A line from an old song basically asks: “Why can’t a dame think like a man?” Now that might make for a boring world. Differences. They’re everywhere—work world included. To help our clients gain the most benefit out of these often frustrating differences, we often use the DISC Profile.
The basic “building blocks” of the DISC are four styles — Dominants, Influencers, Solids and Compliants. The DISC evaluates an individual’s approach to his/her work from a combination of the four styles. Following is a simplistic guide to working with individuals that have each of the following as his/her dominant style.
Dominants are results oriented, motivated by challenge and punctual. They frequently take charge of situations.
You might hear a Dominant say:
- Let’s get started.
- What’s the plan?
- Who’s responsible for the blueprints?
- I’ll take the photographs.
- This is an important, challenging project.
Dominants are at their best in emergencies and challenging situations, when someone needs to be in charge and get the ball rolling.
Influencers are creative and enthusiastic in their work. They generate excitement for projects and generally interrupt others in conversation. They use the word “I” a lot, and require appreciation for their work.
An Influencer might say:
- Let’s do something special!
- The bigger the better!
- Let’s try something different.
- When will we finish?
Influencers are at their best when allowed the freedom, flexibility and time to be creative.
Solids are highly people-oriented. They dislike conflict and have a need to be liked. They may work on projects at a slower pace than others and often fear losing acceptance.
Typical Solid statements are:
- Everyone needs to be heard.
- Let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings.
- Let’s be more traditional.
- It’s okay if it’s not perfect.
- Is this fair across the board?
Solids are invaluable in team situations. Often they’re the glue that holds everyone together. They’re often the best choice as a supervisor when an organization is going through a time of relative stability.
Compliants value quality over quantity. They’re your “dot the ’i’ cross the ’t’ type of people and typically adamant about following rules and guidelines. They need to be experts in a field. They need to prepare and plan.
You might hear the Compliant say:
- We must have a plan.
- It’s important to do this right.
- You must follow the rules.
- Let’s read the instructions first.
Compliants are most effective to an organization when quality is the most important aspect of a project. Compliants are usually the best choice to work with government agencies.
Some Strategies for Working with Each:
- Be on time & be prepared
- Communicate to the point
- Don’t get offended by their directness
- Set a series of interim goals
- Be careful with criticism
- Praise them along the way, not just at the conclusion of a project
- Be aware of their emotional load from too much conflict
- Prepare them for change
- Show appreciation for them “just for who they are”
- Give them time to do the job right
- Share clear expectations
- Take time to explain “why”