What if your company could learn a skill that will eliminate conflict, miscommunication, and slow decisions? And what if I told you that the mechanics team inside a global air fleet company did just that and saw a 56% boost in productivity? Would I get your attention? Thought so.
That skill is called Versatility, and it is perhaps the most powerful interpersonal skill you can have.
Numerous research studies show that diverse experiences are critical to innovation and performance improvement, but diversity naturally places a strain on communication. When people feel there is tension and difficulties in communication, it is difficult to carry out innovative decisions and actions with high energy. The good news is we can take responsibility for managing our communication, behavior, and reducing interpersonal tension by keeping the task focused on solving problems and achieving productivity, efficiency, and employee engagement improvements.1
Versatile Communication Skills
Versatility is the ability to recognize differences in communication preferences and to adapt to make others more open and receptive—creating more effective and productive relationships.
The first step is to recognize communication differences, and the Wilson Learning Social Styles model is the tool to help you. Social Style is based on our preferred communication approaches. Your Social Style varies in terms of your actions on the dimensions of Assertiveness and Responsiveness.
Because about 25% of people fall into each of these four categories, you share a Social Style with only about 25% of the people you meet. Just think about the consequences when we can’t or won’t adapt to the other 75%. Do you see an opportunity here?
“The more I know about you, the more I know about me, and the more I can take responsibility for managing the difference between us.”
If you choose to take responsibility and manage the differences between your Social Style preference with the other 75%, you can create more productive relationships and, as a result, maximize your effectiveness on the job.
The Key Is Versatility
Social Style helps you recognize communication preferences, and Versatility helps you take responsibility for managing differences. The good news is Versatility is a skill that can be learned and mastered. But Versatility requires effort, requiring you to modify your approach to fit others’ approaches, even when it may not be comfortable. You have to make a conscious choice to be Versatile:
- Do I need this relationship to work so I can achieve my results?
- What will be the benefits if I improve this relationship?
- What will be the risks if I do not improve this relationship?
Having chosen to be Versatile, you then have to act on that choice with a process we call the Versatile Response:
1. Identify: What is the person’s Social Style?
You identify others’ Social Styles by focusing on what they value, the environment in which they work best, and how they like to work.