Understanding Workplace Personalities – Our DiSC Story – By Stephanie Harris

by Colleen on February 12, 2014


These are actual snippets of conversation I heard at work today: “I know that’s the diplomatic answer, but I’m an ‘S’ after all.” “He needs more data to make that decision, so channel your inner-‘C.'” “What style do you think she is?” ff25_cover_small

We are completely entrenched in our practice of DiSC® – a personal assessment tool used by companies, organizations and government agencies to improve teamwork and communication. We implemented DiSC during a team retreat in 2012, and it was transformative for us as individuals, and as a company.

It changed how we viewed each other, how we worked with each other and how we talked with, and about, each other (in annoying shorthand, as you read above).

At the beginning of this journey, everyone in the organization took a simple questionnaire. The assessment categorized each of us into one of four styles: D for Dominance, I for Influence, S for Steadiness and C for Conscientiousness. A little crib sheet for illustration:

D-styles are direct, strong-willed and forceful. They are results-oriented and like to be in the driver’s seat.

I-styles are sociable, talkative and lively. They are people-oriented and very good at influencing others.

S-styles are calm, diplomatic and loyal. They are balanced between tasks and people, and are excellent listeners and rapport-builders.

C-styles are private, analytical and logical. They are focused on tasks and data, and ensure accuracy and high quality work.

As you read the above, you might already be thinking, “Which one am I?” In a long and thorough half-day session, our team learned each other’s results and how to identify the styles in those we interact with every day. Suddenly the frictions, the affinities, the “I don’t understand them” thoughts were seen in a different light. We came to appreciate how each style was viewed by others, and which style combinations had the strongest conflicts.

For example, the I/C and S/D pairings are the most opposing. An “S” might view the aggressiveness of a “D” as overbearing or even rude, while an “I” might view the matter-of-factness of a “C” as critical or even cold. As we learned, these differences are not negatives. It’s simply how the different styles process the world (differently).

When we’re going about our work in a typical day, it’s not uncommon for the team to make comments pertaining to DiSC profiles. Someone who always focuses on the bottom line, for instance, might be told, “You’re such a D!” When we find ourselves in conflict, we might say “typical I/C friction.”

But the frustration has certainly eased. We all start using four-letter language instead (and not the expletive kind).

I’d like to say that after implementing DiSC, our productivity shot up by 87% but I’m not the ‘C’ in the group; you’d have to ask one of them. I’m sure they have that number somewhere.

I’m an “S” and I build rapport among our team, clients, and partners with a combination of diplomacy and calm.

Stephanie Harris is Chief Operating Officer at Schaaf-PartnerCentric.

This article appeared in issue 25 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2014. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/ff25_full_final_web

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