To effectively influence others with any degree of consistency you need to understand them: why do they behave the way they do?
And it has been suggested by one great leader after another that the first step in truly understanding others is to truly understand yourself: why do you behave the way you do?
Admittedly, there are several different tools you can use to gain useful insight on this matter, but few, if any, are more universally accepted or personally precise than the DiSC® assessment.
The assessment itself is a series of statements describing routine human behavior. Respondents review each statement, reflect upon the subject they know better than anyone else in the world, themselves, and then use a five-point scale (Strongly Disagree – Strongly Agree) to determine accuracy. For example:
- “I am direct …”
- “I am calm …”
- “I am analytical …”
- “I am trusting …”
It typically takes 10-15 minutes to complete the DiSC® assessment. The outcome tied to that effort is a personalized DiSC® profile. The DiSC® profile provides you with a personality-based “look in the mirror.” It’s like an easy-to-read story dedicated to … YOU! The story is told in the context of two dimensions:
- Cautious or bold: are you more active, assertive and dynamic … or more calm, methodical and thoughtful?
- The bolder you are the more you approach your environment with a sense of control or command.
- The more cautious you are the more you are naturally inclined to adapt to the environment that surrounds you.
- Questioning or accepting: are you more objective, reserved and challenging … or more empathizing, receptive and agreeable?
- The more questioning you are the more you perceive your environment to be antagonistic.
- The more accepting you are the more you see the environment as aligned with your interests and needs.
The intersection of these dimensions produces four, primary DiSC® personality types:
- D: DOMINANCE — Bold and questioning! Motivated by winning and success and always looking for a challenge. Quick to take action and can be perceived as aggressive or impatient
- i: INFLUENCE— Bold and accepting! Motivated by connections to others with a strong preference toward collaboration. Impulsive and trusting. Typically struggles with attention to detail
- S: STEADINESS — Cautious and accepting! Motivated to help others and frequently described as calm or patient. Slow to adapt to change and has a tendency to avoid any kind of conflict
- C: CONSCIENTIOUSNESS — Cautious and questioning! Motivated to gain knowledge and primarily driven by stability. Frequently have a fear of “being wrong” and can be perceived as overly analytic
Your personality type is neither “good” or “bad” … it is, quite simply, what it is! Same goes for the people with whom you interact. Learning more about both (self and other) and taking that knowledge into account when it comes time to lead, can greatly enhance your probability of success.
And with bias duly noted, if you’re looking to take action along those lines, we (The Center for Leadership Studies) offer a DiSC® training program that is fully integrated with Situational Leadership® (Leading With DiSC®). This program integrates the application of the Everything DiSC® Management Assessment with the Situational Leadership® Model. In so doing, it augments the learner’s ability to not only assess the readiness of a follower to perform a task but also to effectively adapt and communicate the appropriate leadership style.