Office Communication Study
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
OfficeTeam Research Reveals Importance of Understanding Work Styles
TORONTO - Great minds don't always think alike, a new OfficeTeam study suggests. In fact, work styles vary based on individual personality traits, communication preferences and organisational methods. While most (70 per cent) administrative professionals surveyed said it could be challenging to team up with colleagues who don't have styles similar to their own, two-thirds (66 per cent) recognised benefits to collaborating with those who approach things differently.
The study was developed by OfficeTeam, the International Association of Administrative Professionals and Insights Learning and Development, and includes responses from 3,249 administrative professionals in the United States and Canada. The full survey results are featured in Your Work Style in Colour: A Colourful Approach to Working Relationships, a research guide available at www.officeteam.com/workstyle. The guide is accompanied by an online survey where users can identify their work style.
- A majority (81 per cent) of administrative professionals prefer to
collaborate with colleagues who have similar work styles.
- Seventy per cent of support staff said it could be challenging to
team up with someone who has a different style, but 66 per cent cited
benefits to working with those who approach things differently.
- Sixty-five per cent of administrative professionals said they adapt
to their manager's work style to a great extent; 58 per cent
indicated their supervisor only adjusts "somewhat" to their
preferences, and 14 per cent said their manager doesn't adjust to
their style at all.
"At work, employees who have differing perspectives and approaches bring fresh ideas to projects," said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. "You can improve team collaboration by taking advantage of complementary strengths and adapting your own work style to suit the situation."
Partnering With Different Work Styles
More than eight in 10 (81 per cent) administrative professionals admit they prefer working with someone who has a style similar to their own. It might sound attractive to partner with people who think and behave like you do, but most offices bring together individuals with various strengths and personalities. While 70 per cent of respondents said it could be challenging to collaborate with someone with a very different style, 66 per cent recognised benefits to working with those who have alternate approaches.
Finding the Right Balance
Successfully interacting with others requires a little give and take, but, according to the study, support staff are doing more of the bending. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of administrative professionals said they "greatly" adapt to their boss' work style. However, the majority (58 per cent) indicated that their supervisor only adjusts "somewhat" to their preferences. And 14 per cent said their manager doesn't adapt to their style at all.
OfficeTeam offers three tips for overcoming conflicting work styles:
1. Take the high road. Your attitude, effort level and reactions are all
in your control, even if others' behaviour isn't. If an issue arises
or you disagree with someone, always be positive and professional.
You don't have to be best friends with everyone -- you just need to
find a way to collaborate effectively with them.
2. Work with what you have. Accept the person you're working with as he
is, perceived quirks and all. If your colleague prefers scheduled
meetings and you like to simply drop by, try it his way to reduce
3. Get on the same page. Simple miscommunication -- such as the desired
outcome of a project -- can cause friction. Arrange a face-to-face
meeting with a colleague to make sure you're on the same page, and
follow it up with an email recapping what you discussed.