What are the Benefits of Using DISC in the Workplace?
Sometimes the actions of our teammates can leave us feeling bamboozled. Their behavior is completely at odds with what seems obvious to us. And yet, it undoubtedly made complete sense to them.
Sometimes we need a quick, simple yet accurate way of understanding the people we interact with. Which is why DISC is commonly used to improve communication in the workplace, guide career decisions, and empower meaningful professional connections. It offers research-backed guidance on the best way to interact with your colleagues.
The DISC system was originally developed by William Moulton Marsten nearly a century ago. Since then, more research has gone into refining our understanding and the application of DISC in the workplace.
DISC describes people in terms of four personality styles: Drive, Influence, Support and Clarity. Marston observed that you can broadly define yourself by one or two of these styles. Knowing your dominant styles will help you understand how others see you, where conflict is likely to arise and how you will approach your work tasks.
DISC Styles in the Workplace
Let’s start with Drive.
People with a preference for Drive focus on results and action. They have a get-things-done attitude at work, which is something others likely admire, but also find a bit intimidating.
They are the person who speaks up, directs others and ensures that goals are being met. Never afraid to make a decision, their workplace motto is “Do it now, ask for forgiveness later.” They are quick to make a plan and assess the resources and skills required to get into action.
Drive types can quickly get frustrated with people who have a lower level of drive, leading them to take on more work. They need to remember that ambitious goals cannot be achieved alone, and learning to trust people through delegation, coaching and creating high performing teams is key to their long term success.
- Establishing clear goals
- Extremely productive
- Efficient use of time and resources
- Enjoys challenges
- Finds it hard to admit when they’re wrong
- Reluctant to delegate
Next is Influence.
People with a preference for Influence focus on collaboration, inspiration and persuasion. They use their enthusiasm and optimism to build a sense of excitement and fun at work. They are gifted communicators and likely have a flair for sales and marketing, even if they work in a completely different field.
Always keen to bring people together, their workplace motto is “Let’s make it fun.” They are quick to organize social events, team outings and any other opportunity for interaction and conversation.
Influence types struggle without social interaction and can end up needing help to follow through on their own projects. They may need help to develop methods for managing their time and slowing down to listen to others.
- Connecting with people
- Persuading, inspiring and selling an idea
- Rallying people to achieve goals
- Creating a friendly atmosphere
- Presenting new ideas
- Negotiating conflict
- Promoting bold action
- Fear of boredom
- Putting popularity over results
- Taking on too many projects
- Overlooking the details
- Overestimating the abilities of themselves and others
Next is Support.
People with a preference for support focus on supporting others, maintaining a calm, stable environment and working in teams. They observe what others need and take care of them without others noticing or getting much appreciation in return.
Kind, helpful and caring, Support types refer to help other people reach their goals rather than focusing on their own. As the consummate team player, their workplace motto is “working together is success,” so they want everyone to contribute. Whether that is defining the goals or dividing up the tasks, they take the time to get everyone’s input.
They are uncomfortable with too much tension and may shy away from conflict, even when it’s something the team needs. Yet Support types have the perfect skills for helping the team talk through the tricky issues that can undermine performance. They just need to remember it’s okay to ask for, and receive, help, not just to give it to others.
- Being calm, composed and patient
- Creating a safe and welcoming environment
- Staying open to new information
- Encouraging high-quality work
- Seeking group consensus
- Reflecting on all the project’s needs
- Delivering feedback in a tactful manner
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities
- May sacrifice results for harmony
- Difficulty establishing priorities
- Difficulty with deadlines
- Sensitive to criticism and confrontation
- Will avoid revealing true feelings
- Struggle to promote self
And finally, Clarity.
People with a preference for Clarity focus on analyzing information for accuracy, working consistently and questioning assumptions. They prioritize analysis over action and aren’t comfortable with making decisions until their research is correct and reliable. They do their best work at a consistent and steady pace, following a detailed schedule, in a distraction free environment.
With their workplace motto “being slow and steady wins the race,” they are quick to call out bold ideas and question illogical shortcuts or random dates. However, they are very private and will keep their feelings and personal life to themselves, even when it would benefit them to share.
Clarity types can struggle with change, spontaneity and working with overly expressive people. They need to remember that true clarity comes from being able to appreciate the perspective of others and incorporate that into their analysis.
- Gathering, analyzing and testing information
- Being thorough
- Clearly defining expectations
- Setting high standards
- Weighing the pros and cons
- Planning long-range goals
- Concentrating on key details
- Questioning bold action
- Bound by procedures and policies
- Gets bogged down in details
- Difficulty verbalizing feelings
- Struggles to acknowledge mistakes
- Suspicious of others
- Difficulty promoting own talents or opinions
- Will not often seek out new opportunities
So that’s the four DISC styles in a nutshell. Once you know your type you can learn how to improve your communication, manage conflict better and understand what you bring to a team.