Knowing Your Communication Style and Drivers

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Throughout my 25 years in the workforce I have noticed many changes in how I interact with others. The longer I’ve been in the workforce, the more I’ve realised how important it is to know and understand your own communication style.

When I started my current role my new manager provided me with a document outlining his communication style and what I can expect when interacting with him. As I’ve moved between teams and projects, I’ve discovered how useful it is to have this document both to refer back to, and to help others understand interactions with him.

After seeing how useful this document is, I decided to write a similar document, although in my case I feel it is necessary to divide it into two documents. One document will cover my communication style, and the other will cover my drivers.

# Communication Style Document

Everybody’s communication style document will be different. The differences will be influenced by your level of seniority in your role, activities you enjoy, and personality factors.

For someone in an entry-level or junior role your communications document will likely focus more on how you best receive information. At this stage of your career a large portion of your role is about learning and absorbing information, by knowing how you effectively receive information and communicating this to your team, leaders and managers you can help them to provide you with the information you require to perform your role.

As you progress through your career, you will add sections about the dissemination of information, as well as gathering information as part of decision making processes.

The move in to leadership will result in the deprioritisation of your preferences for receiving information (part of your role as a leader is to adapt to how others are most comfortable in communicating with you), and will move to highlighting how you prefer to provide information to others.

In my case I find that a large portion of my job requires me to gather, digest and transform information; and I need to communicate with both technical and non-technical stakeholders. I am also seeking to move into a leadership role; I am active at a number of meetups that encompass presentations, mentoring and other communications; and I am also an active blogger. With this combination of duties and interests I have decided to break my communication style document into a section for each type of communication and an additional one with a summary of my communication preferences. You can check out my document at My Communication Style.

# Drivers Document

Your drivers document will change throughout the course of your career and as your interests change, but the timing of change will be different to your communication style document. This document helps to provide context for your communication style and can also help to define your career path.

Early in your career this document will likely focus on learning and the aspects of why you chose to work in your chosen field. As you career progresses the document may become more focussed, or you may change it completely.

In my case my drivers for a number of years were about delivering quality code and solutions that work to the customer’s requirements. Over time this morphed to become a lot more outcome focussed, my drivers became centred around providing the best solution for a customer’s problem. More recently my drivers have changed again to become focussed on helping others to be the best they can be. Check out my current My Drivers document.