Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Readers,

While everyone was watching the election with bated breath, I was celebrating my birthday on November 3. Every year, I step back and take stock of what I have learned over the previous year. What insights or ideas can I bring to advisors for them to think about for the upcoming year?

In this week’s column, I’ll share six important insights:

The first three are about personal growth and the last three are about business growth:

1. Behavioral styles matter more than we know in communication. This week alone I have had five conversations with advisors about disagreements on decisions made, or agreements reached. Why does this happen? How can people who think they have reached a conclusion have a vehement disagreement months and years after the decision? The answer often lies in the style of communicating. Some people are very bold and direct. They negotiate well because they can state an opinion as a fact. They know they are right and they will push their perspective until others agree or capitulate. Other people are more mild-mannered. They will avoid conflict at all costs. They will seek to preserve harmony so they might agree to something when really, they disagree but they want to keep the peace. It’s important in any business engagement – internally with partners or team members, or externally with prospects and clients – to stay aware of your behavioral style. Ask others how you come across to get an outside reflection. Pay attention to the style of others and consider how you can modify your approach from time to time. You cannot be “heard” if you don’t understand how the message is being received. No style is right, and none is wrong. But ignoring them can lead to festering wounds where one party believes they were not listened to or understood.