Back to resources

Working With Different Styles of Communication

Internal Communication
Feedback
Cross-Functional Collaboration

21 June, 2021

Jean-Benoit Malzac
Jean-Benoit Malzac

Head of Product at Ava

Jean-Benoit Malzac, Head of Product at Ava, trusts his intuition when determining how best to communicate with a peer.

Problem

In tech, we try to automate a lot and we try to streamline processes when possible. In engineering, you have an input and an output; you put something in, and something then comes out. This logic permeates our world, but not necessarily the world of humans.

This can be a problem for people of different backgrounds. I, for example, am a product manager coming from a business background; for me, it’s a bit easier to access these different layers. But it can be very challenging for others.

Actions taken

When I joined my own team, I learned that it was very important to understand the motivation behind what people would like to achieve. You really need to understand how the people around you operate in order to work with them successfully.

Different people may have different preferences in terms of communication channel; understanding this can really be a gamechanger. For myself, I prefer to be on a video call, because I value that eye contact. A colleague of mine prefers, conversely, to have a Jira ticket in front of them, and nothing else. If the Jira ticket is not up to date, that’s something that is going to really bother this person.

By knowing and accepting these differences in styles and channels of communication, you will be able to collaborate more effectively with the rest of your team. I use the example of an engineer, but it is exactly the same for designers or anybody else in your company. What will the people around you appreciate the most? Identifying this and acting upon it will be the best thing to do for your team, not only as a Product Manager, but even as a manager in general.

Sharing the vision, for me, involves charting a course by way of destination. It’s about actually convincing the organization to put in that into place, that’s the first step. You need to have a strong argument, convincing and showing how this would be helpful. I go to my leadership, I introduce the OKRs, explain why they’re helpful, We anticipate structural changes so that we can actually make things happen at the organizational level. Moving toward the same OKR will cause us all to be moving toward the same objective. This has really been a gamechanger for our company.

Lessons learned

  • As teammates, we are all human beings. We need to have bulletproof processes in place in order to have team efficiency. Really, what matters at the end of the day is whether or not you have those relationships with people.
  • Every single issue can be boiled down in errors in miscommunication. It’s important to have empathy toward differences in communication between yourself and those that you work with.
  • Our engineers have a lot of great ideas, and good communication has actually encouraged our cross-functional collaboration.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

I was passed for Promotion. What now ?

26 January

Passing for promotion happens to everyone in their career lifespan. If someone does not had to go through the situation, consider them they are unique and blessed. Managing disappointment and handling situations in professional setting when things don’t pan out, is an important life skill.

Changing A Company
Handling Promotion
Feelings Aside
Feedback
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Fairness
Career Path
Praveen Cheruvu

Praveen Cheruvu

Senior Software Engineering Manager at Anaplan

Myth Busting

10 December

Supporting principles on why being data led (not driven) helps with the story telling.

Alignment
Managing Expectations
Building A Team
Leadership
Collaboration
Productivity
Feedback
Psychological Safety
Stakeholders
Vikash Chhaganlal

Vikash Chhaganlal

Head of Engineering at Xero

DevSecOps: Why, Benefits and Culture Shift

29 November

Why DevSecOps matter and what's really in it for you, the team and the organisation?

Innovation / Experiment
Building A Team
Leadership
Ownership
Stakeholders
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Vikash Chhaganlal

Vikash Chhaganlal

Head of Engineering at Xero

The Growth Mindset in Modern Product Engineering

28 November

The impact you can have with a Growth Mindset' and the factors involved in driving orchestrated change.

Building A Team
Leadership
Collaboration
Feedback
Ownership
Stakeholders
Vikash Chhaganlal

Vikash Chhaganlal

Head of Engineering at Xero

Mindsets of High Performance team

14 October

Teams have tremendous impact on the products on they build. T.E.A.M definition - Together Everybody Achieves More is true. A collaborative and empowered team builds great product versus the good ones.

Innovation / Experiment
Mission / Vision / Charter
Building A Team
Productivity
Feedback
Motivation
Praveen Cheruvu

Praveen Cheruvu

Senior Software Engineering Manager at Anaplan