Convincing others is all about how your team processes information. Improve your persuasiveness by knowing whether your team is relational or logical.
Updated
January 5, 2024

Turn Yourself Into a Super-Persuader at Work by Decoding Logical and Relational Teams

Convincing others is all about how your team processes information. Improve your persuasiveness by knowing whether your team is relational or logical.

Convincing others is all about how your team processes information. Improve your persuasiveness by knowing whether your team is relational or logical.

👉 TL;DR

Effective team  persuasion hinges on understanding your team's preference between a Relational or Logical approach. Relational teams thrive on interpersonal connections and trust influencers for decision-making, while Logical teams prioritize data, analysis, and reason. To enhance your persuasion skills, determine your team's style and adapt accordingly, but also be aware of potential blind spots inherent in each approach. Read on to find out how!

In this article:

When you need to make an important recommendation to your team, is your time better spent gathering more facts and refining your analysis? Or would you be more effective by investing that time instead in “socializing” that recommendation with influential people? Would you be able to name those influential people on your team?

Just as teams have preferences for how they like to communicate, make decisions, and work towards their objectives, they also differ in terms of how they make sense of information. Learning how to work with your team’s approach to synthesizing information actionable insights is the key to unlocking your powers of persuasion.

Relational or Logical

Teams fall on a spectrum when it comes to processing information, from Relational to Logical:

  • Relational teams rely on specific, trusted individuals to tell them what’s going on and what matters. These “synthesizers” or “connectors” have an outsized influence on what information gets heard, how it’s interpreted, and ultimately influences decisions.
  • Logical teams lean most heavily on data and analysis to guide their interpretation of information. In the absence of perfect data, they would prefer to rely on reason rather than intuition. Everyone has a chance to inform the group’s thinking, so long as they back it up with the type of analysis the team likes to see.

Talking past one another

The worst thing you can when trying to convince others is to speak the wrong language to your team.

You might invest a lot of time and effort putting together a thoroughly-researched analysis, only to have it fall on deaf ears on a Relational team. However, you would’ve been better served engaging with key individuals on the team ahead of time to guide their thinking and therefore inform the group’s.

Or you might have built strong relationships within and outside of your team, but you still find you can’t get anything done on a Logical team. Your team is looking for a robust analysis grounded in logic and data, and you have yet to present one.

👉 What you can do: Figure out whether (and when) your team tends to be more Relational vs Logical. Adapt your style to your team.

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Blind spots: Relational teams

While teams have preferences for processing information, that doesn’t mean those preferences always lead to the best decisions. If your team tends to be Relational, watch out for these blind spots:

  • Hierarchical bias: Relational teams are often characterized as “political,” in terms of how they operate. On these teams, seniority tends to be correlated with influence, so insight from junior team members also tend to be undervalued.
  • Preference for the familiar: Relational teams can fall victim to groupthink, since the same voices tend to weigh in over and over. This is especially problematic when the team is facing new or unusual circumstances.
👉 What you can do: Counteract some of these tendencies by creating (or asking for) opportunities where more diverse viewpoints can emerge, like brainstorm sessions where junior teammates can be heard.

Blind spots: Logical teams

On the other hand, if your team tends to be Logical, watch out for these blind spots:

  • Over-reliance on data: Logical teams might miss important context when they only stick to facts that can be supported by hard data. For example, a sales team might be wasting time analyzing customer data instead of trying to identify the key opinion leaders at a client.
  • Analysis Paralysis: Logical teams tend to approach problems from first principles, and can over invest in research and fact-gathering. This is especially problematic when there is a limited amount of information available. (This tendency is exacerbated on Concordant teams).
👉 What you can do: Make sure your team incorporates qualitative feedback and insights when fact-gathering. Understand if there are organizational dynamics that will constrain or impact your team. Be explicit about which questions can and can’t be answered with analysis and logic.

Reality is nuanced, so remember to flex!

It is important that you know how to flex between these two archetypes. Your team might be Logical, but another team or company leadership or a customer might be Relational. The key is to be able to tell the difference so you can strategically influence others.

Know whether your team is Relational or Logical, and you’ll have taken the first step towards unlocking your superpowers of persuasion!

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