Don't Slip Your DISC or Your Leadership May Fall Over
Building and managing great relationships in business as in life can be as rewarding as it is challenging.
So while recognising the need to work effectively and efficiently with different people and personalities may be high on everyone’s agenda, it is not necessarily high on everyone’s skill level.
Nor has it historically been high on our education curriculum at school or university. Thus many people get the experience of trial by fire after they need it most and often find themselves trying to recover from misunderstandings. A costly problem in more ways than one.
As dynamic human beings it is natural we constantly change according to our life’s experiences, expectations and education. Therefore by spending a little more time on understanding ourselves and our impact we have on others as well as educating others around us we will be in a better position to manage expectations and deliver outstanding experiences in a more timely and sensitive manner.
It’s no news that people irrespective of age, culture or gender exhibit will identify with those who are ‘like them’ those they ‘click with” those ‘who share similar traits and behaviours’ and as such would rather live, work and play with them.
However it goes a lot deeper than that. Despite feeling drawn to people who we can connect to on one level it is when our ‘values and beliefs’ are challenged that we can find ourselves less likely to communicate authentically.
And when a difficult emotion may enter the conversation, we can find we may still converse but our communication stops. Therefore it’s more important to understand their values and share your own rather than relying solely on understanding personality styles in isolation.
In both our business and private worlds the unintended consequences of not addressing values may lead to unresolved or confusing communication, loss of relationships, lost sales, team acrimony, failure to deliver on time and high staff or customer turn over.
And it often begins and ends with understanding our own behaviours, how we are perceived and the impact of that perception.
We know that personality traits have been studied for thousands of years and despite all our knowledge it is still difficult to unlearn our past behaviour without knowing what to else we can do. Because our personalities interact with our environment and situations so that at any moment in time we will respond through a fight or flight mechanism we truly need to understand ourselves before we can truly understand others.
Firstly, it’s important we acknowledge that to some extent we too can ‘predict’ how we will behave when a certain trigger sparks an emotion despite feeling we may think we are in control.
Yet it’s not always easy to change our behaviours as we are often wired to respond according to long standing behaviours – therefore trying to adjust or adapt differently is very hard. So how do we disrupt former patterns and rewire ourselves and even create new patterns that others will connect to more positively as well. That’s where education and a new narrative comes in.
There is saying that “IQ may get you hired but it will be EQ that will get you promoted” and indeed a true indicator for the future.
Your EQ, or emotional intelligence is a necessary and vital business and personal skill that enhances all relationships and opportunities.
Alongside EQ comes the DISC personality behavioural assessment and understanding which measure observable human behaviour.
The four quadrants or four most common groups illustrate behavioural tendencies, but not absolutes in people. Like with any tool used to measure behaviour, leadership, and communication we need to factor in the ‘human element’ which is constantly dynamic and fluid so keeping this in mind will be helpful and real.
The way in which we measure our behaviours and values is through a personality profile called DISC.
At a glance, the DISC acronym stands for: • Dominance – tends to be direct, forceful, assertive, fast paced • Influence – tends to be outgoing, trusting, enthusiastic, informal, conversational • Stabilizing or Steady – tends to be stable, easy going, amiable, respectful • Compliance – tends to be careful, precise, analytical, cautious
In other words, DISC measures how people prefer to act and communicate and will do so with different levels of intensity given different situations. By recognising our own preferences and that of the people we work and live with, we can often see at a glance why some relationships seem to be made in heaven and others are fraught with unresolved challenges. When we understand the language of disc we get closer to understanding how to connect to get the results we need, to gain the trust and influence we want and to build relationships and respect.
So consider how you may respond to a situation at work when the pressure is on and you have deadlines to meet and not enough resources to make it happen. You may be inclined to demand more from your people, or call a meeting with everyone to talk through ideas, or perhaps try and work things out so everyone can contribute more equally or simply bunker down with the facts and figures and ensure you get the answers without any more risk.
If you can relate to any of these responses you will quickly see yourself in one or two of the above categories and as such see what other options people may also take.
DISC does not measure intelligence nor ability. It does measure behaviour and a response to a situation or person.
By understanding what our triggers may be versus what the triggers or others in our lives may be we have the ability to do our homework before our mouth-work and find more effective ways to managing.
Ricky specialises in building top performing teams and individuals for many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia's leading organisations, and is an energetic motivational conference speaker, corporate trainer and executive coach.