At DuMore, we frequently hear from our coaching clients and workshop participants that conflicts occur in the workplace due to different working styles. Work style can be referred to as the way we think, structure, organize, and complete our work. It’s the way that businesses operate, grow, and thrive today.
If we all had the same styles, though, it would be difficult to get things done. Organizations actually need the diversity of style as different styles are more suited for specific tasks. One thing we’ve observed that works well is acknowledging these differences within our teams as a way to set the stage for making progress and moving forward.
So if you find yourself either joining a new team, hiring a new member of your team, or being asked to serve on a task force or a committee, a clearing of the air regarding work styles can be a really helpful way to get started out on the right foot.
Allison has had numerous opportunities to try out this technique and the results are always very helpful. She has shared her preferred work style with her team on a few topics, such as:
- Office Hours – “I’m up and working by 8am but don’t expect to physically see me in the office until a few hours later, as I like the solitude and quiet of home to prepare for the day before entering busy work environment.”
- Meeting Requests – “When someone requests to meet with me, I prefer to know the agenda /topic of the meeting first so I can better prepare. In the past I’ve had supervisors who just have their assistant call to say, ‘they want to meet with you right now but I don’t know what about’.” So if you call a meeting, key people in on the topic in advance.
- Sharing Files – “Shared document editing drives me bonkers. But in my world, that’s a way of life for many of the folks with whom I engage, so I’ve had to learn to adapt to their style of sharing to accommodate their preferences, i.e., I’ve had to learn new things.”
- Data Requests – “If data is needed from my office, please allow me adequate time to prepare instead of waiting to the last minute to request and then causing our office to panic due to lack of time needed.”
- Vacation Leave – “I’ve shared with supervisors that, with 3 adult children in 3 different states, plus parents 6 hours away, most of my leave is to spend time with family. So when I’m away, I’m truly unplugged. I also give plenty of heads up / notice when I’m going to be out so that my team can be prepared for my absence and ask any important info of me before I’m out.”
- Analytical Work (Math) – “To be able to complete tasks that I don’t find fun, my team knows I cope best with challenging work by playing music to help my mood. So if they come to my office and I have dance music or opera blasting, they ascertain that I’m deep into challenging work and they should come back another time”.
Being specific about your needs, and then inquiring about the needs of your team mates and understanding them, can go a long way towards building cohesion and trust. No harm in being up front as your manager and direct reports will likely appreciate the insight you shared and will therefore be more willing to share their own.According to Fast Company, there are a few “types” of office work styles.
Four Basic Types of Work Styles:
- Logical, analytical, linear, and data-oriented.
- Organized, sequential, planned, and detailed-oriented.
- Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented.
- Big picture, integrative, and ideation-oriented.
Which one is yours? And does your team know it?