How often do you feel frustrated that your manager just doesn’t seem to listen to you or is not interested in your ideas? Do you blame the manager for not understanding you? What if it is actually you who needs to adapt?
When we are fresh out of university and first join a new workplace, communication is often the most important skill to learn, and also the skill that people seem to struggle with most. Effective communication is not just talking; more importantly, it is also how we talk. Our direct managers are probably the colleagues that we talk to the most – but do we really know how to communicate with them? Do they receive the messages we try to send?
I believe that it is we who need to adapt our communication style based on the type of manager we’re dealing with so that we can be more successful in our roles and enjoy more positive interaction with our managers, especially when trying to sell a new initiative to our managers. In this article, I am going to share 4 types of managers and techniques on how to communicate with them. These four personality types are enthusiast, analytical, controller, and amiable. The personality-type quadrant is broadly divided up by two variables: Introverted/extroverted, and emotional/logical.
Source: LinkedIn Learning
Enthusiast managers – emotional and extroverted
Those managers with enthusiast type are visionaries. They’re inspiring big-thinkers, but they can also be very disorganized and change their minds quickly.
To resonate with them, you could outline a new and exciting plan for them, being careful to illustrate the benefits of carrying out this plan.
They are probably not going to be interested in the details, so you should look to sort out all the “boring stuff” yourself.
Analytical managers – logical and introverted
This type of manager is normally very quiet and a logical thinker. They tend to be risk-averse.
When you are communicating with them, you should support your views by providing them with lots of facts, figures, information, and reason. As they normally have a low-risk tolerance, you should highlight the risk of not taking any action.
To communicate with an analytical manager, you can structure your message in a very logical way and ignore the “sales talk”. You’re more likely to get your way with a few well-thought-out bullet points.
Controller managers – logical and extroverted
Controllers make quick decisions with a small number of facts.
When selling an idea to this type of manager, remember to provide a short summary of your research.
A second strategy is making it easy for them to say “yes” by doing lots of preparation work. For example, if you think the company should be subscribing to a certain type of software, you could compare competitors, find the best offers within the market, and fill in the necessary forms ahead of time. That way, all the manager needs to do is simply to sign the form.
When dealing with a controller, you always want to simplify their decision.
Amiable managers – emotional and introverted
Managers with amiable personality types are usually very nice and caring. They are not difficult to deal with.
They focus on psychological safety and people’s happiness. When trying to sell an initiative to these types of managers, we could mention how this initiative could make the team happy.
In addition, they are also not risk seekers. If possible, you should provide some examples of how other companies or teams have implemented the initiative, proving that it works well for them.
Personality mismatches happen in the workplace every day, and if you and your manager have a mismatch, it can be scary interacting with them. For example, if you are amiable and your boss is a controller, you might find them very rude and scary.
If this happens, first ask yourself this question: is it just me? Does your manager treat other colleagues the same? If they treat everyone the same, it probably means that’s just their way of communication. This is good news! You can use your new understanding of their personality type and some of the above techniques to improve your own communication and adjust to their style.
If you feel that they treat you worse than others on your team, try to reflect on your performance, or if anything else went wrong. It often doesn’t hurt to ask them if they have any guidance or feedback for you!
To become more successful as young professionals, we can monitor our managers’ language, and match our communication to their personality types to communicate more effectively with them.
The golden rule with communication is always to practice empathy! If you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes to try and understand their perspective, your conversations are likely to be a lot more effective and rewarding.
Christine Pillay says
Loved this! Wish I had this in my toolbox earlier. As an introvert myself I have always found these types of conversations intimidating and lack of communication definitely didn’t play out well for me. Great tips 🙂
Yi Su says
Thank you, Christine!
Great first post, Yi Su! It’s much more rewarding to look inwards and change ourselves than to blame our leaders for not understanding us!
Yi Su says
Thank you, Mark!