What Are the 4 Types of Communication Styles in the Workplace?

Communicating with people effectively in the workplace is key to helping make tasks go as smoothly as possible for all parties involved. Understanding your communication style and the styles of others is an important factor in being able to do this successfully.

Here are the 4 types of communication styles, what to expect when working with them, and how to get access to employee training to improve communication across the board.

1. Passive

Passive people typically do not like confrontation and will do whatever they can do avoid it, whether positive or negative. They’re often people-pleasers who don’t want to upset anyone and would rather burden themselves than someone else. They may have passive communication and may be dishonest with themselves and others about their emotions and how they feel about a particular person, place, or thing.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

A passive person at work may:

  • Take on tasks they don’t have the bandwidth for
  • Blame themselves for problems at work that they aren’t involved in
  • Not volunteer for jobs or tasks, even if it’s something they enjoy doing
  • Readily accept criticism, even when it is undue
  • Do whatever they can to keep peace in the workplace

2. Passive Aggressive  

A passive aggressive person also does not like confrontation, but generally isn’t a people-pleaser and has little desire to go out of their way to benefit someone else. In fact, they may be a little off-putting or short in their speech or mannerisms as they often don’t try to be overly polite. They tend to show aggression in passive ways that have plausible deniability.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

A passive aggressive person at work may:

  • Take on a task they don’t enjoy doing and do it poorly to get back at the person who assigned it to them
  • Discreetly suggest others might be to blame for a problem in the workplace
  • Make catty comments about tasks or coworkers they don’t like
  • Fail to communicate their needs directly to their supervisors
  • Act in unpredictable ways

3. Aggressive

An aggressive communicator has no qualms about confrontation, positive or negative; in fact, negative may be more welcome. Aggressive people can be very motivated to perform well but may have an angry outburst if they aren’t able to meet their own high expectations of themselves.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

An aggressive person at work may:

  • Directly blame someone else for a problem in the workplace
  • Start arguments with coworkers instead of calmly talking through disagreements
  • Use others to get ahead
  • Appoint themselves as a team or group leader without consulting management or being assigned as a leader
  • Talk over others during meetings

4. Assertive

An assertive communication style is often the easiest to engage with, but it’s the one that comes the least naturally. Most people have to put in a solid amount of effort into learning and consistently using assertive communication skills. However, this often pays off in droves when working with others.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

An assertive person at work may:

  • Appropriately express honesty and tactfulness when discussing work-related tasks
  • Be quiet yet confident in their own abilities to do their job
  • Feel empathetic towards other team members who may be struggling and offer them a helping hand
  • Help delegate and distribute work evenly among employees
  • Maintain a respectful demeanor in the workplace most or all of the time

Help Your Team Communicate Better with Employee Training Webinars from Business Watch Network

Good communication is one of the most important aspects of a well-functioning team, especially now that many teams are and will continue to work remotely. However, many employees need help finding out what communication style they use and how they may be able to improve it to better understand others and help others understand them.

Related Webinar: Walk That Walk and Talk That Talk: What the Most Confident Leaders Do and Say

Business Watch Network offers 24/7/365 on-demand recorded webinars to help you train employees when it’s most convenient for your company. We also offer live webinars for maximum engagement with your team. Browse our plethora of resources now to learn how to better support your team or contact BWN to find out how to use webinar training to enhance their skill sets.

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