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Workplace Productivity Based on Leadership Communication Styles between Genders

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Published: 16th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Leadership

Workplace Productivity Based on Leadership Communication Styles between Genders


This paper will discuss information relating to leadership communication styles, based on workplace productivity between genders. This paper examines several aspects of communication styles and how different styles affects organizational productivity. Organizational productivity is composed of personality traits, traditional communication, gender differences, and characteristics influencing communication styles. Communication is a part of daily society, business, and personal life. The act of transferring information from one person, or a place, to another defines how people communicate with one another. Today, communication has been the constant while the leadership position has been the variable. Communication styles are a part of life, which play a crucial role in leadership positions within the workplace. Differentiation between genders leads to differing productivity levels, conflict management skills, and verbal and nonverbal communication. Communication fills many roles within an organization, however, the primary function is to influence change and action in regards to the well-being of the organization. Generally, among qualities, a candidate seeking a leadership position typically demonstrates communication as one of their essential qualities. Influencing change positively can be carried out through personality traits via the forms of an individual’s communication style.

Literature Review

Personality Traits

Personality traits help define a genders communication style, there are several factors which play a role in how personality traits are developed. Pearson, Turner, & Todd-Mancillas (1991) reject the notion in which men and women should be encouraged to communicate differently and suggest behavioral flexibility is the key to an active communicator. Successfully responding to numerous situations demands individuals, both feminine and masculine, to amass a variety of communication skills in order to become flexible behaviorally. Various communication situations elicit differing communication strategies while different communication strategies and styles, between genders, add character to personalities.

Within one of the cited sources, psychologists honed in on the idea where there are key factors which serve to form individual personality traits, known as “The Big Five” (Digman, 2000; John et al., 2008). According to Solaja, et al. (2016), the five traits of human personality are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism or emotion stability (OCEAN), commonly considered to be the basic traits of the various facets of an individual’s personality.

The Big Five personality traits are described in detail by Solaja, et al. (2016). Outgoing, imaginative, interested in new things, conforming, and traditional are factors of openness, which are referred to as the dimension. Conscientiousness deals with the range from organized, cautious, and persistent to reckless and weak. The third of these traits, extraversion, deals with people who favor group activities, friends, as well as social ventures. Introverts, the inverse of extroverts, prefer isolation, smalls groups, and remaining at home. Agreeableness is a trait which represents the range of extremes from mellow all the way to stubborn. For example, people whom show a high degree of agreeableness are helpful, compassionate to others, and understanding. The last trait would be neuroticism, referred to as emotional stability, which deals with the realm of an individual’s state of mind, emotionally.  Someone with low neuroticism could be looked at as being withdrawn and perhaps unwilling to show emotions (Solaja, et al., 2016). With the above stated, these traits help form human personalities by creating a stable foundation for a person’s communication style.

Communication styles are formed from personality traits, leading to consistency in behavior. Mathews, Deary, & Whiteman (2003) notes, individual patterns of thought, passion, and behavior give both consistency and individuality to a person. The traits people possess as a child, for example, are not the same traits people exhibit as adults or when entering the workplace. According to Ajila (2014), gender communication differences begin during childhood. When girls are growing up, they are instructed to be polite, play quietly, and act cultured. Boys, on the other hand, use coarse slang, play loudly, and are rowdy. These traits, developed at a young age, grow and form an individual’s communication style.

Studies have shown personality traits start forming years before an individual becomes a leader. Mathews et al. (2003) explains, behavior serves as the structure upon which effort at linking leadership communication style and personality trait. A personality trait is the habitual pattern of behavior, one which occurs throughout life and consists of thought and emotion. Women and men differ in their communication characteristics and mannerisms according to academic research done on differences between gender communications. The difference in communication styles is what makes people human, if everyone had the same traits, male and female, there would be no uniqueness between one another.

