Styles of Communication

There are different styles of communication.  There is a definite preferred method over the alternatives and all leaders should strive for it.

1. The developmental style – involves a mutual sharing of information among equals. The communication moves back and forth, with each person trying to convey his ideas and to understand those of others. Each person is open-minded and receptive to the ideas of others. The communication seeks to inform and to stimulate others. The developmental communicator seeks out the ideas of others and explores them with interest by asking questions, reflecting on the opinions he hears, and showing support. He encourages others to talk, seeks mutual understanding of a situation, and looks for new approaches to problems. This is almost always the best style.

2. The controlling style – has the communicator assuming the primary role. Most of the communication flows from him out to others. He assumes that his ideas are the best and he tries to sell them to others and to dominate the situation. This style is best when one person has most of the information and experience, when the speed of decision-making is important, and when unity is not necessary.

3. The relinquishing style – gets along good with the controlling style. The relinquished prefers to stay in the background and shift the responsibility for the conversation and any decision to others. He readily accepts the input from others and gives up his own ideas and convictions. He is really not interested in discussing a problem. He contributes very little to the communication process. He will use accommodation and try to comply with the wishes of others.

4. The withdrawal style – avoids contact with others. He withdraws and quits contributing to the conversation.

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