Communication Styles in the Workplace and How to Use Them in 2023

A workplace is a place where if there is no effective communication, there will be many negative consequences such as low productivity and lack of organization.

Communication fosters a structured and well-organized working environment in which trust and relationships can be built.

Effective communication includes various communication types and styles.

The types and communication styles are not the same.

We will discuss workplace communication styles in this article, along with some tips on how to use them.

Communication styles are the various broad ways that individuals would like to communicate with others.

It is similar to the various personal styles that portray our appearance.

Effective workplace communication can feel like a balancing act.

To improve the quality of our interactions, we must first understand the various workplace communication styles.

This is because your communication skills and ability to manage difficult conversations or situations at work are closely linked.

Before we venture further, we like to share who we are and what we do.

About 9cv9

9cv9 is a business tech startup based in Singapore with presence all over the world.

With over six years of startup and business experience, and being highly involved in connecting with thousands of companies and startups, the 9cv9 team has distilled important learning points into this overview of the different communication styles in the workplace and how to use them effectively.

There are four major communication styles in the worksite that you’re likely to come across.

The four styles are Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive and Assertive.

In 2023, there are the top communication styles that one should be cognisant of and master it.

Communication Styles in the Workplace (Updated in 2023)

  1. Passive Communication Style
  2. Aggressive Communication Style
  3. Passive-Aggressive Communication Style
  4. Assertive Communication Style

1. Passive Communication Style

Passive communication style refers to a way of expressing oneself in which an individual minimizes their own thoughts, feelings, and needs while avoiding confrontation or assertiveness.

People who communicate passively tend to prioritize maintaining harmony and avoiding conflict over effectively conveying their own messages.

Passive communication styles are typically associated with quiet and shy people.

Passive communicators avoid debate, never argue, and never take a firm stand.

They keep their emotions and worries to themselves.

Because they do not express their thoughts and feelings, it is difficult for their colleagues to understand or support them, which can lead to misunderstanding.

In passive communication, the individual often employs vague and indirect language, hedges their statements, and relies on nonverbal cues to express their thoughts.

They allow others to control discussions and are poor at eye contact. In addition to these, other traits of a passive communicator include slouching, a soft voice, acting apologetic, and fidgeting.

Despite these drawbacks, passive communication can also help to preserve relationships by avoiding unnecessary conflict and promoting peace in difficult situations.

How to work with and manage a passive communicator

To deal with a passive communicator in the workplace, keep the conversation focused on solving a problem and avoid becoming angry or hostile, as this will cause them to stop responding.

When engaging in conversation with a passive communicator, consider the following approaches:

  • Directly address them.

Allow them to speak because they will not seek that opportunity on their own. Make an effort to instill confidence in them.

  • Concentrate on one-on-one interactions.

Passive communicators are usually more at ease in private conversations. They may feel more uncomfortable in groups.

Avoid “yes” or “no” questions because they will most likely provide you with a brief response. Ask open-ended questions, and give them plenty of time to respond.

Ask them for ideas and suggestions, using broader language to allow for more responses. You must be patient with periods of silence because they may require some time to respond.

2. Aggressive Communication Style

Aggressive communication style refers to a mode of expression in which individuals assert their own thoughts, feelings, and needs in a demanding or threatening manner.

This type of communication is characterized by the use of direct and confrontational language, physical gestures and postures, and a general disregard for the feelings and needs of others.

Bascially, when you notice someone who is arrogant, sarcastic, and opportunistic during a conversation, that person is more likely an aggressive communicator.

They manifest as bossy, mean-spirited, ungrateful, and disrespectful behavior.

Often, an aggressive communicator will act before thinking.

People who communicate aggressively may dominate conversations, interrupt others, use loud or intimidating tones, and make demands rather than requests.

This communication style has an impact on long-term relationships as well as the efficiency of their interpersonal qualities. These are some indicators of an aggressive communicator –

Harsh tone, crossed arms, invading others’ personal spaces, intense eye contact, mocking behavior, and so on.

While aggressive communication can be effective in some situations, such as in negotiations or confrontations, it can also damage relationships and create tension in social and professional contexts.

Additionally, it can lead to a lack of trust and cooperation, as well as a general feeling of negativity and animosity.

How to use an aggressive communication style and how to deal with an aggressive communicator

Experts advise you to stay calm, polite, and to the point when communicating with an aggressive communicator. Keep your dialogues away from emotions and feelings. Concentrate the discussion on a workable solution to problems.

  • Be assertive while remaining calm.

Maintain control over the tone of the conversation. Concentrate on the issues at hand and avoid becoming defensive or escalating the conversation into an argument.

  • Keep a formal conduct.

Be wary of aggressive language or personal grievances. Keep the conversation away from emotion driven topics and instead concentrate on the big picture.