Traditionally, there are ways feminine and masculine communication styles differ. Geddes (1992) noted, communication from females have behaviors associated with cooperative and transactional rather than linear and competitive. Tentative, unassertive, expressive, and responsive are often used to express stereotypical feminine speech models. O’Barr & Atkins (1980) distinguished, regardless of gender, female speech characteristics are not limited to women but are linked to individuals of sparse social authority. The female statement contains compound requests, apologies, and proper forms which indicate a concern for the other person. In general, women’s language emphasizes relationships and the interpersonal dimension of interaction (McMillan, Clifton, McGrath, & Gale, 1977). Female communication approaches are complimentary towards male personality traits based on the sentimental and personal touch traits contain.

In contrast to feminine patterns and communication styles, McMillan et al., states stereotypical masculine speech is described as clear, precise, and direct. Male speech, consequently, tends to be briefer and more concise while deemphasizing the interpersonal and emotional dimensions of interaction (1977). Communication styles vary between men and women, ultimately impacting results of the leadership style, which can either influence the productivity of the organization in a positive or negative manner.

Associating Leadership Communication Style with Personality Traits

Briefly discussed earlier, patterns of behavior, thought and emotion are personality traits expressed throughout life. (Mathews et al., 2003). As such, some scholars in psychology, from an industrial perspective, have linked behavior in organizational settings to six personality traits including locus of control, authoritarianism, Machiavellianism, self-respect, self-monitoring, and daring action (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Locus of control focuses on behaviors in which people display a reaction towards phenomenon or social events. There are those who believe in controlling their fate while others think of themselves as victims of fate, chalking up what happens in their lives as simple chance. The first example shows a locus of control which is internal, compared to the second which is external. Consequently, leaders who believe their life is under the control of external forces are prone to adopt either an antagonistic or informal form of communication. These actions could potentially lead to job dissatisfaction, estrangement from the work setting itself, reduced capacity for knowledge management, combined with a tendency to blame poor performance on subordinates. Inversely, leaders whom believe in controlling their destiny by oneself may embrace styles of communication which exhibit characteristics such as emotional, animated, impression-leaving, transparent, affectionate and precision. These aspects will increase a person’s commitment to their career, as well as increase job satisfaction, and acceptance of job responsibility (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Authoritarianism is focused on the belief that there are differences among the workers in an organization regarding power and status. Leaders whom are in the extremes of authoritarianism are intellectually inflexible, judgmental, obedient to superiors, willing to exploit subordinates, mistrustful, and show a reluctance for change. With that in mind, a prominent authoritarian leader could adopt an antagonistic and commanding communication form which has the potential to severely hamper job performance where sensitivity is required, in regards to the feelings of others, along with the capability to quickly adjust to complex, changing situations (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Machiavellianism is similar to authoritarianism, on the other hand, a leader that fits in with Machiavellianism is realistic, avoids emotional attachment, and exhibits the belief where the end justifies the means. People of this caliber are exceedingly beneficial in positions or responsibilities which call for bargaining skills or possess a considerable benefit for succeeding. On the contrary, jobs in which the ends are not justified by the means or where there is not a specific measure of performance, predicting performance is a difficult endeavor. Hence, a Machiavellian leader in a position of power could choose to move forth in a manner results in informal, antagonistic and commanding communication styles being used within the workplace (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Self-esteem refers to the extent in which a person likes or dislikes their self, which relates directly to the outlook for a favorable outcome. Leaders that possess a high self-esteem contain more ability compared to what is needed to perform the leadership responsibilities in order to succeed at work. So, people may choose to adopt emotional, calm, impressionable, friendly, transparent and explicit communication styles. Conversely, leaders who possess a low self-esteem form a dependence to receiving positive evaluation from others along with other external influences. Essentially, people are more concerned with pleasing others which leads to less people taking a stance on unpopular matters. Therefore, a leader with low self-esteem may employ lively, alert, and definite styles of communication in organizations (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Self-monitoring pertains to an person’s capability to align their behavior to external, specific factors. Leaders who possess high self-monitoring are able to put forth remarkable contradictions between their public, personal, and intimate identities. An individual with high self-monitoring is adept at displaying contrasting “faces” for varying audiences. Thus, this type of person is inclined to choose commanding, animated, aware, and affectionate communication styles. Opposite from this would be low self-monitoring leaders, who cannot part from their behavior. People gravitate towards exhibiting their natural predispositions and inclinations in every situation, also, a high behavioral uniformity exists between what a person does and who that person is. Communication styles utilized in the work place by these individuals may include dramatic, open, precise, and impression-leaving characteristics (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Risk taking is something which takes place, variably, and is based on the willingness of individuals to take chances. Having a bias towards the assumption or avoidance of risk has been shown, in studies, to impact the amount of time leaders need to form a decision and the amount of information called for before a person makes their choice. Leaders that have a disposition towards high-risk carry out rapid decisions and require lesser amounts of information when it comes to deciding on their options compared to leaders that are more inclined to low risk taking. Once again, this type of person is one that will resort to using commanding, antagonistic, informal, and transparent styles of communication. Comparatively, leaders that are prone to taking less risks may choose to use emotional, animated, respectful, impression-leaving, and meticulous communication styles (French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2014).

