Why You Need To Know You and Your Team's DiSC Style

If you're a manager, you know that one of the hardest parts of your job is managing the multiple personalities you have to deal with daily. You have your own boss(es) style, plus all the people who report to you. Each additional person you have to manage beyond yourself changes the dynamic of your team.

But, managing each person doesn't have to be that hard. If you understand each person's personality and what motivates them it becomes much easier to adapt your style to each individual. You can also anticipate their response to a variety of things from new projects to routine tasks, conflicts to consensus. One of the best ways to do that is with a personality assessment. There are several, but they each measure something different. So, which one should you use? Keep reading, and I'll walk you through the best one for you to use to identify different behaviors and what those behaviors are.

Photo Credit: Christina Morillo

Photo Credit: Christina Morillo

What Is DiSC

DiSC is a behavior assessment tool created by William Moulton Marston that focuses on four behavioral personality traits.

DiSC doesn't look at your specific personality as a fixed internal framework that is unlikely to change, like MBTI. It examines how your personality shows up in external patterns of behavior--your usual tendencies in given situations. That is not to say that DiSC is better or worse than MBTI. They measure different things; they are more powerful when used together as a composite picture of the individual assessment taker.

DiSC is not an aptitude nor intelligence test and doesn't specifically address one's values. It's mostly a neutral assessment of your preferred action or response to different life situations.

How Is DiSC Useful

The insights provided by DiSC can be used everywhere. What you find out about yourself can be very useful in all of your relationships. But, it's most popular application is in the workplace, particularly, with leaders because of the information gathered.

According to DiSCProfile, it will help you:

  • Increase your self-knowledge: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress and how you solve problems

  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members

  • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict

  • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles

  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members

  • Become more self-knowledgeable, well-rounded and effective leaders

What Are The DiSC Styles

D - Dominant

D's tend to be active, independent, direct, ambitious, and decisive with an air of self-confidence. Hence, the label "Dominant." They want to lead. This type, and because of their take-charge attitude, they lean towards a position of leadership and management. High Ds self-confidence lends to their being big risk-takers, problem-solvers, and self-starters.

Kid, you’ll move mountains.
— Dr. Seuss

On the flip side, D's are not very emotionally expressive, and often appear aloof and down to business. They tend to overstep authority and resent those who try to control them. They are the ones to challenge the status quo and come up with innovative new to do things.

When working with a D, the key is to be direct, concise, and "straight." Get to the point quickly. They want concrete information--tell them what you need rather than how you'll do it; they also eschew emotional appeals. They're probably the people at work who cut the social conversation and small chat to drive conversation back to business. They're all about results.

The thing is they're not trying to be difficult. They're big picture problem solvers. Details, negative points, and a heavy focus on problems don't allow them to be who they naturally are.

I - Influence

I's are not afraid of the limelight. They are active and move quickly. They like excitement and to be inspired. I's are optimistic, talkative, persuasive, impulsive and emotional. They are trusting and enjoy the company of others--they prefer to work in teams.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
— Dr. Seuss

Like Ds, Is are not big on details. However, they are not because they're more focused on people and popularity than specific results or the organization. Additionally, they often make generalizations without spending the necessary time to get information. They come off as impulsive and dramatic. Because of their emotional nature and natural exuberance people often mistakenly believe they are more committed to an idea or project then they indeed are. Thus, their moving on to the next moving thing can appear like irresponsibility or that they're unreliable.

To get the most out of this type build a relationship with them first. Be friendly. The best approach is to confront them in a friendly environment. If you're managing them, you should give them time to share their ideas and have time for creative thinking. You may be surprised with what they come up with. But, because of their connectedness to others and creativity, they are great problem solvers. To help them it may work best to have them share their ideas in a group and have someone else record their thoughts. Keep in mind that they aren't the best self-starters and may need more frequent check-ups on their progress than other styles.

Overall, allow this style to socialize with others, it's how they stay motivated. Don't manage them by merely issuing orders because you'll miss their brilliance and they'll shut down. Be careful not to make them feel rejected because this personality type fears rejection more than the others.

S - Steadiness

Think of Michelle Obama, Mother Teresa, Rachel from Friends, even Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones. If you can find the commonality in each of them than you've recognized what makes them an S-type. Ss are known as counselors. They are casual, likable, people who try to avoid interpersonal conflict. They are the steady, stable, guiding force that tends to be the moral compass of the team. Their easy manner, even-tempered, laid-back, friendly and compassionate nature makes them great supporters. They prefer close personal relationships.

Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
— Dr. Seuss

But, you must beware. This style is resistant to change. In contrast to the predictable nature, change rocks their normal routine. They will adapt, but need a longer lead time than other styles. S-types also tend to be quite passive and avoid conflict until it's absolutely unavoidable, which sometimes is too late. They can be more focused on feelings and interpersonal relationships than logic and results.

If you have an S on your team, it is imperative that they feel you treat them kindly and are patient with them. Using strong body language or tone, being aggressive or demanding doesn't work well with them. The S works best when there is an existing relationship and will flourish in a more relaxed communal environment. This is a type that likes clarity and details. Unlike the D and I types, they want to know the "how" behind "what." This type is a great supporter of the team. As a manager, be sure to make this type feel safe and secure and elicit their feedback routinely--usually in one-on-one sessions that are laidback in nature.

C - Conscientiousness

Last is the C-type. These are your analyzers. They are problem-solvers. They are into ideas and concepts more than feelings, but unlike D they want to study and analyze before making decisions and taking action. Like S, they are steady, reserved, and take a step back in groups. They also avoid confrontation and hold their thoughts/feelings close to the vest unless directly asked. They want to be precise and accurate, being incorrect is their fear.

And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
— Dr. Seuss

Conscientious types are at their best when they are analyzing information. They will collect the facts and opinions of those involved and consider them before drawing a conclusion. They are your team's in-house consultant. They take a systematic approach to their work as they are very thorough. However, they will need some balance with an I or D, who will help them keep the big picture in mind. Still, their nature makes them great at spotting mistakes and potential pitfalls before they happen; they're excellent troubleshooters.

If you have a C-style on your team, remember to be patient with them, nonconfrontational, and diplomatic. They fear criticism.

Now that you know and understand each type better, can you identify your style and those of your boss and team members? You can take this free assessment to find out the various personality types and get additional information to give you further insight into this type and how to deal with them effectively.


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