How to Improve Team Communication

How to Improve Team Communication

The Straight Talk survey reveals your communication style, but it also sheds light on how you listen, think, and frame the world. When team members understand these things about each other, communication starts to flow.

Here are some examples of how groups put Straight Talk® to use:

  • A volunteer group: “We are much more patient with each other because we appreciate how different our learning styles are.”
  • A management team: “We have much more effective discussions now because we ask each other better questions. The other day, someone asked: ‘Given my style, I need a holistic picture of how this fits into our suite of services. Where are the synergies? Why does it make sense?”
  • A group of students: “We use Straight Talk to make up our study teams. We try to match people with different styles in order to expand our thinking and maximize our collective brainpower.”

How will you put Straight Talk to work in your own team or workgroup?

1) Team Communication Profile

Create a team at

Login to your account and navigate to “Manage Teams” to create a team and invite your co-workers. Each member will be able to compare styles and see a visual breakdown of the overall team style.

team communication profile

2) Team Communication Training

Teach the basic concepts of Straight Talk

When teams understand each other more and know the value of each style, the culture shifts to appreciate some of the subtleties in people’s communications – the hidden levels of meaning behind what they say, the types of things they pay attention to. This, in turn, will lead to more satisfying and more successful interactions.

We publish our free blog and offer a few products to help facilitate teaching Straight Talk.

Straight Talk® Team Profile

After you’ve created a team, the team leader can purchase a Team Profile which includes the team overview, style descriptions, and style comparisons for each member. Each member receives specific insights on how to improve communication with each person.

Straight Talk® Workshop

The Straight Talk Training and Participant Guide is a trainer’s guide with everything you will need to create a highly successful workshop on the topic of communication styles. Great for workgroups and teams. Or you can purchase a license for the Video Workshop, so each team member can learn at their own pace.

Straight Talk® Book

Published in 1998 the Straight Talk book is still the most in-depth guide to Straight Talk, providing a set of tools for people who aspire to be part of a learning organization. Using exercises, surveys, and real-life case studies, the book shows how competent communication can help solve today’s most urgent organizational dilemmas.

Use the coupon code ST10 to receive a 10% discount on your purchase.

3) Team Communication Style

Discover your team/organizational style

If it’s a relatively small team, start with the team leader. Nine times out of ten, his or her style will dictate the style of the team. For a larger team or organization, with more than 100 employees, the division heads or senior management team will determine the culture. If they tilt toward a particular style, the organization will mirror that. A lack of balance in senior management will affect the styles of hundreds, even thousands, of subordinates, and cause the organization to behave in predictable ways.

The following chart shows the predictable tendencies of each different type of culture:

Team Communication Style

Learn more about Straight Talk Leadership Styles.

4) Team Communication Culture

Strive to achieve a balanced culture

Team Communication CultureThe Greek philosopher Aristotle espoused a simple philosophy of life. “All things in moderation,” he said. Being too courageous meant you were foolhardy. Being too talkative, you were a gossip. If you were too quiet, you were a recluse. The best course lay in the center. The Rule of the Center is as true for organizations as it is for individuals. It’s just that organizations can’t shift styles as easily as individuals. When an organization is out of balance, it has only three options:

  1. Add senior-level people with styles that balance the prevailing style
  2. Create systems to correct imbalances by rewarding specific behaviors
  3. Accept the status quo

CEOs and presidents of organizations, in particular, need to recognize their role in shaping a culture. When a boss is aware of their style, they can make a conscientious effort to motivate behaviors in the organization that balance his or her style. Typically, these behaviors can be induced by creating specific systems and processes within the organization.

For example, in a Director culture, you can make sure that enough meetings are scheduled to keep people informed and involved. In a Harmonizer culture, you can create an executive team and empower it to make critical decisions. In an Expresser culture, you can insist that people form tight agreements about what needs to be done when. In a Thinker culture, you can reward people for innovative thinking.

The following chart contains a checklist of possible actions that can be taken to address the weaknesses that crop up in each type of culture:

Team Communication Training


Knowing how to achieve a balance of styles is a sign of mature management. But the reverse occurs more frequently. The boss selects subordinates who are similar in style to his own; key managers reinforce behaviors they’re comfortable with, rather than those that might provide the necessary balance.

The managers of every organization imbue its culture with certain habits and tendencies. Over time, these habits become the source of discontent and unresolved conflict. By analyzing the style of top managers, using the Communication Styles Profile, one can discern the source of an organization’s culture, and isolate possible causes. Finding the right balance of management styles is management’s top responsibility – along with ensuring that each style understands its importance to the organization.


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