Emotion, thought, and behavior are three key factors which help form personality traits. These traits develop employees communication styles, which form a productive employee. French et al., 1985; Robbins et al., 2009; Ajila 2 (2014) provided detailed explanations in regards to industrial behaviorism, which have associated behavior within an organizational setting to six different traits, regarding personality. These six traits effect organizational productivity and help form communication style.

Organizational Productivity

Phusavat (2007) reports, productivity, as a term, was devised by economists in order to properly define the ratio of output volume compared to input volume in regards to production. Corporate productivity is a term which is defined as the number of services and wares that a workforce produces, in a fixed allotment of time, machines, assets, and environment. Transforming inputs into outputs helps organizations to achieve their goal if transformed without any waste all while being produced at the minimum cost. When talking about productivity, both managerial efficiency and employee effectiveness are implied as concerns to think about. Therefore, the major forces behind the drive of the company’s expansion and profitability trend work to affect its productivity, profitability, and efficiency (Solaja, Idowu, & James, 2016). Productivity is both a managerial and employee related factor, each containing different routes to efficiency.

Efficiencies are carried out through both management and organizational productivity, but primarily depending on management due to their having the greatest influence. Solaja, Idowu, & James, (2016), conducted a management study revealing four basic factors involved in influencing organizational productivity. Environmental, organizational, employee-related, and managerial factors are all touch points regarding influences among management, the study defined each factor in-depth. The way in which an organization operates regarding areas such as political, economic, environment, and geographies determines productivity levels, known more specifically as environmental factors. The structure, technology, and climate of an organization affects the efficiencies, productivity and profitability according to the organizational factor. The combined demeanor of employees is something that weighs heavily upon affecting productivity as defined in the employee-related factor. The managerial factor could either be task orientated, laid back, or authoritarian.

Organizations have their own patterns of management whether they have been deliberately designed, appropriated, or naturally developed. The style designed from a manager has a direct effect on the employees of the company, significantly influencing the communication channel created from leadership. Whether the communication takes place through an appropriate system or not, change can be set in motion (Solaja, Idowu, & James, 2016). As stated before, the demeanor of employees stands as something that can have a major impact on an organization’s productivity. Written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills, when effective, work to found a minimum threshold for success with new employees. Companies strive to reach success and organizational success is something that has been linked directly to effective communication (Hartman, & McCambridge, 2011). In order to find success and meet their goals, the organization must communicate effectively.

Employees are responsible for driving a company to fail or succeed and how organizational goals become an achievable reality. Abilities, attitudes, and motivations presented by employees are highly crucial to organizational productivity. Howell (2014) stated, “investment in employees does not come without its challenges”. Organizations need employees to succeed and employees need the organization to invest in the workers to succeed. Both need one another and play a role towards success within an organization, regardless of gender differences, the company will benefit from the uniqueness offered by males and females.

