Improve Manager/Employee communication styles

Many of my clients utilize personality type assessments to coach managers on how to communicate more effectively with their employees.  They have shared that their biggest challenge is providing useful tips that the managers can easily integrate into their day-to-day interactions with their employees. To address this challenge, I have created the table below which lists potential challenges or conflicts for individuals that have different personality preferences.  I also included suggested techniques that managers can try when communicating with individuals who have a different personality preference.


Employee who prefers…

Struggles with a manager who…

When communicating with an employee with this style…

Extraversion (E)

Communicates primarily through emails.

Does not make time to talk with the employee.


Allot time to discuss the employee’s concerns and ideas.

Solicit the employee’s input.

Recognize them verbally for a job well done.

Involve the employee in a variety of activities/projects.

Schedule brainstorming and collaboration into team meetings.

Introversion (I)

Wants to talk out all aspects of problems and interrupts private time when the employee is getting the real work done.

Let the employee speak first.  Actively listen to what they are saying (rather than focusing on what you will say next).

Slow down your actions (stop and think before you act).

Allow time and space for employee to do his/her best work.

Provide information prior to a meeting so that he/she can formulate ideas.

Sensing (S)

Doesn’t state expectations or goals clearly.

Doesn’t articulate how their vision specifically relates to the employee.

Implements new ideas without regards to what has worked well in the past.

Share direct and specific examples to illustrate the vision that you have (step by step).

Be careful to not implement unnecessary changes.

Recognize the employee’s experience.

Honor traditions of the team.

Intuition (N)

Immediately points out why new ideas won’t work.

Are too specific and make the employee feel “micromanaged”.

Does not allow the employee the freedom to figure out the approach on their own.

Provide the employee the data that you have and ask for insights on what it could mean.

Discuss why you are implementing a change.

Discuss challenges with the employee and ask for input on new possibilities.

Allow them autonomy in how to pursue projects.


Appear inconsistent or illogical.

Express emotion in the workplace.


Apply the same principles/rules to all employees.

Be direct and simple when providing feedback.

Hold firm to decisions that are made.

Be concise when leaving voicemails or sending emails.

Discuss the “pros and cons” and “if we do this…then…will happen”.


Managers who appear cold or detached.

Managers who do not make accommodations for employees who may have a unique situation.

Treat each employee as a unique individual whose special concerns must be taken into account.

Prefer to be recognized for accomplishments throughout a project.

Share with the employee who the key stakeholders are and who else has been included in the decision making process.

Go beyond work conversations to share personal facts and insights to the employee.


Delay decisions.

Change deadlines and then expects everyone to rush at the last minute to complete the project.

Does not provide a structure to work within.

Set deadlines and stick to the timeframe.

Follow through with work.

Allow plenty of time to produce high quality work.

Keep surprises to a minimum.

Reduce the options provided to the team.


Provides tight schedules and constantly monitors progress.

Enable employee to work at their own pace and in their own way to complete a project.

Be tolerant of interruptions to the work day.

Provide contingencies to the planned processes.

Allow flexibility in the work schedule if possible.


Recommended resources for more information

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