6.11: Communication Style Trouble Spots

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Communication Style Strengths
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All of the four styles contain potential trouble spots. Some of these spots stem from the simple fact that any good thing taken to an extreme can become a problem. For example, no one would question that being friendly is a positive attribute. If someone is overly friendly to the point of losing professional decorum, however, that attribute can become a negative.

People who are under stress tend to take their style behaviors to an extreme. In addition, a strong emphasis on one style generally means a weakness in another. For example, a highly objective person may find him- or herself neglecting people’s feelings.

• is a poor listener
• is impatient with others
• does not heed advice
• likes to argue
• may appear/become: arrogant, impulsive, anarchistic, coercive, gambling, distorting

• focuses too much on details
• fears personal disclosure
• can be terse
• uses little variety in vocal tones
• may appear/become: uncreative, mean, stubborn, plodding, hypercritical, over-elaborate

• does not hear details
• tends to exaggerate
• generalizes
• can be over dramatic
• may appear/become: inconsistent, childlike, volatile, spineless, manipulative, self-deluding

• avoids conflict
• gives in easily
• keeps opinions to oneself
• overemphasizes feelings
• may appear/become: self-denying, gullible, paternal, perfectionist, obliged, over-committed


When stressed, dominant people may cross the line from controlling to overbearing. Their need to get things done quickly may cause them to overlook fine details, which may lead to mistakes. Focusing on feelings is not a strength of dominant people and personal feelings may be pushed aside. People with a dominant style may have a tendency to view every situation as competitive. This view may make others uncomfortable and create needless tension. Dominant people also may become workaholics if left unchecked.


When stressed, influencing people tend to intensify their verbal behavior. They may exaggerate for effect in their stories. They also might respond to criticism with verbal attacks. They often generalize and gloss over important details because of their enthusiastic support of an idea. Influencing people are rarely concerned with time constraints and may not control the use of their time.


When stressed, steady people may try to assure themselves by sticking with what is comfortable and avoiding change. Because they dislike conflict they may tell others what others wish to hear. This avoidance of conflict may result in steady people not achieving what they want. Unfortunately, their unachieved wants and needs may linger under the surface and they may become resentful. Future interaction with those who thwarted the steady person will be tense.


When stressed, conscientious people may continually seek more information to make them feel confident. This information seeking may hide their avoidance of an issue or their withdrawal from others. It may also delay decision making. Because they are uncomfortable with emotions, they may avoid having to express them at all costs. They tend to put quality and accuracy ahead of feelings, even if it might hurt others. Conscientious people often appear impersonal to others.


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Communication Style Strengths
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Style Understanding Exchange