Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

This is part of a series looking at microskills – changes that employees can make to help improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Registration for 2017 has now closed. Winners will be announced in Spring 2017. Sign up to receive an e-mail about registration for 2018 at

What is your natural communication style as a leader?

How we communicate may be influenced by our personality. One often-examined personality trait is whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.

Story continues below advertisement

Extroverts require outside stimuli to gain energy, which helps them function, whereas introverts are more sensitive to stimuli and often need quiet to function.

This one example can explain why some leaders may be more outgoing than others who are more introverted and naturally spend more time alone – simply because that's how they're wired.

Consider how difficult and mentally draining it can be for an introverted leader who has a team of extroverts who constantly want to interact with them.

Leaders who are introverted are not necessarily shy. They just naturally need more quiet time and, as a result, may spend more time in their office where they can reflect. The downside is that some employees may see this type of leader as being less approachable than an extroverted leader who more actively engages with their staff.

Both styles can be problematic for employees, depending on the employee's own style and personality. The point of this daily microskill is for all leaders to focus outside themselves first.

This microskill provides leaders with a framework that will help them focus on the outside so they can better align their communication approach with their employees' natural communication styles.


Story continues below advertisement

A leader's natural communication style may fit better with some employees than with others. Having a frame of reference for how you communicate is a good start. This Communication Style Survey (click here to complete) is a quick and easy way to identify your natural communication style. It also provides coaching on how to communicate with others' communication styles. Like extroverts' and introverts' personality attributes, each person has their natural communication preference.


Communication style is like being an introvert or extrovert; the style doesn't define a leader's impact. Looking outside themselves first and paying attention to their employees' communication styles is one factor a leader can be accountable for. This demonstrates awareness that not all employees communicate the same way. Only the leader can decide if they care enough to learn how to communicate more effectively with different communication styles.


This step requires a daily commitment and openness to the notion that not all employees have the same communication style. It requires focus, attention and patience. Like any learning, change can be challenging. However, when a leader masters focusing on the outside first they increase their opportunity to be a more effective communicator with their team.

· Get a communication style baseline – Seek to understand your team's natural communication style preference. Request team members to complete the Communication Style Survey and bring their report to a one-on-one meeting.

Story continues below advertisement

· Explore results with your employees – In the one-on-one meeting, focus on discovering how well you have been communicating before and one or two areas you could improve to help your employee and you to communicate more effectively. Be open to sharing your personal style. This is not a perfect science. This activity is meant to uncover some blind spots and reinforce what's working well now or highlight how you might need to change.

· Practice matching employees' communication preferences – It takes practice to learn how to adapt to the different communication styles. In the Communication Style Survey results section there are suggestions regarding how to communicate with each different style. The goal is to keep your focus on the outside first and avoid reacting automatically.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.

This series supports The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell's Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

This award recognizes employers who have the healthiest, most engaged and most productive employees. It promotes a two-way accountability model where an employer can support employees to have a positive workplace experience.

You can find all the stories in this series at this link:

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies