By Whit Mitchell
Why do people lose their jobs? Managers hire for skill, but they rarely fire for incompetence. Instead they fire because of bad behavior.
“Bad” behavior comes in many forms. It can be behavior that the manager doesn’t understand, or a reaction to a recent responsibility change or a promotion. What if you had a tool to understand employee behavior? What if that tool could even help you anticipate where an employee might succeed, where an employee might struggle, or where conflict on the team might appear? Well you do, and it’s called DISC.
One of a leader’s key responsibilities is managing his or her team to perform optimally. The best way to do that is to discover team members’ natural behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, and motivators—and use this information to help them be the best they can be. You can discover all of this and more using the DISC assessment. It gives leaders and their employees a map of behaviors, as well as insight into themselves and others.
DISC is a behavioral assessment that shows people their tendency to be Dominant, Influential, Steady, and/or Compliant. These are the four natural characteristics found in human behavior, and knowing how each type operates and responds to situations will help you manage a team to its greatest potential.
I have seen DISC open doors—and eyes—for the leaders and teams I work with. We can plot your entire team on a single DISC wheel, which gives them amazing insight into one another and how their own behaviors fit into the team. They can actually see the different attributes they each contribute. It also allows for visualizing the makeup of the entire team. Seeing everyone on the wheel gives an understanding of and appreciation for the differences that make up the team. Ultimately, they start to adapt to each other’s behaviors to become more effective communicators in the workplace. Teamwork flourishes! It helps streamline the communication process not only between colleagues, but between management and employees as well.
I work with Tuck Business School MBA students at Dartmouth College, and we use the DISC tool in our courses. We have used the DISC wheel to plot 100 different people at one time, and we were clearly able to see the makeup of the business students. It created a multitude of conversations between people whose behavioral styles were similar, and between people with differing styles—and it was immensely helpful when they came together to work on projects. They knew beforehand how to work best with each member of their team.
DISC is also very insightful when there is conflict on teams. We can take the individual DISC assessments and run a comparison report, which lines up the different aspects of their behaviors and preferences. People are able to see their assessments side by side, all the way down the page, specifically examining communication and working styles. It is immediately used as a relationship development processing tool to resolve conflict. It’s unbelievable how much it changes the dynamic when people are able to understand each other’s behaviors and realize that much of conflict results from miscommunication and misalignment.
If you would like to learn more about how DISC can be used to promote ongoing positive communication between team members and leadership, contact Whit Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.