Change Focus: Team Development 

DiSC Styles

The DiSC Styles behavioural model is a widely recognised tool that helps individuals understand their unique personality traits and how they interact with others.
DiSC Model Mutomorro

What is the DiSC Styles Behavioural Model?

The DiSC styles behavioural model is a widely recognised tool that helps individuals understand their unique personality traits and how they interact with others. It categorises people into four primary behavioural styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. By understanding these styles, we can gain valuable insights into our strengths, weaknesses, and communication preferences, ultimately enhancing our ability to work effectively with others.

The model is based on the idea that our behaviour is influenced by our environment and the people around us. It provides a framework for understanding how we respond to different situations and how we can adapt our communication styles to better connect with others. By recognising our own DiSC style and that of our colleagues, we can build stronger relationships, resolve conflicts more effectively, and achieve greater success in both our personal and professional lives.

History of the DiSC Model

The origins of the DiSC model can be traced back to the early 20th century, when psychologist William Moulton Marston developed a theory of human behaviour based on two primary dimensions: assertiveness and responsiveness. Marston’s work was later expanded upon by industrial psychologist Walter V. Clarke, who introduced the concept of the DiSC assessment in the 1950s.

Over the years, the DiSC model has undergone various refinements and modifications, but its core principles remain the same. Today, it is widely used in corporate training, team building, and personal development programs around the world, helping individuals and organisations unlock their full potential.

How Can the DiSC Styles Model Be Used?

The DiSC styles model has a wide range of applications in both personal and professional settings. Here are some examples of how it can be used:

  1. Team Building: By understanding the different DiSC styles within a team, members can learn to appreciate and leverage each other’s strengths, leading to improved collaboration and communication.
  2. Conflict Resolution: Recognising the different communication styles and preferences of individuals involved in a conflict can help facilitate more effective problem-solving and resolution.
  3. Leadership Development: Leaders can use the DiSC model to understand their own leadership style and adapt their approach to better motivate and manage their team members.
  4. Coaching and Mentoring: Coaches and mentors can use the DiSC model to tailor their guidance and feedback to the specific needs and preferences of their clients or mentees.
  5. Sales and Customer Service: Understanding the DiSC styles of clients or customers can help sales and customer service professionals tailor their approach and communication style to better meet their needs.
  6. Personal Growth: Individuals can use the DiSC model to gain insights into their own behaviour, strengths, and areas for improvement, enabling them to develop more effective communication and interpersonal skills.

The Four Behavioural Styles

DiSC Styles Model of Behaviour

Before delving into the details of each DiSC style, let’s briefly summarise the four behavioural styles:

  1. Dominance (D): People with a Dominance style tend to be direct, assertive, and results-oriented. They are often seen as confident and decisive leaders.
  2. Influence (I): Individuals with an Influence style are typically outgoing, enthusiastic, and focused on building relationships. They excel at persuading and inspiring others.
  3. Steadiness (S): Those with a Steadiness style are typically patient, reliable, and focused on maintaining stability and cooperation. They value harmony and a team-oriented approach.
  4. Conscientiousness (C): People with a Conscientiousness style are often detail-oriented, analytical, and focused on quality and accuracy. They tend to be logical and systematic in their approach.

It’s important to note that while everyone exhibits traits from all four styles, most individuals have a primary and secondary style that they tend to gravitate towards.

1. Dominance Style

DiSC Styles - Dominance

Characteristics:

  • Direct and assertive communication style
  • Confident and decisive
  • Focused on results and achieving goals
  • Comfortable with taking risks and challenging the status quo
  • Enjoys being in control and taking charge

Strengths:

  • Excellent problem-solving abilities
  • Able to make tough decisions quickly
  • Motivated by challenges and competition
  • Skilled at delegating tasks and responsibilities
  • Effective in crisis situations

Weaknesses:

  • Can be perceived as overly aggressive or intimidating
  • May struggle with empathy and understanding others’ perspectives
  • Tendency to be impatient and dismissive of details
  • Can overlook potential risks or consequences in pursuit of results

How They Handle Change: Those with a Dominance style typically embrace change and view it as an opportunity for growth and progress. They are often the driving force behind implementing new ideas or initiatives and are comfortable with taking calculated risks. However, they may struggle with changes that limit their autonomy or decision-making power.

