“Why don't you start by telling me about yourself?” You open the interview with the standard questions, discussing in greater detail the candidate’s qualifications, skillset, and past experiences. Although most of the questions you ask your potential new-hire about are performance-focused, you are also gaining key insights into how they communicate, what their personality is like, and how well they will fit in with the rest of the company. The people on your team are more than a list of accomplishments on a resume. They are unique individuals with personalities, communication preferences, and values. As a good leader, you can celebrate and recognize the unique strengths of each member on your team.
What is DiSC?
Your organization may have leaned on the Enneagram, Myers–Briggs Type, or Big 5 Personality tests to gain insight into team members’ strengths in the past, but these tests often fall short in determining the best communication styles for different personalities.
The DiSC assessment style is different. Specifically designed to foster teamwork, communication, and productivity in workplace settings, DiSC can be used to prevent and diffuse conflict, train emerging leaders, and improve communication and interpersonal relationships among team members. Being knowledgeable about the four different DiSC assessment styles — Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness — can help leaders more effectively manage their team.
Dominant Employees (D)
Dominant-style employees in the DiSC framework tend to be confident and outspoken, driven by results and the bottom line, and prefer concise and focused communication. They tend to find a sense of achievement in overcoming obstacles and enjoy healthy competition. If there is an issue with one of your DiSC D-style team members, you would want to come to them directly and have an open and honest conversation. You can trust them to take initiative on projects and speak up about any roadblocks they encounter along the way.
Influential Employees (i)
Influential-style team members tend to be more open to change, optimistic about outcomes, and thrive on personable interaction. Their biggest motivation is less about conquering challenges and more focused on creating a sphere of positive change around them. DiSC i style team members thrive when you recognize their accomplishments and work best in conjunction with others.
Steady Employees (S)
For team members that fall into the Steady DiSC style quadrant, you can expect intention and deliberation behind the decisions they make. Don’t rush or pressure a DiSC S-style individual to make a quick, on-the-spot decision if you don't have to. Their strength lies in the ability to bring a calm calculation to everything they do, and you know you can count on them to follow up and complete a project without micromanagement. Encourage these team members to express their own needs and feelings, as they tend to put an emphasis on others before themselves.
Conscientious Employees (C)
Finally, Conscientious style team members value accuracy, quality, and independence. They often need well-supported evidence for proposed changes before they fully accept them as the best way forward. These individuals are motivated by opportunities to learn, show their expertise, and challenge the status quo with innovative ideas.
As human beings, we don't perfectly fit into personality boxes. Your team members are complex individuals that may embody a wide range of strengths and opportunities for growth that combine all four of the DiSC quadrants. However, using the framework as a tool is an effective way to tailor your leadership style to help every department of your team work together to create a better cohesive machine. Learn more about our DiSC leadership training module at Front Line Leadership.