Leadership | Why your Social Style matters - and how to work it

Why your Social Style matters - and how to work it

Are you an Amiable or an Expressive? A Driver or an Analytical?

Knowing your ‘Social Style’ can transform the way you work. It can help you communicate more effectively to resolve conflict and boost performance, creating stronger relationships with your colleagues and more harmoniously productive teams.   

At its heart is the skill of Versatility, based on recognising your own and others’ Social Style. Versatility is key to successful communication. It’s why the best leaders not only understand their own preferences, but can adapt them to achieve the outcomes they want.

So what is Social Style? And why does becoming a more versatile communicator lead to better relationships and results?

Global learning expert Dr Michael Leimbach shares the findings of almost 50 years’ research.

This shows that people fall equally into one of four communication styles: Driver, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical. Each style is either more or less ‘Tell’ or ‘Ask’ oriented, and more or less ‘Task’ or ‘People’ oriented. When you work easily with someone, you probably share the same Social Style.

Why does this matter? Because Wilson Learning’s latest study (in-depth, across 35 diverse organisations) reveals how leaders’ Social Styles impact on fundamental workplace dynamics, ranging from individual performance and employee/manager relationships to the critical role of trust.

Social Style shapes an employee’s view of an ‘ideal’ manager, as well as the type of support they want and expect. Thoughts on when to involve a group in a decision also differ by Social Style, as does the way in which different Social Styles usually share extra responsibility (and opportunities) within their team.

And the research confirms that knowing your own and others’ Social Styles is particularly useful in three common workplace situations: conflict resolution, performance reviews and efforts to influence or persuade.

What about trust? Assumptions about what erodes and rebuilds trust in the manager/employee relationship also differ by Social Style. A manager who is sensitive to their team’s individual styles will be able to communicate more clearly. They will build more productive relationships. They will drive their organisation’s success.

The good news is that Versatility can be learned and perfected over time, through Wilson Learning’s core Building Relationship Versatility programme. In light of Covid-19, this training is now deliverable from a distance by our expert facilitators, with the option to shift to an in-person approach in its later stages as and when restrictions allow.

Want to learn more, including which Social Style dominates among leaders? It’s not what you think! Download our full article here, for free.

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