ActionCOACH Southern Indiana

Logical vs. Emotional Communicators: Bridging the Gap

Growing businesses often face the challenge of inter-personal communications amongst team members as they add staff to help deliver more and better products and services. As you add staff, you should be mixing personality and communication styles to round out your team, yet this can often lead to challenges if you are not also teaching them how to communicate with each other for results.

One challenge I have seen several times in the last year is the difference between the “logical” communication style and the “emotional” style. Different behavioral and personality profiles will label these individuals in different ways, but for those familiar with the DiSC profile, I am talking about the difference between the Highest “I” personality and the Highest “C” personality. For those not familiar, a High I values relationships and being liked above all else. A High C values accuracy and being right above all else.

Can you see where these two might have a hard time communicating?

Emotional Communicators

Emotional communicators tend to communicate in stories, often embellished and generalized to try to fit everyone. They look for ways to make everyone feel included in the situation, even if it means “dumbing down” or even altering the facts slightly to fit the crowd. The emotional communicator tends to see everything as gray, as variable, on a sliding scale with no absolute right or wrong unless it comes to feelings. Saying or doing something that hurts someone’s feelings is always wrong in their minds, even if you are technically correct.

Logical Communicators

Logical communicators are, of course, almost the exact opposite. They speak in very precise terms and mean exactly what they say, no more or less. They tend to view most things as either right or wrong, and they want things to be done right. They are not worried about hurting feelings, as they don’t consider feelings as being related to the correctness they seek to achieve.

Left unchecked, the logicals and emotionals can quickly learn to despise working with each other, and this can debilitate a team. As their leader, you need to teach them the fundamental rule of communications, and then coach them on techniques for applying the rule with different styles. The fundamental rule I refer to is this: Communication is the Response You Get. If you aren’t getting the desired response, then you aren’t communicating well!

If you have some of this tension in your team, here are my top coaching tips for each style to learn how to communicate with the opposite style:

Tips to talk to Logicals

When talking to a Logical, get to your point as quickly as possible. When listening to you, they are looking for facts to either confirm or refute your story, so minimize the embellishments. Don’t try to move a Logical from their right or wrong approach. Find a fact that you agree on and work slowly from there. If you are losing them, try saying “I might not be saying this right, but my point is…”.

Ask open-ended, problem-solving questions, such as:

•What do you think we should do?

•How do we work this out so we both get what we want?

•What do you see about this that I do not see?

As the problem is being addressed analytically and logically, the Logical becomes more considerate, empathetic and understanding.

Tips to talk to Emotionals

When talking to Emotionals, listen beyond the specific words for the message that is trying to be conveyed. Learn and accept that Emotionals tell feel-good stories that have an actual message in them beyond the specific words, and for a moment it is ok to ignore the technical correctness of the message and listen for the actual embedded message. Let Emotionals finish before interrupting them, as they often make their actual point at the end of their story. Sometimes it helps to use the technique of repeating back what you heard to confirm that you picked out the facts that were important.

•Make small talk, instead of diving straight into the argument.

•Praise them for the contributions they are making to the discussion instead of remaining detached from the emotional side of the process.

•Notice non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expression, and posture.

•Be positive and show unconditional positive regard. Give them hope.

There are many additional coaching tips and communication techniques, but start out with these and see how far you can take your team’s productivity with simple steps for better communications.

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach