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Using the DiSC Assessment in Leadership

Updated: Jun 11, 2018

It seems to be common practice that when many companies are looking for their next leader, they find the person who does that particular job the absolute best, and a promotion will soon follow. Although in many ways the knowledge that individuals have the opportunity to grow within the company can boost morale, without a great manager-training program in place, the person promoted to a new position could leave a large gap, and the company could be setting itself up for disaster. This does not have to be the case.

We all come with our own set of personality characteristics that guide who we are and our roles in the workplace. When we are able to take an unbiased look at those personal characteristics, we not only learn more about ourselves but also learn how to work more effectively with others. With this skill, excellent leadership teams can be formed.

Several types of personality and leadership tools are available that provide similar information with a slight variation on what they label as the personality domains.

Any of these tools can be used to provide important and useful information that can assist companies as they are structuring a team of leaders. In this article, I will be discussing the Everything DiSC* assessment created by Wiley (a company dedicated to helping people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed). This assessment has several different types of personality profiles; however, I will refer specifically to the Workplace Profile and how it can be used to enhance leadership and create a system of effective and efficient team dynamics.

The DiSC Workplace Profile has four main quadrants: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). Your style index is determined by where you fall in those quadrants, with a total of 12 possible personality styles. For example, if you are in the Dominance quadrant but you fall on the side of Conscientiousness, you would be considered a DC.

After completing the questionnaire, you will be assigned a personality style and given a report with your particular style, your tendencies, the priorities that tend to shape your focus, and a plethora of other information. How is this test beneficial to the individual and to the organization as a whole? Using the DiSC assessment allows you to become a more effective individual within the company. The first thing that happens when you read your personal DiSC assessment is a moment of clarity. All the intrinsic characteristics you hold are there for you to absorb, including your strengths and your weaknesses.

Reviewing my own assessment, I found myself on multiple occasions thinking, “I don’t enjoy having that characteristic, and I need to work to improve that area.” If you are self-motivated, the assessment will provide you the opportunity to recognize your weaknesses and address them at work. In addition, the assessment will reveal the aspects of your work that are typically motivators or stressors for you. This level of understanding will help you find your best fit within the organization. You will be better equipped to apply for the positions or volunteer for projects that fit your fortes and to avoid ones that may drain you.

As a manager, it is particularly important to understand these qualities about yourself. Such understanding can shape the way you provide supervision and assist you in creating teams that will excel. Using the DiSC assessment allows you to create formidable teams. Building a leadership team is easy; building a leadership team that is effective, however, can be a challenge. Typically, we gravitate to people whose personalities are most similar to our own. Those who generate emotional energy for our style, however, may or may not assist us in getting the job done.

Using the DiSC assessment can ensure that your team has a healthy balance of those who are focused on the vision and moving forward, those who are focused on the results, those who are focused on ensuring accuracy, and those who are focused on maintaining overall stability. One without the others can result in an imbalance of power and a lack of overall task accuracy and timely accomplishments. For example, if I stack my leadership team with those having an overall vision (the I personality styles),they may be “all hands in” and excited about the challenge but are likely to get bored after the initial excitement wears off. This outcome would create a lack of followthrough to completion. Conversely, if I have a team focused on accuracy, they may ruminate on the task, and it may never be perfect enough to submit for completion.

Many companies are using this type of assessment for hiring externally and for promoting internal applicants to leadership positions. Having applicants take the DiSC Workplace assessment prior to hiring or promotion will allow you to understand the types of strengths you will be adding to the existing team. If you know that you have a team full of I and S styles, hiring another I may not be in the best interest of your team. A great deal of time and money can be spent to determine whether a leader is a “good match” with the company. If you use tools to discover how individuals fit into the spectrum of your team, your choice in candidates might be changed. Balancing the styles on your team will be more effective than creating a team that is heavily dominated by one style.

Finding a balance among those with tendencies in each style will enable the group to expand its perspective to create a dynamic, efficient team.

Using the DiSC assessment allows you to work with conflicting styles.

The DiSC provides a review of each style and the motivations behind the behaviors exhibited in each. Knowing each unique style provides a new depth of understanding. This knowledge, in turn, is a powerful tool for better understanding the behavior motivating a characteristic that might be annoying or irritating. This important lesson can transform friction into empathy. Because the DiSC gives us strategies to increase our effectiveness with other styles, it should be used by leaders to ensure that everyone on the team has a better understanding of their teammates. Each team member is an important piece of the puzzle and brings very different qualities to the organization; therefore, we need to have a better understanding on an individual level of how to use the power of diversity to enhance productivity.

The DiSC Workplace Profile can give you some of the tools to create a dynamic, high-functioning team. Use of a tool, such as the DiSC Workplace, will help you and your team grow through the hiring, promoting, and even training of team players and great company leaders. I have had the privilege of using this tool to assist me in the way I approach team projects and in the way I provide supervision. If you take the time to know yourself and your peers on this level, you will be astonished at the possibilities and successes you can achieve together. *Ready to get started? Discover DiSC today:


About the Author: Angela Edmonds is the executive director of Complementary Care for ncgCARE. As a licensed counselor. Angela has had many years of rich experience within the behavioral health and foster care industry.


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