DISC Profiling: Why It Works
Think about your work day and how you spend it. (We’re hoping you don’t answer with “cup of tea and a Facebook browse“ here!)
Chances are, when you break it down, many of your tasks are going to involve other people. Whether it’s managing, training, resolving problems, meeting or emailing, most of our work tasks are interactive.
Now think about how you handle each of these tasks.
It could be that every 9 am meeting seems to go too slowly yet the regular late-morning pow-wow with your heads of department is a breeze. The daily catch-up with your own line manager leaves you cold though, every time. She has this annoying habit of gushing about your performance.
Now ask yourself why. And really think about whether these are patterns in your life in general.
Are you just not a morning person, no matter how hard you try? Do you need three cups of coffee and a half-hour by yourself before you start to feel like you’re functioning comfortably?
In social gatherings, do you tend to favour larger groups of people over one-on-ones? And do you like making the decisions about what you and your friends will do on the weekend?
Do you have a problem with receiving praise? Does it make you squirm when you hear your efforts publicly, or even privately, lauded?
We all handle different situations, groups and individuals in different ways, and that stretches from family life to the boardroom. Understanding our behaviour in these situations can let us define our work style (and the work styles of others). And that helps hugely in creating a better work environment for everyone.
That’s why here at Tickety Boo we’ve been fans of DISC personality profiles for many years. We think that, when it comes to measuring personality and behavioral style, DISC is a highly effective tool.
What exactly is DISC? It’s best to first talk about what it isn’t. It isn’t a measure of intelligence, or aptitude, or mental health, or values.
It’s based on the theories of American psychologist William Moulton Marston in the 1920s. Marston wasn’t concerned about grouping people into personality types so much as grouping behaviour into different types. His idea was that people’s behaviour could change according to situations, but that they could have a natural core behaviour. Further research and some refining led to Dr. John Geier in the 1960s developing the instrument on which DISC is now based.
There are four types of behavioural patterns identified in DISC (and which lead to its acronym):
- Dominance – direct, strong-willed and forceful
- Influence – sociable, talkative and lively
- Steadiness – gentle, accommodating and soft-hearted
- Conscientiousness – private, analytical and logical
But in case you’re thinking there’s not much to this, know that there are hundreds of possible combinations of these four dimensions. We humans and our brains are far from straightforward!
DISC profiling can be used to screen potential employees in interviews, for employees to learn about themselves, and to determine leadership qualities. It can be applied to mentoring and coaching, sales training, teambuilding, task management and change management. It’s a great way for employees to know how they might work with others. The fact that DISC is used in couples counselling and even dating speaks volumes about what it can teach us about relationships!
Producing DISC reports for teams of people has huge benefits, both to know how the team members will work together and also how teams will interact with other groups in the workplace. Managers can even use the profiles to put a name to their team and list its strengths and weaknesses on a poster, to help motivate staff.
So through DISC we can understand what situations we thrive in and what leads to a personal productivity best. It’s a way for everyone to appreciate the different work styles that exist, and to minimise potential conflicts that could arise.
A common question we get surrounding DISC is: Can you fail? No, you can’t! This isn’t a test with right and wrong answers, but a measure of your behavioural styles. (You could fail it by lying about yourself and how you behave, but what would be the point in that?)
To learn more about DISC profiling, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org