According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly two-thirds of managers are uncomfortable communicating to their employees — which can have a negative effect on productivity and efficiency. Fortunately, new research shows that most companies fall into four team communication styles.
In business as in relationships, effective communication is crucial to success.
Developing and maintaining good team communication is the responsibility of team members and leaders alike, but it’s a challenge that compounds as the world becomes increasingly multicultural and multilingual.
For these reasons and others, language learning programs like Babbel for Business will offer more benefits to aid team communication, no matter the predominant style.
1. Analytical Communication
According to researcher and author Mark Murphy, an analytical communication style is typified by a preference for data and objectivity. Analytical communicators prefer to see facts and figures to make decisions, which can be a challenge for teammates and team leaders who communicate more emotionally or intuitively.
While approaching these team members using facts and data is usually the best way to proceed, this can be difficult when team leaders don’t share the same native language. To bridge this gap, language learning can be a great tool — particularly because studies show that it can boost analytic thinking skills in the language being acquired. While this is undoubtedly helpful for employees, team leaders also benefit when everyone on a given team shares a common language.
2. Intuitive Communication
Unlike analytical communication, intuitive communicators are less detail-oriented and more focused on the big picture. Rather than looking at every tiny detail, they want a general idea of what needs to be accomplished and need room to solve problems on their own. Perhaps more than any other type, language learning can boost these team members’ strengths while padding out their weaknesses.
To communicate successfully with intuitive communicators, team leaders must be able to express a rich sense of purpose in the work, which may mean jumping between many topics to show their connections. Bilingual speakers have an advantage here as well since, according to research, language learning has creativity-boosting effects and enables learners to make connections between disparate topics more easily. For big-picture thinkers, these skills are invaluable — and to communicate with those people effectively, team leaders must also use those same skills.
3. Functional Communication
Team members with a functional communication style are active listeners who focus on the process more than anything else. They are attentive to steps, processes, and systems, though they may still be less attentive to very specific details — in this way, they are somewhat of a blend between the intuitive and analytical styles.
Successfully managing these team members requires active listening, particularly when they offer criticism of the process — and again, language learning sets a foundation for these kinds of situations. As a study published in Cognition showed, bilingual speakers have an enhanced ability to focus on and process complex information in high-conflict situations, particularly when compared to monolingual speakers.
4. Personal Communication
Finally, a personal communication style is one that values interpersonal connections, emotions, and relationships above all else. These team members are often the glue within a team, holding everyone together and relating to everyone — but it also means they don’t respond as well to facts, statistics, and extreme detail.
Without a doubt, language learning can help create a better work environment for these team members. Learning another language automatically means learning another culture and developing intercultural fluency, but research shows that it can also increase cognitive empathy, a huge boon for any team leader looking to connect with their employees.
Language Learning: The Ultimate Team Communication Training Tool
While how teams communicate is an endless area of discussion, these four key communication styles highlight some of the most common tendencies — and for all four, language learning can offer great benefits to improve the process. As the business world grows more international and competitive, communication is more important than ever. With Babbel for Business, companies can build cohesion by having team leaders and members learn a new language together or at their own pace.
Lilly Miner, Expert for Digital Learning
Lilly focuses on different learning methods. Whether online learning or blended learning – the motivation of the learners is particularly important to her.