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How Communication Styles in the Workplace Impact Your Brand

Every team has one thing in common: no matter where you are in the world, collaboration brings its own set of unique challenges. However, the root of many problems lies in delivery rather than content. From assertive to passive and everything in between, Zelo’s services aim to diversify communication methods and foster best practices in work cultures.

Written by

Henrik Jesman Sunde

May 2, 2022

Maintaining clear communication in the workplace is critical. Developing smarter, more effective teams leads to positive results for clientele, while simultaneously boosting morale, productivity, and other key benefits. Everyone transmits information differently, so it’s important to implement appropriate tools and software. Understanding the primary styles of communication can go a long way – for you and your organization.

4 Primary Workplace Communication Styles

No two people have the same styles of communication. That said, one person cannot totally embody a single trait either. As with personality types, each person has their own, which combines different aspects and styles of communication.

Recognizing how someone communicates – and being self–aware of your own style – can help tailor communications. Individuals tend to lean toward a primary communication method. Below are four common communication styles found in the workplace.

1. Assertive Communicators

Assertive people communicate their wants and needs authoritatively without losing their sense of empathy. These individuals make great managers, with a direct communication style that’s clear and unfiltered. Assertive communicators are known to be great business negotiators. Self-confidence shows by using verbs like “could'' or “should” over “will.” It’s important to acknowledge problems and let these people know they’re validated and heard. Assertive communicators also like to maintain balance and:

  • Avoid small talk
  • Express feelings rather than hide emotions
  • Tune out unnecessary information
  • Tell people to do something v. asking


High–emotion and little empathy is sometimes challenging to manage. What are a few tips for collaborating with assertive communicators?

  • Determine clear timelines
  • Talk about issues openly instead of putting off conversations
  • Regularly request feedback

2. Passive Communicators

It’s all in the planning! Passive communicators focus on processes and details. Also known as functional communicators, these personalities seek maximum value. They ask lots of questions to ensure every single detail is covered.


Passive communicators tend to excel in resolving conflict and are very easy to get along with on teams. The inability to say no causes them to put in long work hours and become easily exhausted. Did someone say burnout? Other characteristics of passive communicators include:

  • Not into big picture thinking 
  • Prefer data and numbers over emotional connections
  • Enjoy mapping out processes 
  • Do not like to go with the flow


To effectively communicate with passive communicators, follow-up is key. If someone doesn’t respond, reply a few days later to check-in. What are other best practices to remember when collaborating with passive communicators?

  • Avoid emotional stories or terminology 
  • Offer clear instructions for every step of the process
  • Encourage feedback on new processes

3. Passive-Aggressive

Passive-aggressive people cloak emotions. Silence is their way of speaking. This style of communicator often keeps thoughts and feelings to themselves. Falling somewhere between passive and aggressive, these individuals express emotions in indirect ways. Qualities that resonate with this personality include:

  • Difficulty taking responsibility for personal actions
  • Avoiding confrontation 
  • Indirectly expressing negative feelings 
  • Sometimes saying “yes,” even if they mean “no”
     

One example at work is to leave a direct text or email "read" without replying. Sarcasm and denial are two other common behaviors. In communications, consider offering two call-to-action choices. Passive aggressiveness can certainly be tough, but try to:

  • Stay open-minded and empathetic
  • Address situations directly
  • Enforce expectations

4. Aggressive

Aggressive people are assertive in their actions. Never fearing conflict, they’re confident about speaking up and asking questions, especially to those in authority. Aggressive people can easily carry the group discussion. They appreciate workplaces where feedback and opinions are valued by leadership. Depending on the person’s overall personality, actions may be misinterpreted as too rough. What other traits fall into this category?

  • Dominating over conversations
  • Expressing feelings in real-time v. thinking things over
  • Reacting quickly 
  • Controlling projects and tasks


Aggressive people appreciate honesty and directness. When sending business emails or texts, personalize the recipient’s name to catch their attention. How is this style best managed in the workplace?

  • By prioritizing two–way communication
  • Talking face–to–face
  • Sticking to straight facts, not stories

How to Identify Different Communication Styles

Communication styles are closely associated with personality types. There are a number of ways to recognize traits in team members, including tests like:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
    An introspective questionnaire sharing differing psychological preferences for how people perceive the world and decision–making.

  • Everything DiSC
    Defined as a “personal development learning experience that measures preferences and tendencies based on the DiSC® model.”

  • The True Colors Methodology
    A self-awareness activity that’s great for team–building.

  • 16personalities
    A short assessment also based on the theory of Carl Gustav Jung,

The Impact of Effective Communications

Effective communications have positive impacts on teams and businesses. Common benefits include:

  • Increased employee performance by setting clear expectations and goals.

  • More time for managers! Employes won't be prompted to ask so many questions.

  • Better use of resources frees up time to focus on delivering results.

  • Quicker & clearer decisions = less confusion for everyone.

  • Communication means getting on the same page, leading to better employee morale. It’s important to stay connected, especially among remote employees.

What are a few actionable ways to manage workplace communication styles?

  1. Share how, when, and where to communicate.
    From employee newsletters to instant messaging tools and other employee communication platforms, make sure people actively use resources and tools.

  2. Work on team collaboration.
    Prioritize best practices like 1:1 meetings and regular check-ins.

  3. Frequently ask for feedback
    Input helps to improve processes and inform decision–making.

Use time wiselyAn employee communication platform saves tons of energy and unnecessary repetition.

Get the Right Tools

The right tools are critical to leveraging different communication styles. Newsletter software like Zelo provides insight into which channels are top performers, along with allowing employees to set preferences for receiving company updates. For example, developers may use Slack as their main communications vehicle while the sales team might be easier to reach via SMS for a more personalized experience.

Zelo enables you to zoom in on the pulse of communications. Messaging delivery can be set up to match brand guidelines, so there’s no need for onboarding as employees will not notice any new tools. You can collect detailed analytics on every piece of company communication, thus improving your abilities to engage employees with real-time information.

Final Takeaways

Different communication styles in the workplace can be tough to manage, but keeping the right tools on your side makes things a lot easier. Learn more about Zelo’s product features to see if it would be a fit for your company’s employee communication needs. For more advice, check out the Zelo blog.

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