February 9, 2022 | 3-minute read (549 words)
Trying to understand human behavior can be mysterious and fruitless. This tends to be exacerbated at work, where co-workers' personalities and behavioral patterns can be misinterpreted, resulting in conflict and even bringing teams to a standstill.
Enter DISC, a psychological code aimed at helping you better understand your colleagues and developing healthier connections with them.
The DISC evaluation styles
DISC is a behavioral assessment tool based on psychologist William Moulton Marston's DISC emotional and behavioral theory from 1928. The tool is meant to be used to improve our understanding of other people by considering their qualities, preferences and mannerisms.
DISC is an acronym that divides human personalities into four groups, depending on their primary behavioral trait: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness or Conscientiousness.
How to recognize each DISC personality type
Dominance style: People with a dominance style want to preserve power. They are self-assured and strive tirelessly to attain their goals. Their greatest motivators are challenge, success and competition. With co-workers, they may be perceived as abrupt and demanding. They are a vital asset to any team because of their exceptional problem-solving abilities.
Influence style: People with an influence style prioritize human connections. They are excellent communicators and tend to influence others to do better. They often have a fantastic sense of humor and tend to be amazing storytellers. On the other hand, they typically have a hard time listening.
Steadiness style: People with a steadiness style are highly trustworthy, whether on a long-term project or a short-term task. They prioritize persistence, teamwork and honesty. However, individuals with this style tend to be poor candidates for multitasking, preferring to concentrate on one project at a time. But they can foster teamwork and more rewarding relationships with their excellent listening skills.
Conscientiousness style: People with conscientiousness style are thorough and generate high-quality work. Opportunities to gain information and demonstrate competence motivate them to work harder. They may avoid socializing with co-workers because they prefer to follow rigid professional rules, but they tend to be patient and accommodating with colleagues.
How to use DISC to communicate with co-workers
It gets easier to sort out communication if you know your colleagues' DISC personality types. You can use it as shorthand to personalize your discussions and written messages so that they feel appreciated, heard and understood.
Communicating with DISC "D" style individuals:
- Keep it short and sweet. Small talk and verbosity should be avoided.
- Explain your position using facts.
- Directly include them in decision-making. Expect them to deviate from previous decisions.
Communicating with DISC "I" style individuals:
- Be approachable. Before talking business, strike up a conversation.
- Provide testimonials from co-workers that this employee respects to back up your views.
- Decide on a conclusion for meetings, and follow up in writing.
Communicating with DISC "S" style individuals:
- While they are good listeners, be sure to also listen to what they have to say.
- They are open to a bit of pleasant chat.
- Don't force hasty choices. Give them time to absorb your message.
- Don't make promises you can't keep or you'll lose their faith.
Communicating with DISC "C" style individuals:
- Because they pay close attention to detail, only share fact-based, well-organized materials with them.
- Set a good example, and keep your promise.
- Recognize and praise their abilities.
- Maintain a high level of professionalism when meeting face-to-face.