Gender Differences

Stereotype is a popular word regarding gender differences in communication styles. These stereotypes have resulted in several research studies being conducted. Much of this literature examines gender differences (biological sex) regarding stereotypes, male vs. female behavior, and gendered communication styles (Locander & Ladik, 2017). Weinberg & Lankau (2011), identified two prominent gender communication styles between males and females. The study showed men and women adopting a gender communication style, which did not necessarily correlate with their biological sex. Differences arise when communication style factors fall apart between women and men due to a conversation’s intent being viewed differently by males and females. Academic studies on psychological gender differences have shown women favor using communication as a means to build up social relations and create bonds, while men utilize language to apply dominance and gain tangible payoffs (Leaper, 1991; Maltz & Borker, 1982; Wood, 1996; Mason, 1994). The comparison of psychology and biology are the basis for stereotypes, a hot topic between genders, which leads to understanding the qualities in which the traits of males and females are designed.

The perception with successful managers is that they hold more masculine traits and far less feminine traits, it would seem that a female using a feminine style while working in a masculine environment runs the risk of being seen as both less successful and less capable (Amicus Curiae Brief for the American Psychological Association, 1991). Additionally, employing a feminine approach could make her stand out more and magnify differences that exist between men and herself, effectively resulting in heightened negative attitudes.

Conversely, when a woman does not adhere to what is deemed a normal feminine leadership style, there may also be negative reactions. Regarding gender differences in assessment, Eagly, Makhijani & Klonsky (1992) found evidence in their meta-analysis in which female leaders seemed to be considered less effective, less capable, and less skilled than male leaders when they exhibited a leadership style that would normally be masculine. The negative assessments were further heightened when a female leader was working in typical male roles. These negative performance and personal assessments serve to majorly impact the stress levels of a woman. Although, when both men and women work under a female manager, evidence postulates, negative perceptions which they held of her weaken (Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani & Longo, 1991). Regardless of the leadership style adopted, females in traditionally male industries encounter stress at a greater rate.

Eagly & Johnson (1990) also noted a striking incidental finding of a parallel between leadership style and the gender ratios of the organizations, the female orientation towards interpersonal relations weakened when male leaders were more numerous. Within organizations which contain more males, a female’s behavior appeared to correspond with male behavior when compared to established norms. Eagly and Johnson hypothesized the reason for this is based on the idea women in traditionally male environments may have to utilize typically male styles in so as not to give up authority and position.

In terms of leadership style, there are definite gender stereotypes present. The cliché masculine leader stresses completion of organizational goals, whereas the cliché feminine leader stresses relationships and individuals (Ashmore, Del Boca & Wohlcrs, 1986). Up until recently, writers opposed the research findings as they felt these were not abundantly clear to accurately conclude men and women do actually engage in contrasting leadership styles (e.g. Bartol & Martin, 1986; Bass, 1981, 1990). An explanation was provided by Eagly & Johnson (1990) in an inclusive meta-analysis with a large number of organizational, laboratory, and assessment studies. The laboratory and assessment studies showed individuals were able to exhibit some reliable gender differences in leadership style, where women leaders stress task accomplishment and interpersonal relations more so when compared to men. Within the aforementioned study, women leading in a traditionally feminine manner saw demonstrated support for leading with that manner style, the researchers concluded.

Women and men generally differ psychologically, however, a recent review of meta-analysis data by Hyde (2005) states, sex differences in most aspects of communication are small.  Feminine communication correlates with shared traits such as conveying a burden or the humane treatment of all those around you (Eagly et al., 2007). Language traits possessed by females are generally described as a concrete, detailed language which sometimes discloses personal information. The feminine style is less autocratic than the male style, but is nevertheless, authoritative (Weinburg et al., 2011). Women have traits which show a softer side compared to men, who tend to present a more assertive and authoritative communication style.

Compared to psychology studies, studies regarding gendered communication style in the workplace have not garnered much attention (Weinberg et al. 2011). Masculine communication style is summarized by Eagly and Carlie (2007), as men being associated with agentic qualities. The study noted conveyed assertion and control from males including being especially aggressive, ambitious, dominant, self-confident, and forceful. Furthermore, the masculine style tends to be authoritative, self-promoting, and traditional when associated with being a requirement to take the lead. (Wood et al., 1997). With this said, men may have different communication styles compared to women, but both are effective leaders.

