teams following the intervention. Within just three months, the human resources team reported a 90 percent drop in the number of administrative team complaints. Not only did the administrative team improve its job satisfaction, productivity, and morale, but the human resources team is now able to focus its efforts in other areas.

How it Works

‘What's My Communication Style?’ starts with a self-assessment (a communication style inventory) that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Participants respond to 24 different items relating to both verbal and nonverbal communication by selecting the statement that best reflects their own communication behavior. Each response is scored, providing individuals with a total summary for each of the four personal communication styles: direct, spirited, considerate, and systematic.

The majority of participants will show a clear preference for one of the communication styles, which becomes their dominant style. This communication style inventory is followed by a one hour of interpretation of scores, topic discussion, debriefing, and action planning. The ‘What's My Communication Style?’ facilitator guide also offers a workshop outline that expands the assessment into a 1.5-hour classroom training program.

After completing the program, participants will be able to identify a preference for one of four communication styles, uncover the characteristics of each style, discover how style affects communication, learn how to "speed read" a person's dominant communication style and understand how to "flex" their own style for effective communication with others.

Learn more

What's My Communication Style is a powerful centerpiece for management development and interpersonal skills training. The communications assessment is part of the bestselling HRDQ Style Series and provides practical training that enables lasting insights into how to gain mastery over one's own communication behavior and how to interpret the behavior of others in any situation.

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