When we have a job to do and we experience people who we perceive are interrupting us, slowing us down, diverting our attention or just plain getting in the way of what we set out to achieve, it can prove to be frustrating and unproductive use of our time. Finding out how to motivate and discipline ourselves so that we don’t get caught up in the cycle of interruptions is a an ongoing process. In our personal journey in business and in life, we find out that we make mistakes, we try and learn from them to resurface into a better, more authentic person. Added to this inner journey Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Managers are placed in positions of leadership which require a simultaneous understanding of themselves as well as other people’s internal workings. Creating a positive relationship with yourself and your team often is the quality that winds up separating a good leader from a regular “boss”.

Meet and greet

Approaching a new (or entrenched) team can depend on the kind of person that you are under times of stress. We often fall back to automatic, comfort behaviours when we face the unknown or uncomfortable situations. For example you may be a person who likes to be liked, and turns a situation into a series of fun interactions while and at the same time, you can’t find it in your heart to have a conversation which may involve dismissal. On the other hand you may be a person who finds tense conversations roll out more easily however, it turns out that others feel as though they are under constant scrutiny by you. These are two examples of behavioural types which managers and staff experience all the time. Finding out who is likely to behave in a certain way, in advance of a potential conflict, will prepare both people (the giver and receiver) to approach each other differently. The tool that One Week At A Time utilises to find out likely behaviours is called the DiSC Profile(1). It was founded by William Moulton Marston(2), who incidentally invented the blood pressure component of the lie detector test. William Marston’s DiSC profile (extracted from his book The Emotions of Normal People) is now an internationally recognised psychometric assessment that both managers and their teams use to be able to understand each other. Marston’s believed people sat on two axis - passive or active - and he developed a way of approaching people’s behaviour stemming from that basic premise.

DiSC as the pre-season warm up

Before you head out into the field for a game together, DiSC can be used as a form of a team warm up session, to help everyone get used to each other’s style of play. When times are calm it’s much easier to temper our behaviour it’s when times are difficult that DiSC is critical. A recent survey found almost 46% of Australians would rather look for a new job than deal with a workplace issue (or worse still, take a sick day in the hope that the issue will “blow over”)(3). Addressing main preferences in a person and finding where people are the same as us, builds trust and confidence to address issues rather than shy away from them. Using the below 4 basic styles of DiSC profiles(3) will begin a better positioned conversation:

  • “D” Dominance - (active) direct, self confident
  • “I” Influence - (active) talkative, enthusiastic
  • “S” Steady - (passive) cooperative, patient
  • “C” Conscientiousness - (passive) accurate, structured

Each person has a combination of all 4 with higher or lesser degrees of each of the styles (which we will go into more detail about further into One Week At A Time). The style that a person will most identify with is the one that they are mainly presenting, for example a person with 30 D, 50 I, 10 S, 15 C will most likely say that they are a “High I”.

Tip of the iceberg

DiSC will show whether a team has a skew or a manager has a preference which is complementary or counter to a team. These preferences are pointing to behaviours which influence what kind of actions and decisions that group or person is likely to make (especially under pressure). When we first meet people, knowing this information is important because we won’t really learn about that person on a deeper level until we have spent a great deal of time and many years with them. Below is an example of the human “iceberg”:

The iceberg shows us that the initial information about behaviour, above the water, is crucial in quickly establishing connections. In business, we don’t have the luxury of time to get to know people, which is where DiSC comes into its own. It will reveal the tip of the iceberg of a person, and give us enough information to couple with people’s skills and demeanour so we can make grounded decisions and positive interactions.

Online references




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