In regards to selecting group leaders in business, men are more likely than women to be chosen along putting forth increased participation in a group discussion in mixed groups, yet not in single-sex groups. Theory leads us to believe the traditional path of seeing men in a leadership role, while women are in the background conducting everyday tasks. (Winter, Neal, & Waner, 2001). A study conducted by Megargee (1969) reinforced this by concluding women feel more comfortable working for men, while men feel more uncomfortable working for women. Some women adopt a masculine communication style and this may positively affect their chances of being accepted as a leader. Diversity is what makes people unique, with men and women showing differences from the start, both should not try to fit a cookie cutter role.

Diverse and multi-cultural workforces across the globe have been brought about through globalization. Workplace diversity has increased flexibility amongst employees with the various talents of individuals contributing to becoming great resources, resulting from this is an emergence of unique inputs. As a diverse culture and gender collective harmonize, a spectrum of viewpoints arise due to diversity in order to meet goals or targets. Organizations looking to be successful need to create competent communication models in a diverse labor force. Ignoring any number of disparities between either gender role may create turmoil and prejudices which has a negative impact on organizational performance. Yet, issues dealing with gender are the result of misinterpretations and organizations could reduce the frequency of these by building stability between women and men. In order to achieve a healthy atmosphere to work in, an organization must first identify differences.

Uncommon features within both men and women help to make a company stronger with a diverse structure. Women have a greater need, when compared to men, for affiliation over achievement and may put forth below average work to meet this requirement (Winter, Neal, & Waner, 2001). During normal conversation, men are more inclined to be antagonistic, while women are apt to be giving. Opposing or sharing communication styles help productivity, relating to a different style of workers. The differences contributed by men and women to a company, generally, are for the greater good.

People are assigned to their title due to their ability to influence the employees. The influencing through communication style is a gender difference which benefits the company’s leaders in management. Communication is an interactive two-way sharing process and understanding of information, improving upon this process can be accomplished by improving the “fit” between communication styles of senders and receivers. (Hartman, & McCambridge, 2011). Men and women also contrast in their relations toward individuals, women aim to be civil in their interactions with others whereas men value their autonomy (Chodorow, 1978; Dinnerstein, 1977; Eagly, 1987; Gilligan, 1982). This difference results in women easily showing expression, thus being open about their personality.

Communication involves the way people show expressions to others and can be either verbal or nonverbal. Women who employ nonverbal communication realize an advantage over male associates for a singular reason, women ordinarily view nonverbal communication more clearly compared to men. Making eye contact is a trait in which men are inferior to women, this directly relates back to power, dominance, and status. One sign of emotion is direct eye contact, therefore less shared eye contact results in less emotion observed (Brass, 1985). In regards to expressions, postures, and gestures, results seem to come across as mixed. However, women and men use expressions, touch, postures, and gestures differently. Women seem to be subordinate to men in when looking at gender differences defined in communication styles, information which would suggest women are to be labeled as second-class in regards to men (Brass, 1985). Gender differences in leadership styles realize implications from this based on the idea women are viewed as inferior to men in this area also, making it seem as if women are ill-suited for leadership position.

Research in gender differences across communication styles have concluded men apt to be bold and see conversations as a means towards a concrete outcome, such as acheiving dominance or gaining power (Maltz & Borker, 1982; Wood, 1996; Mason, 1994). Women value cooperation, this shared position “involves a concern with others, selflessness, and a desire to be at one with others” (Mason, 1994). Throughout the years, research has drawn several conclusions on gender differences between men and women. Within academic research, a fact is argued in which women tend to swear less, use less authoritative speech, speak politely, all while using more tag questions and intensifiers (Lakoff, 1975). Theories have proposed these gender differences in communication styles to be the reason why women face a disadvantage when interacting with others. This is a result of men not speaking as tentatively than women, who are known to speak more assertively, therefore the impression of men being more confident and capable leaders is left as an imprint (Lakoff, 1975). Studies show the softer tone and politeness women use may impact a person negatively. The key to establishing and preserving rewarding relationships is understanding the outlined differences while being familiar with how other genders communicate and then adapting one’s style appropriately.

