October 20, 2020
Inside: Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with your pharmacy staff.
For increased productivity, less stress, and better relationships in your pharmacy, clear communication is key. But the style of communication that works for one pharmacy employee may confuse another.
To get your message across as a manager, you need to tailor your communication style to each staff member. Depending on who you ask, there are many different labels you can give to the different communication styles, but leadership coach Mark Murphy breaks them down into four styles:
Here’s how to recognize these styles and use that knowledge to become a better manager.
Analytical communicators are drawn to the facts. They want to stick to what’s concretely provable and don’t appreciate it when emotion gets thrown into the mix. They also aren’t the type of people to make intuitive leaps.
Because they always have the facts in their back pocket, analytical communicators are often seen as authoritative and intelligent, and they make for effective managers. They also tend to be receptive to feedback when it’s presented with hard evidence.
The downside of analytical communicators is that can come off as unfriendly or impersonal to non-analytical communicators since they typically want to get straight to business without much small talk.
Managing an analytical communicator is all about the details. Provide as much detail as you can when you’re handing out an assignment, and make sure you set a benchmark for success. Instead of saying, “Try to sign people up for our loyalty program today,” an analytical communicator will appreciate a specific goal, like, “Aim to sign three new patients up for our loyalty program today.”
Once you have created a framework for their assignments, you can let an analytical communicator work without much supervision, because they have all the information they need to succeed.
You should avoid using vague language with an analytical communicator. Instead of saying, “The pharmacy is doing well with our daily script count,” say, “Our script count is up 15 percent from this time last year.”
Likewise, when you’re delivering feedback, keep your emotions out of it and stick to the facts. Give metrics for how they can improve instead of making an emotional appeal.
Unlike analytical communicators, intuitive communicators aren’t the type to get bogged down in the details. Instead, they rely on big picture thinking to help get their points across.
Intuitive communicators are valuable for your pharmacy because they are likely to think outside of the box and come up with creative new ideas. They can quickly zero in on the most important details, and don’t necessarily think in a linear way.
However, intuitive communicators can be easily distracted, especially when dealing with tasks that require intense attention to detail. Visuals like charts and graphs can help them tackle data.
When approaching an intuitive communicator with a new project or assignment, make sure you know the most important points ahead of time, and present them first. Once you’ve nailed down what the big picture is, you can answer any follow-up questions as they occur.
However, you shouldn’t go too big — an intuitive communicator might attach to the grand plan you’ve proposed even if it’s logistically too challenging to pull off well.
When details are important, don’t address them in a face-to-face conversation, because an intuitive communicator won’t prioritize that information. Instead, send them in a follow-up email so they can go back to the information whenever they need it.
Functional communicators like to use building blocks to get ideas across. Whether it’s a timeline or written standard operating procedures, functional communicators are all about the process.
When talking about a new idea, functional communicators will ask a lot of questions to make sure they understand the situation from all angles. Functional communicators will treat a thorough manual that spells out responsibilities in a detailed fashion like a workplace bible and will refer to it frequently to make sure they are meeting expectations.
Functional communicators also are eager to hear actionable feedback that they can use to continue to improve in their positions.
When it comes to managing a functional communicator, documentation is key. Make sure they know where to find all the information they need — guidelines like checklists and step-by-step instructions can help to keep them on task.
With functional communicators, active listening is especially important, so make sure you show that you’re engaged by re-stating the facts and asking for clarification. This kind of behavior will benefit them and you.
Always offer them a timeline for tasks, even if it’s a rough estimate for a long-term task, and keep them clued in if that timeline ever changes. You don’t want them to feel rushed to finish a task that they had budgeted more time for.
Personal communicators are less interested in information and more interested in building relationships and fostering connections. They’re probably known as the “people person” on your pharmacy staff.
Because they are tuned in to the emotions of those around them, they are a great asset when it comes to smoothing over issues that crop up within your team. Non-verbal cues are important to personal communicators, and they often prefer to communicate in-person rather than on the phone or over email.
The touchy-feely nature of the personal communicator unfortunately has the potential to rub others the wrong way, especially if they’re not interested in sharing their feelings at work.
As a manager, you want to build a rapport with the personal communicators on your team. The stronger the connection you have, the easier it will be to get your message across.
With a personal communicator, you want to concentrate on feelings and emotions. Explain your thought process to them, and ask them how they feel about their work in return. You don’t have to get super deep, but using “feeling” words can help them to understand you.
More than other types of communicators, personal communicators will pick up on your attitude, so keep track of your tone and your body language when speaking to them.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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