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According to a new report by Lucid Software, in any given meeting, 57% of people have a preferred collaboration style — either relational, expressive or introspective — that is probably not being served by the tools they’re using and these individuals may therefore not be reaching their highest potential at work.

As organizations establish new hybrid or remote work policies, they must understand that each worker approaches digital collaboration differently. The report, which surveyed over 3,000 hybrid workers from around the globe, identified three distinct styles — expressive, relational and introspective –- with unique preferences and approaches.

The first style, “expressive,” refers to workers who like to see ideas sketched out. People who prefer this style likely enjoy using drawings, graphics, visual presentations of data, and sticky notes to collaborate. They are most productive when working with charts, diagrams, images, and emojis, as well as unstructured discussion.

Respondent collaboration style breakdown. Expressive is at 15%, relational is at 15% and introspective is at 11%.

The second style of collaboration is referred to as “relational.” These workers thrive through meaningful, human connection with co-workers — and like to work with technology that enables this. People who prefer a relational collaboration style are often drained by hybrid meetings and, as a result, avoid them when possible. They often need team bonding exercises or breakout sessions to work successfully.

The final style of collaboration, “introspective,” is typically preferred by naturally introverted workers. These individuals like to collect their thoughts on their own before offering suggestions and prefer a more thoughtful and deliberate way of collaborating. Introspective workers often express frustration that hybrid meetings don’t result in progress. They often need a clear agenda, ways to provide feedback asynchronously, and a formalized process for documenting follow-up and action items.

Digital collaboration should no longer be viewed as a “one-size-fits-all” approach — 67% of people agree with this, as they continue to prefer in-person collaboration. Now that companies have time to strategically plan hybrid and remote work processes, they must keep in mind the different ways their workers prefer to collaborate. Expressive, relational and introspective workers each need something different in order to thrive in their environment, and it’s up to managers to implement new ways to engage them — especially through the use of visuals, asynchronous components and easy-to-use tools.

Read the full report by Lucid Software.

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