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How To Start an Office War While Working Remotely

Give me an example of drama in your workplace, and I bet there’s a 90% chance we can trace that issue back to poor communication—or lack of communication entirely.


Last week, I was meeting with a leader who shared an issue she was having with one of her team members. Summarizing her experience, this leader said, “I feel like she’s pushing back and taking everything personally.” Then, being a wise leader, she quickly followed with, “I think it’s a communication issue.” She couldn’t have been more right.


This leader did the right thing and scheduled a (virtual) one-on-one to talk things out. During the conversation, she realized this particular team member had a communication style that was quite different than her own. She also found out about an underlying anxiety issue that the team member was dealing with. “After confronting her on several issues, I realized that if I had approached her differently, I would have gotten a different outcome.” Now, thanks to a new perspective and mutual understanding, honest communication is flowing, the trust battery is filling, and this leader has a happier, more productive team member.


Understanding the individual personalities and communication styles on your team is important on any day, but when you’re working remotely and don’t have the same opportunities for face-to-face interaction, it’s even more critical. If your team is struggling with remote work, there’s a good chance that common communication challenges are being magnified and piling on top of issues that were already present when everyone was in the office together.


If this scenario sounds familiar, you may be wondering what to do. My advice? Take some time to learn the root systems and communication styles of your team members. At YMC, we use the DISC assessment for all team members and clients, and we’ve found that this helps us increase productivity and avoid unnecessary communication issues. Trust me on this. Understanding how your team communicates best will help you create a more enjoyable work environment, whether your team is in the office or working remotely.

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