Three dominant people walk into a meeting room. They all know exactly how to get the job done and are equally vocal about what should be done while struggling to find a way to actually get any work done. They leave the meeting with a decision to just get on and get the work done independently. Sound like a piece from a certain reality TV show? Or have you seen it happen in your own team?
You can avoid this situation on your team easily, by focusing on their behavioural style. Once you know what behavioural style they use, you then need to know what styles are best suited to the roles required in your business. Then you need to match people with the correct behavioural style into those roles.
Dominant behaviours have a place and purpose in your business – they just often need the treated the right way. The ideal environment for a dominant-type is probably not paired with other dominants.
So, if you want your business to be a well-oiled machine, you need to take a look under the skin. Identify what the ideal environment and working partners are for your team, and put them in a position where they have all the right ingredients to become your next superstar.
The Four Behavioural Styles in DiSC
Before we can talk about how behavioural styles are used by business coaches, business consultants and business owners alike to optimise productivity, let me first introduce you to the 4 styles of the DiSC behavioural assessment.
D is for Dominance
These are those who like to take control and dislike inactivity. They are competitive, self-motivated, independent and measured. They don’t tend to factor in “feelings” in their decisions, and often fail to accept advice from team members. They will get a lot done without direction, but usually need their relationships with team members to be managed well.
They are best suited to: administration, decision-making roles.
They’re the ones who say, “Here’s how we do it.”
I is for Influence
The influence styles are people who are spontaneous and are able to make quick decisions. They’re the social lubricant of an office – which means they prefer working with people and shouldn’t be left to work alone. They may get over-excited, generalise and may tend towards dreaming. They may get distracted easily, but they will work exceptionally well in a team and will be naturally persuasive.
They are best suited to: sales and marketing, team roles, client-facing roles.
They’re the ones who say, “Let’s have a meeting to figure out how to do it.”
S is for Steadiness
Slow and steady wins the race is the S behavioural style’s motto. They will take their time in making decisions, so be careful pairing them with an I or D! However, another good S word for these people is “supportive” – they can be an excellent right-hand and can bring a lot of cohesion to a team since they will naturally be empathetic and responsive. They are rarely ambitious or creative, however, so may need pointing in the right direction.
They are best suited to: account management, HR, non-creative roles
They’re the ones who say, “Let’s copy an example.”
C is for Compliance
The C behavioural types are careful and cautious. They will play it safe and only do things when they are sure of the result. They are generally happier to be working in isolation and if they do have to work with people, they will need to be given specifics. Telling a C to “wing it” is how you send them into a panic attack. But ask them to give a detailed analysis and you’ll get the best report you’ve ever seen. They are task-oriented and process-driven. C people are the kinds who will always insist they are correct, and they’ll provide you with a full breakdown of exactly why they’re right – maybe even a pie chart.
They are best suited to: Editing, quality control, roles that require precision and attention-to-detail
They’re the ones who say, “We should only do it according to these projections.”
How to Test for the DiSC Behavioural Types
One of the reasons that I am a fan of the DiSC Behavioural Assessments is that the testing process is extremely easy and speedy. In fact, it only takes about 10 minutes for the participant to fill out the form itself, and you could have the results within an hour.
The test is extremely simple – each question gives 4 collections of adjectives and the participant needs to choose 1 set that is most like them, and 1 set that is least like them. After answering just 24 questions, our system will deliver a full report that will give the person’s ‘natural’ style and their ‘adaptive’ style – i.e. the way they behave in personal contexts, and the way they adjust when they are in work mode.
Optimise Your Team By Blending Behavioural Styles
Now that you understand the behavioural types, it should become easy to see how so many team management issues can often be resolved simply by understanding the behavioural types of the ‘offending’ team members. And then learning how to position your various team members in such a way that they are more comfortable, more satisfied, and more productive.
Do you have a ‘high I’ complaining about someone in the office being rude and abrasive? It’s probably because you’ve put a ‘high D’ with that high I – maybe you should move them into a role where they interact more with a ‘high S’ instead?
But there is so much more than just balancing out the behavioural tendencies in your team that can be gained from understanding the DiSC behavioural styles…
How We Make Use of DiSC Behavioural Styles to Improve Productivity
In coaching businesses over the last few years – and in running our own businesses – I have found there are a number of ways in which DiSC behavioural tests can be used to truly optimise for growth and overall satisfaction.
Here are a few ways that we use the DiSC assessments:
- Our own team: The most obvious way we use it is to assess our actual team members. Every team member, new and old, has taken a DiSC assessment and that assessment has been shared with everyone else on the team. This ensures that we are all aware of each other’s style and can be understanding of one another’s way of doing things.
- Our clients: Whenever a new client comes on board, we have all the decision-makers in the business take a DiSC behavioural assessment. This helps dramatically with coaching them to be the best they can be.
- Clients’ recruitment: When our clients are looking to hire a new team member, we almost always go through the 4-hour recruitment process. A part of that process is getting the recruits to fill out the DiSC assessment to ensure their behavioural type is suited to the role. While we have all of them fill out the assessment, it is the ones who stand out from the other criteria that are processed, so that we can use it as an additional factor (not the determining factor) in the final decision.
- Non-Clients Independent Assessments: Occasionally, we also have people who are not (yet) clients who request DiSC assessments – along with other core assessments – conducted for themselves or their teams. These can be incredibly helpful as a first step towards galvanising teams that have ground to a halt from unmanaged friction.
The DiSC Platinum Rule
There is an over-arching learning to be gained from DiSC that you may have clued into as you see how we use these assessments.
When you were growing up, your parents (or guardians) may have advised you to follow ‘The Golden Rule’. That is, treat others as we would wish to be treated. And while this sounds like a reasonable sentiment, it is surprisingly ineffective in forming good relationships with the people around you.
The DiSC behavioural assessments give us a way to upgrade this rule to the Platinum Rule – treat others as they wish to be treated.
If you look back at the way we use DiSC assessments with this platinum rule in mind, you can see the paradigm shift that DiSC can give you when it comes to team management. Instead of “finding a way for your team to work together effectively”, you need to shift your thinking to “finding a way to understand how your team will be able to work together effectively.”
Once you understand this subtle, but critical, mind shift, you will most likely find opportunities to build a team that is happier and more productive than ever before.
Is team cohesion a problem for you?
There is a certain finesse to managing a team – a skill that can always be honed.
Do you think there is a possibility that your team could be even more productive than they are right now?