2. Influence Style

DiSC Styles - Influence

Characteristics:

  • Outgoing and enthusiastic communication style
  • Focused on building relationships and social connections
  • Skilled at persuading and inspiring others
  • Enjoys being in the spotlight and receiving recognition
  • Prefers a collaborative and team-oriented approach

Strengths:

  • Excellent at networking and making connections
  • Skilled at motivating and encouraging others
  • Able to see the big picture and think creatively
  • Effective at building consensus and gaining buy-in
  • Adept at adapting to changing situations

Weaknesses:

  • May struggle with following through on details or commitments
  • Can be perceived as overly talkative or lacking focus
  • Tendency to avoid conflict or difficult conversations
  • May prioritise relationships over achieving results

How They Handle Change: Those with an Influence style are generally open to change, especially if it presents new opportunities for collaboration or social connections. They are often enthusiastic about trying new approaches and are skilled at rallying others around a shared vision. However, they may struggle with changes that disrupt established relationships or require a more independent approach.

3. Steadiness Style

DiSC Styles - Steadiness

Characteristics:

  • Patient and reliable communication style
  • Focused on maintaining stability and cooperation
  • Values teamwork and a harmonious work environment
  • Prefers a consistent and predictable approach
  • Skilled at listening and providing support

Strengths:

  • Excellent at building trust and fostering collaboration
  • Skilled at resolving conflicts and maintaining harmony
  • Adept at providing consistent and reliable support
  • Effective at maintaining a steady pace and meeting deadlines
  • Able to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining stability

Weaknesses:

  • May struggle with initiating change or taking risks
  • Can be perceived as resistant to new ideas or approaches
  • Tendency to avoid confrontation or direct communication
  • May prioritise maintaining stability over achieving results

How They Handle Change: Those with a Steadiness style tend to prefer a more gradual and measured approach to change. They value stability and may initially resist changes that disrupt established routines or processes. However, once they understand the rationale behind the change and have time to adjust, they can be valuable allies in implementing and sustaining new initiatives.

4. Conscientiousness Style

DiSC Styles - Conscientiousness

Characteristics:

  • Detail-oriented and analytical communication style
  • Focused on quality, accuracy, and following established procedures
  • Values logic and objective data in decision-making
  • Skilled at identifying potential risks or challenges
  • Prefers a structured and organised approach

Strengths:

  • Excellent at analysing data and identifying trends or patterns
  • Skilled at ensuring compliance with rules and regulations
  • Adept at developing and following systematic processes
  • Effective at anticipating and mitigating potential risks
  • Able to maintain a high level of quality and accuracy

Weaknesses:

  • May struggle with adapting to changing circumstances or new information
  • Can be perceived as overly critical or nitpicky
  • Tendency to get bogged down in details and lose sight of the big picture
  • May prioritise following procedures over achieving results

How They Handle Change: Those with a Conscientiousness style tend to approach change cautiously and methodically. They prefer to have a clear understanding of the rationale behind the change and a well-defined plan for implementation. While they may initially resist changes that seem disruptive or lack a logical basis, once they are convinced of the benefits, they can be valuable assets in ensuring a smooth and organized transition.

Limitations to the DiSC Styles Model

While the DiSC styles model is a valuable tool for understanding human behaviour and communication preferences, it’s important to recognise its limitations:

  1. Oversimplification: The model categorises individuals into four broad styles, which may oversimplify the complexities of human behaviour and fail to capture the nuances of individual personalities.
  2. Static Nature: The DiSC model assumes that an individual’s behavioural style is relatively fixed, but in reality, people can adapt and change their behaviour based on various factors, such as situational context or personal growth.
  3. Cultural Bias: The model was developed primarily in Western cultures and may not accurately reflect the behavioural norms and communication styles of other cultures or societies.
  4. Stereotyping: While the DiSC styles provide general guidelines, it’s important to avoid stereotyping or making assumptions about individuals based solely on their identified style.
  5. Lack of Predictive Power: The DiSC model describes behavioural tendencies but does not necessarily predict how an individual will behave in a specific situation or under certain circumstances.

To mitigate these limitations, it’s essential to use the DiSC styles model as a starting point for understanding and appreciating individual differences, but not as a rigid or definitive framework. It should be combined with other tools and approaches, as well as an open mind and a willingness to adapt to individual nuances and cultural differences.

Overview

The DiSC styles behavioural model provides a valuable framework for understanding individual differences in behaviour, communication preferences, and work styles.

While the model has its limitations, it offers a useful starting point for self-awareness, team building, and personal growth. By embracing the principles of the DiSC styles model and continuously adapting our approach to individual needs and cultural contexts, we can create more inclusive and productive environments where everyone can thrive.

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 James Freeman-Gray 

I'm James. A change consultant and organisational development specialist. I've been working in people-centred change for over 15 years. I partner with causes, champions, teams & leaders on projects for social, environmental, technological & human good. If you think I can support in making your change a success, drop me a message. 

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