Gender Characteristics Influencing Management and Communication Style

Communication styles based on gender have been known to influence the management style for a company. Freeman, & Varey (1997) states, gender dimensions are largely overlooked in research on institutional ventures and lack essential information. Findings have shown, females possess a better understanding of the aspects of excellent communication. Males favor more formal, structured, and authoritative styles while women are more secure in their interpersonal traits. Females are more than okay taking time to confirm communication has been effectively communicated. Both genders have knowledge of proper communication styles and understand the significance of listening and partaking in a two-way conversation.

With increasing numbers of women moving into decision making positions in organizations (Powell, 1988), coupled with the obvious importance of conflict management skills in providing effective leadership, there has been an increased focus on the possible existence of sex differences in the ability to manage conflict. An example of this deals with some individuals conveying doubt regarding women’s ability to adopt managerial roles and responsibilities, with the managerial role often associated with the possession of masculine rather than feminine characteristics (Brenner, Tomkiewicz, & Shein, 1989; Powell & Butterfield, 1979).

One outlook focuses on the likely impact of gender role orientation. Another outlook affirms organizational format variables and, explicitly, organizational position. These variables serve to contribute to conflict management all while having ramifications for training and selection in organizational situations and is particularly engaging for theorists in gender role socialization areas.

Ambitious or domineering behavior (high concern for self) has the appearance of consistency with a masculine gender role, while the feminine gender role aligns with obliging and avoiding (low concern for self) behaviors. The consolidating and negotiable conflict management styles, where individual people have high concern for their self along with others, suggest behavior which is both naturally feminine and masculine in manner and thus these conflict styles appear consistent with the androgyny gender role (Bern & Lenney, 1976; Portello & Long, 1994).

The few researchers who have examined the relationship between conflict management style and gender role have found (a) feminine individuals oppose conflict more than either the masculine or androgynous individuals (Baxter & Shepherd, 1978), (b) androgynous people announced greater use of unifying or jeopardizing styles than feminine or comparable people (Yelsma & Brown, 1985), and (c) masculine individuals were more prone to report a domineering style, while androgynous individuals were more apt to report a conforming style (Portello & Long, 1994). As many previous studies have indicated, the relationships that exist between conflict style in an organizational context and biological sex are continually up for reinterpretation combined with gender roles not assimilating with the principal of biopsychological equivalence (Korabik, 1990).

Male and females equally understand the purpose of communication. Women feel attending to employees combined with developing two-way communication is critical, which is the most significant difference between men and women. Different communication styles based on gender impact organizational culture and company development. A characteristic which makes male communication style unique is an instinctive disinclination to listen. (Freeman, & Varey, 1997). Males usually consider truth as object and abstract, while females learn to regard communication as circumstantial and this can have an effect on what is heard. Kanter (1979) has argued, not the person but the position is the determining influence of an organization. For example, women do not occupy critical or high-uncertainty positions within the workflow, but instead have routine, highly standardized jobs which require little discretionary decision making with little visibility. This generally leads to women having difficulty acquiring influence through coping with critical organizational uncertainties (Kanter, 1977). The differences between men and women are observable within all generations in society but millennials are now entering the workplace, a fact which has created an evolution in communication styles. Communication styles have evolved, and society has been through generation changes, which encourage diverse styles between genders.

Millennial Communication Style

Communication has evolved as generations have changed and society’s hype about generations currently focuses on millennials. The millennial generation is in the workplace or will soon be entering the work force. Today’s workplace deals with a required array of communication skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and adjusting to differing audiences when it comes to forming solutions, all of which are critical (Levy & Murnane, 2004). Millennials need help developing their interpersonal skills, due to the skills currently possessed are generally lacking. Millennials are capable of developing the essential skills needed based on their understanding of the dual processes of communication style-typing and style-flexing. Millennials can further their own development by understanding the multiple styles of communication, something which is directly available to millennials. Furthermore, millennials will better themselves by learning one simple fact, individuals have diverse preferred styles compared to what each individual are used to.

