I completed my first DISC assessment as part of a leadership development program at work. My DISC report was the single most effective tool I had ever used to help me to understand my behaviors and the behaviors of others in the workplace.
In case you are not familiar with DISC, it is a behavioral profiling tool that will teach you the predictable aspects of human behavior; especially your own. This is done through an online 26- question survey and follow up report and consultation with a Certified Professional Career Coach. Your coach will help you interpret and apply the results.
Individuals who use DISC increase effective communication, job satisfaction, productivity and harmony in their work environment. Personal relationships are enhanced, building rapport becomes easier and interactions at work, home and play are more positive.
At the time that I completed my DISC assessment, I was an Operations Director responsible for approximately 250 people in 3 locations. I had been doing similar work at that level for a few years and was very familiar with the role and the requirements. I was receiving great performance reviews and positive employee feedback. I’d also developed many positive relationships with my peers and superiors. In that respect, I thought I had it all under control. I believed that I must be doing something right. What I learned through DISC, however, is that I was not living up to my full potential, and that I did have some blind spots that could keep me from moving to the next level. I was ready to step out of my comfort zone, and DISC was the map that helped me navigate the path.
I learned through my results that my DISC profile type was a “D” which stands for Dominance. D’s are generally described as direct and guarded. The strength of a D is getting results, which definitely fit in with my job responsibilities and results at the time. However, a weakness of a D can be that they tend to be inpatient and not good listeners. My career coach helped me to analyze my results. She asked me thought-provoking questions to allow me to see how some of my weaknesses (bad habits) might be showing up in my current environment. For example, I was able to see that I was not my best self as a leader when my direct reports did not meet my performance expectations. She also helped me to identify that I was in my comfort zone, and I needed to grow. With that advice, I decided to move into a new role as a Senior Business Consultant.
In my role as an Operations Director, I had a few sources of power. I had what is called legitimate or positional power. Meaning, I was able to make decisions and get things done because I was the “boss”. I also had reward power, because I had a key role in decisions relating to compensation, bonuses, promotions, raises, etc. However, in my new role as a Senior Business Consultant, I no longer had legitimate or reward power, I had to tap into other sources of power to get things done. This is where my learning from DISC was most impactful.
Using my comprehensive personalized DISC report, I spent a lot of time fully understanding my behavioral strengths and weaknesses. I also learned about the other DISC styles and how best to work with them. One example includes; learning which style is most different from mine. In my case, an “S” can be considered my opposite. While a “D” is considered direct and guarded (among other things); an “S” is considered indirect and open. An “S ” tends to want to verbalize their feelings and thoughts, while a “D” wants to stick to the task at hand and move on. Recognizing my style and the “S” style, I knew that I had to allow time for more discussion than I normally would allow or prefer. At the same time, I was gaining insight from my new coworkers and environment that I could have missed with my natural “lets move on” style. In this example, understanding myself and others helped me to avoid major clashes, setbacks or missed learning opportunities due to style differences. In addition, having this insight helped me develop new and effective relationships quicker, and tap into new sources of power.
Although my DISC story is primarily about moving out of my comfort zone into a new role, DISC is helpful in any situation where you want to improve relationships and communication. Perhaps you just want to get along better with your coworkers and or boss. Maybe you are an entrepreneur and want to be more effective at selling to different styles. Or, maybe you just want to learn more about yourself and your behavioral tendencies and blind spots that can get you off track. Whatever your situation, DISC can help you to be more effective and help you grow.
Are you interested in learning your DISC style? I developed a free “Quick DISC” quiz that you can complete by clicking (here.) There are also details on how to get a full assessment and consultation at the end of the quiz.
So that’s my DISC story. What’s yours? Please share in the comments.