  • If necessary, walk away.

If the aggressor has become too demanding and the discussion becomes unproductive, you have the option of leaving and returning when they have calmed down.

Most aggressive communication is motivated by social anxiety or a sense of being bullied or victimised. Dealing with someone who communicates aggressively is never pleasant, and it leaves people feeling unappreciated and unhappy.

3. Passive-Aggressive Communication Style

Passive-aggressive communication is a type of behavior characterized by indirect resistance to the demands or requests of others.

Individuals who use a passive-aggressive style of communication express their frustration or unhappiness in subtle, indirect ways.

They may even smile and try to persuade the other person that things are fine, despite the fact that they are unhappy on the inside.

This communicator is known for displaying a lot of body language and showcasing facial emotions that do not always accurately express their feelings.

This implies that they appear to be passive.

However, they are still upset or dissatisfied beneath the surface.

Simply put, their actions do not always match their words.

This style of communication is often used as a way of avoiding conflict, but it can actually escalate the situation and create confusion and frustration for everyone involved.

Examples of passive-aggressive communication include being late for meetings, not following through on commitments, or expressing feelings of anger or resentment through subtle means such as sarcasm or eye rolling.

Mumming, sarcasm, denials, presenting a happy face while obviously irritated, and delivering the silent treatment are all characteristics of a passive-aggressive communicator.

How to deal with a passive-aggressive communicator

In minor instances of passive aggression, humour may be able to alleviate the condition.

In other cases, you can challenge their actions. With honest communication and feedback, you can encourage them to bring their points of view.

Here’s how to deal with and adapt to a passive-aggressive communicator at work:

  • Appreciate their feedback.

Taking the high road may be difficult, but it may open the door to an open discussion. Request feedback and allow them to air their grievances.

  • Face their negative behaviour.

Set up a private meeting and confront them about their behaviour. If the behaviour does not improve, follow up with a manager.

4. Assertive Communication Style

Assertive communication is a confident and direct manner of expressing oneself, characterized by clear and respectful expression of thoughts, feelings, and needs.

Individuals who have an assertive communication style are thought to be the most effective communicators, but not the most domineering.

They communicate their desires, expectations, thoughts, and emotions, as well as practise active listening while keeping other people’s needs in mind.

They readily accept challenges but understand when to decline.

This style of communication involves being honest and straightforward in expressing one’s opinions and desires, while also considering and respecting the rights and feelings of others.

Assertive individuals are able to effectively communicate their wants and needs, negotiate effectively, and maintain healthy relationships with others.

This type of communication allows for open and honest dialogue, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or conflicts.

Unlike passive or aggressive communication, assertiveness strikes a balance between standing up for oneself and considering the perspectives of others.

Extensive gestures, a good posture, good eye contact, and a clear voice are all signs of an assertive communicator. 

You are not required to “deal” with assertive people. Instead, you should:

  • Encourage them to express their thoughts.

They are the team’s upbeat voice. Allow them time to express themselves.

  • Put them in positions of authority.

These are the people who will lead and inspire your team. They can also assist you in communicating with your colleagues who are passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive.

There are many different personalities and communication styles in the workplace.

It is your responsibility as a leader to adapt to their various communication styles and ensure that everyone has a voice.

Different situations will present different challenges.

When they are passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive, you will frequently feel frustrated.

It is critical to follow the right path in these situations. When you keep your cool, you encourage others to rise to your level rather than stoop to theirs.


In conclusion, effective communication is a crucial aspect of success in the workplace.

Understanding and utilizing different communication styles, such as assertive, passive-aggressive, and aggressive, can help individuals navigate the complexities of workplace relationships and interactions.

By practicing assertive communication, employees can communicate their needs and opinions effectively, reduce conflicts, and build positive relationships with their colleagues.

However, it’s also important to be aware of and address instances of passive-aggressive or aggressive communication, as these styles can negatively impact work relationships and productivity.

Ultimately, by being mindful of communication styles and making a conscious effort to use them effectively, individuals can create a more harmonious and productive workplace environment.

If you find this article useful, why not share it among your corporate and startup friends and network, and also leave a nice comment below?

We at 9cv9 Research Team strive to bring the latest and most meaningful data, guide, and statistics to your doorstep.


Images from Pexel

People also ask

What are the best communication styles in the workplace?

Although the assertive communication style might seem like the best, in reality, there is no one “best” communication style in the workplace as different situations may require different approaches. However, a style that incorporates elements of clarity, active listening, respect, open-mindedness, and empathy is often seen as effective and professional.

Why are communication styles important in the workplace?

Good communication styles can help build strong, positive relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and clients. By being clear, respectful, and empathetic in your communication, you can foster trust and understanding, and build strong working relationships.

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