By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific
Communication between employees is a fundamental factor in the success of all organizations. Leaders who do not find effective ways to communicate with their employees are in for some difficult times and will use up a lot more resources than necessary.
Communication can often be ineffective because individuals persist in approaching others with their own style, rather than adapting to the other person’s needs. This can result in excessively long meetings, misunderstandings and resentment. This concept was popularized by its initiator Dr. Tony Alessandra in the late 20th century as the Platinum Rule (a moral principle related to but different from the Golden Rule), which recommended individuals to “treat others in the way they like to be treated.”
The DISC Model Theory which was developed in 1928 by Dr. William Moulton Marston provides a way for us to understand different personality types, and consequently their favored method of work and communication.
By learning to identify personality types and adapt to them, you can unlock the door to great leadership!
No personality is inherently bad for the workplace. In fact, it is poor management and often lack of variety that are detrimental. By understanding and incorporating various personality types in your company you can have people whose traits complement each other, you can better manage interpersonal conflict, and you can learn to train them in just the right way. In consequence you will have a better motivated, more satisfied workforce, with which you to build the best teams!
The DISC Model states that there are 4 types of personalities; Dominant, Influential (or Inductive), Steady and Conscientious (or Compliant).
How to spot them
Dominant personalities are generally direct, they have an air of inner certainty, they may interrupt, ask focused questions, and have a “tell” style
Confident, determined, loves challenges, focused, influences others. On his/her best day, a dominant personality can be competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed and purposeful.
Poor listener, can be seen as arrogant, may push too hard, and doesn’t wait for feedback. On his/her worst day, a dominant personality can be aggressive, controlling, driving, overbearing and intolerant.
How to spot them
Influential personalities are generally sociable, enthusiastic, fast-paced; they smile more and gesticulate more.
Quick to build relationships, friendly and sociable, adaptable, imaginative and a skillful presenter. On his/her best day, an influential personality can be dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic and persuasive.
May lack focus, too casual for some, poor planning, poor follow-up and can lose interest. On his/her worst day, an influential personality can be excitable, frantic, indiscreet, flamboyant and hasty.
How to spot them
Steady personalities are generally slow to approach, they may show hesitation, they pause before replying, are slower in speech and have an “ask” style.
Builds deep, long-term relationships, natural listener, sincere, warm and present. On his/her best day, a steady personality can be caring, encouraging, sharing, patient and relaxed.
Slow to adapt, may lack enthusiasm in asking for a decision, avoids rejection and takes difficulties personally. On his/her worst day, a steady personality can be docile, bland, plodding, reliant and stubborn.
How to spot them
Conscientious personalities are generally reserved and business-focused, they show little facial expression, and they ask detailed questions and give considered answers.
Knowledgeable and detailed, has an air of competence, asks probing questions and is thorough in follow-up. On his/her best day, a conscientious personality can be cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning and formal.
Initial interaction may be difficult and stuffy, his/her questions may be seen as critical and insensitive, overlooks others’ feelings and focuses on inconsequential details. On his/her worst day, a conscientious personality can be stuffy, indecisive, suspicious, cold and reserved.
The leader who manages to situate him/herself within this framework, and who learns to flex (adjust his style to the needs of his/her employees) will notice a drastic improvement in team dynamics.
So when do you flex? Whenever you notice a lack in communication or cooperation with coworkers, you change your style to fit theirs. You can generally do this by matching their tone of voice and volume, pace, and body language.
But how do you communicate with each personality type? The DISC Profile gives the following tip for each one:
“Give them the bottom line, be brief, focus your discussions narrowly, avoid making generalizations, refrain from repeating yourself, and focus on solutions rather than problems.”
“Share your experiences, allow I-style persons time to ask questions and talk themselves, focus on the positives, avoid overloading them with details, and don’t interrupt them.”
“Be personal and amiable, express your interest in them and what you expect from them, take time to provide clarification, be polite, and avoid being confrontational, overly aggressive or rude.”
“Focus on facts and details; minimize ‘pep talk’ or emotional language; be patient, persistent and diplomatic.”
Ultimately, be prepared to allow them their shortcomings, but never so that it becomes counterproductive. Learn to find the right balance!