How Communication Styles Affect Your Business

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How Communication Styles Affect Your Business

Communication is an important aspect of all areas of a person’s life. A business relies upon communication. An employer needs to clearly communicate their directions to employees. Employees need to communicate with both their employers and fellow employees. It is also necessary to communicate with customers. Each person has a different style of communication which can be a result of inborn temperament, life experiences or cultural background. Each culture has a unique communication style, which can cause friction when two people of separate cultures interact. Communication is not just verbal. There are nonverbal behavioral cues which play into communication styles. These cues also differ from culture to culture and even from region to region within the same culture. The most common communication styles are aggressive, assertive, passive-aggressive, manipulative and submissive.

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The Aggressive, Assertive and Passive-Aggressive Styles

Communication Styles-AggressiveThe aggressive communication style is loud and dominating. Things have to be done the way the aggressive communicator wants them to be and they rarely listen to others. They are often described as being frightening or hostile. This is not the sort of individual anyone would want to work with!

The assertive communication style is confident without being domineering. An assertive communicator respects the rights of others, but at the same time recognizes that they also have value. They express their needs clearly, without resorting to such tactics as manipulation or aggressive displays. This is the healthiest and most effective communication style. Assertive communicators make effective leaders.

Communication-Styles-AssertiveThe passive-aggressive communication style is on the opposite end from the aggressive communication style. The passive-aggressive communicator is spiteful, while outwardly passive. They are just as harmful as the aggressive communicator, but in a different way. Rather than being outwardly aggressive, the passive-aggressive communicator will more subtly undermine their real or perceived opponents. They may accomplish this through gossip, sulking or sarcasm.

The Manipulative and Submissive Styles

The manipulative communication style is one in which the communicator controls others in ways in which the other person is not aware. They are cunning and experts in mind games. They use communication as a way of making others do what they want. This individual may be a sociopath or have some other personality disorder. Like the aggressive communicator, you do not want to work with this individual!

Communication Styles-SubmissiveThe submissive communicator is the exact opposite of the aggressive communicator. They do not value their own needs and do not communicate their needs. They are apologetic, refuse to accept compliments and yield easily to the needs of others. They feel like a victim and that they have no power in their lives.

Communication Styles at Work

The healthiest communication style is the assertive style, but most people fall somewhere in the middle of these styles or use different styles for different situations. How can you encourage your employees to be more assertive? It depends on the type of employees you have. If you have a very submissive or passive-aggressive employee, you need to encourage them to express their feeling and needs. You can do this by asking for their feedback. This lets them know that their opinions are valued and they do not need to be afraid to express themselves. When the submissive or passive-aggressive communicator does speak up in a way that is both clear and healthy they should be given reinforcement. Simply thanking them for sharing could be enough.

Everyone has a unique communication style. What’s yours? #Communication #Business Click To Tweet

The aggressive and manipulative communicators are more difficult to work with, but it is not impossible. It is key to establish boundaries with these individuals. With aggressive employees, remember to stay in control and calm. If you become angry, it will only serve to make the aggressive employee angrier. This will only escalate the situation. However, you should not avoid conflict. When conflict becomes inevitable you should remain calm, but also be firm. If you remain calm, it is likely that they will eventually calm down as well because their will be no metaphorical fuel for their fire.

The most difficult communicator to work with is the manipulative communicator. While it is difficult to work with this individual, that does not make it impossible. The major thing to look out for when dealing with this communicator is the mind games they will try to play. Once you are aware of these mind games, it is easier to deal with the manipulative communicator. A manipulator will make themselves out to be the victim. They may make you feel guilty. There are multiple ways to deal with this individual. First, you can remove yourself from a conversation with this person if it is possible. This will give you time to think of a way to deal with them.

The manipulator works by playing with your emotions. The more emotional you are, the more clouded your judgment becomes. The manipulator will take advantage of this. When your mind is calm, you will be more able to see through this individual’s manipulations. Be as direct as possible and call them out when they are trying to manipulate you. You can tell them to speak to you directly. As with the aggressive communicator, you have to set up boundaries with this individual.

One might wonder why they would want certain communicators around. The aggressive, passive-aggressive and manipulative communicators are particularly problematic. However, they do have positive qualities. The aggressive communicator has a great deal of energy which can be channeled in a productive direction. The passive-aggressive and manipulative communicators are characterized by cunning which takes intelligence. This can also be channeled in a productive direction.


Everyone has a unique communication style which can have both benefits and drawbacks. Generally, a person’s communication style has helped them throughout their life. It can be difficult to change. Many people can change their communication styles if they are put in the right situation. In a small business, nonprofit, or other organization a person will encounter different personality types and communication styles. Through understanding the communication styles of others, and how to work with them, your organization can improve its morale and productivity.


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About Charles

Charles Alexander Neal is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire’s creative writing program. He is a novelist, short story writer and locally produced playwright. He also plays the flute and performed with the Cape Fear Community College orchestra.

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