A person should alter their communication style to match up with whatever communication styles may present during communication. This can be done by assisting millennials to identify and grasp their own, preferred, communication style along with recognizing other individual’s preferred style of communication (Hartman, & McCambridge, 2011). Millennials must develop effective communication styles in order to fortify their skills by using accessible resources, knowledge of various styles, and the competence to employ their knowledge in all endeavors communicating with others.

Instructing students about the theories of style-typing and style-flexing will guide students to develop into effective communicators by means of developing their knowledge of the communication process. Both style-typing and style-flexing form an essential skill set for leaders, although, these are not the only tools helping to improve millennials’ communication skills.

Style-typing is an approach used to interpret an individual’s communication style as well as that of others involved in the communication. Usually, a person does not embody every characteristic of  a style but is instead a combination of varied styles. Most people tend to prefer  a singular dominant style, whereas other people possess various preferred styles. The skill of effective communication style-typing is to have the ability to perceive in ourselves and others the prevailing tendencies which explain our preferred communication style (Hartman, & McCambridge, 2011).The other concept mentioned, style-flexing, which grows with style-typing as each type builds upon one another, creating a strong foundation for communication style.

Style-flexing is the natural progression from style-typing, this arises from the concept of reciprocity which emphasizes a shared knowledge of other individual’s communication processes and forming competent communication relationships. A person may recognize when another individual they are communicating with possesses a different style, they then need to modify their dominant style to effectively communicate or to flex to another style to arrive on the same wavelength when necessary. (Hartman, & McCambridge, 2011). The majority of people depend on their favored communication style, as it is the one which makes them the most comfortable. The commonly held misconception deals with the belief in which everyone communicates via the same style, however, this does not hold true and actually creates communication hurdles.

If developed properly, style-flexing and style-typing will become the foundation for millennials’ ensuing interpersonal skill improvement in areas critical to active listening, team building, audience analysis, and conflict management and negotiation. Style-typing and style-flexing demand that people tend not only to their favored communication habits but also to those whom one is leading or interacting with. Instructors can use excellent methods like corresponding student exercises or communication assessment tools in order to demonstrate style differences and to properly train in style-flexing and style-typing.

Forms of Communication Styles

There are several forms of communication styles, among males and females, and in general for the organization. When a leader is adopting a communication style, the decision is not an easy process. A thorough inspection of aspects such as organizational design, workforce make-up, workplace climate, vison, organizational culture, corporate policy, and mission statements are all factors needed to make the decision. Norton (1983), explains communication styles by breaking down the different types into ten separate ones described in detail, the following are listed with brief explanations.

Dominant style is defined as a style in which a person seizes command of a social setting. A dramatic style of communication is when a person has picturesque speech and is verbally alive. The contentious style is hasty to confront others or combative. Another is the impression-leaving style in which a person exhibits communication stimuli which are easily memorable. A relaxed style is observed when an individual is calm and unaware of nervous traits. The precise style defines the communicator asking for the detailed, actual composition of conversations. A person who is compassionate and listens faithfully possesses the attentive style (Norton, 1983). Norton classified ten communication styles into types, yet there are far more than these listed and each communication style has aspects which make each one unique.


Research reveals men and women socialize inversely which directly leads to diverse styles of communication. Solaja, Idowu, & James, (2016) characterizes communication style as a distinctive way of reasoning, perception of social reality, disposition while interacting or disseminating information. The Public Forum Institute (2001) stressed the leaders of today need to pick up practical communication skills for listening, critical thinking, and public speaking. These aspects are necessary to bolster organizational performance while promoting amicable relationships between the external public and the organization.

Effective communication serves to produce a healthy relationship between subordinates and superiors, thus enabling a dynamically, strong environment to bring about organizational productivity and efficiency. Throughout the paper, each study discussed the relationship of genders and the subject of their communication style being different. Additional analysis was conducted to examine the connection of communication styles based on leadership in the workplace. Research showed significant relationships between leadership communication styles, organizational productivity, and personality traits. In conclusion, if an organization has good leadership combined with excellent communication styles and personality traits, increased productivity is inevitable. I believe women and men are unique in their own way and their particular communication styles serve to increase workplace productivity. Communication styles help define a person’s leadership skills, while each gender’s contribute their unique skills to enhance a company.


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