DISC profiling is a quick and accurate tool to help you to better understand yourself, your motivations and how you like to be communicated with and managed. The DISC tool determines innate personality and behavioural preferences through four core areas:
- Ds are direct and strong-willed – assertive, to the point and just want the bottom line.
- Is are engaging and great communicators – optimistic, friendly and talkative.
- Ss are good listeners and great team players – steady, patient, loyal and practical.
- Cs enjoy gathering facts and details and are thorough, precise, sensitive and analytical.
The DISC model finds that everyone’s personality and behavioural style can be described using these four themes. You are either outgoing or reserved, and are either people or task orientated, and whilst some people have a pure personality trait, many others have blends of two or more traits. Understanding each person’s innate style allows managers, team leaders and coaches to communicate with and manage colleagues more effectively.
Using DISC profiling to reduce and manage conflict
It’s a fact that conflict with an employee or colleague is inevitable at some point, and to some degree. In any working environment you often have no choice but to work closely with people that you would never normally choose to spend so much time with! DISC profiling anticipates the way that different personality types will act in stressful situations – armed with this understanding of everyone’s innate values and triggers you can flex and subtly adjust your own management style to build better relationships. It’s not about being passive or backing down; by using DISC insight you can still achieve your objectives but avoid the rancour along the way. For example, depending on the personality type of the person you’re struggling to connect with, you might take different approaches to conversations and planning, as follows:
Conflict with a D personality
- Ds prefer a respectfully direct communication approach. When conflict occurs, they will not be fazed by it and will welcome a forthright approach from you. It’s best to deal with the issue right away – have a conversation and get straight to the point, leaving emotion out of it. Ds prefer to take the quick but logical approach, so making an impassioned emotional plea seldom works.
- Ds are task orientated, so talk about solutions rather than focus on the problems.
- The good news is after you have cleared the air, a D style is the least likely to hold a grudge, and he/she will respect the fact that you have been direct and to the point.
Conflict with an I personality
- I personalities prefer a friendly, informal and conversational approach to communication.
- It’s important to make clear that the issue you have isn’t personal, but that it does need to be fixed.
- Keep the conversation focused on the big picture, avoid getting too bogged down in the detail.
- Draw on the emotional outcome (use phrases like “you made me feel”) for maximum effect.
- Give an I the opportunity to talk, and demonstrate that you are actively listening (reflecting back, summarising, nodding) so they can see that you understand what the problems are and what their side of the story is.
- If a solution is needed, ensure the I feels involved in producing it and is allowed to be creative with options. I styles will struggle the most if the suggested solution is likely to make them unpopular with others.
- After you have cleared the air, an I will need to know that you do still like them.
Conflict with an S personality
- Ss are interested in people, but are more reserved than an I. Their motto is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – they don’t like change, especially if the benefits of change are not communicated effectively to them. S people can be very stubborn and often show passive resistance.
- When communicating with an S, it’s imperative that you are not pushy or overly aggressive and that you remain friendly throughout your discussions. Ss do not like confrontation, so approach the issue in a friendly way.
- Meetings should be structured and take place in private, not in the corridor or over their desk.
- Your approach should be at a slower pace, allow the S to talk and make sure that you demonstrate active listening.
- Solutions with Ss should be focused on building peace and harmony, with a strong element of team and support.
Conflict with a C personality
- Cs prefer to be treated in a more formal and not overly familiar way.
- When giving negative feedback to a C, it must always be validated by an example. Don’t generalise – be very specific and ensure your details are correct! So don’t say, “you are always late”, instead provide specifics: “ you were running ten minutes late on Monday, an hour behind time on Tuesday” etc.
- Cs need time to assimilate information – you may want to let them know about your meeting in advance to give them time to prepare, and a brief summary of what you will be discussing will make the meeting more constructive for both parties.
- Go at a slow pace and be well prepared, methodical and detailed in the way you present the issues.
- Cs will want to make a plan after the meeting – be part of it if you can.
If you would like to take control of your life and career, my online personal development programme MyLifeStrategy can help you to overcome the personal and professional challenges you face on a daily basis and learn practical skills and techniques to make a real difference to you and your life.
I’ve developed the Understanding the People Puzzle module to help you to understand why people behave in the way they do, what’s behind your own and others’ behaviour, how to build positive relationships and get the best out of others and how to make the most of all your relationships.
I’ve also worked with countless organisations and managers that have benefited enormously from using DISC profiling to optimise the performance of individuals and boost collective effectiveness. If you’d like to explore how DISC profiling could work for your team, please do get in touch with me on 01453 833720 or at firstname.lastname@example.org