Information on reading the C (Conscientiousness) styles, and implications for leadership:
Following the steps of people-reading, we learn that someone who tends to be “skeptical and challenging,” and “cautious and reflective,” likely fits the profile of a “C” style.
“C” leaders tend to be strong in the areas of Integrity, Self-Impovement planning, and clear Communication, traits found in The Group Dynamic Primer.
Teamwork values of the “C” leader: Accuracy, Challenge, and Support.
Leadership style descriptors of the “C” leader: Deliberate, Resolute, and/or Humble.
Unique tendencies of the “C” leader: brief communications, little small talk, separation of work and play.
Why “C” leaders can be very good: Things are done correctly rather than quickly; matter-of-fact communication makes things clear; time is rarely wasted because of non-relevant activities.
Drawbacks: Time may be wasted due to over-analysis or overly methodical processes. Relationships may suffer or be slow to develop because of to-the-point communication.
One action suggestion for C leaders:
•Work to affirm members of your team, offering both positive and critical feedback, even when it seems obvious to you, or overly “affirming.” They like to know exactly where they stand.
These short, unmodified bullet points and this abrupt ending are characteristics of a “C” communication style. We “i”s ought to learn this style – it can be very efficient, and even productive.
When doing DiSC with a group of leaders, at some point someone asks “which is the best style for leaders? Probably ‘D,’ right?” Then, the “S” folks in the room get even more quiet, as concern rises that the answer may be “Yup. ‘D’s rule the world.” Well, that’s not the answer.
It’s important to get this out of the way, and hammer it home:
The quality of leadership has nothing to do with the DiSC preference. It has to do with the quality of the leadership. If you’re familiar with The Group Dynamic Primer, you know that DiSC style doesn’t come up in discussions of leadership qualities. Some styles may be more comfortable with various components of leadership – for example, an “influence” leader may find it easy to project the Positivity and Passion needed.
And the “S” leader? The leader we read as moderate-paced, accepting, and warm? This leader prioritizes the values of Support, Collaboration, and Stability, and works in a leadership style we might call Inclusive, Humble, or Affirming. If you are an “S,” and in a leadership role, take advantage of your sensitivity to inclusion, your affirming support, and your humility — these traits build credibility with the people around you, and they know what to expect. So when bold action is required, it may be out of your comfort zone, but people will take notice, and buy in to your ideas, precisely because you don’t have a habit of moving fast or impulsively.
You might need to move out of your comfort zone to confront, present new ideas, or roll out a new project. What you will find is a willingness to listen. So give it a shot. Any thoughts from “Steadiness” leaders out there?
It makes sense to start with the “i,” because this blog has already hinted at the issues faced by the “i” in action.
Someone is possibly an “i” (influencer) if they are seen as more fast-paced than cautious, and more accepting and warm than skeptical.
An “i” leader values enthusiasm, collaboration, and action; and might be described as energizing, affirming, or pioneering.
Now, while I have lots of “D” in me, I have mostly led as an “i.” When I was a band director, I got a lot of feedback about my positivity and high energy. Instead of realizing that this feedback was coming only from the people who appreciated it, I attributed all success to this way of doing things, and I ramped it up! Bad move; I fell for…
The success deception: “Because I’m successful, this way clearly works for me, and I must keep it up, and get everyone else to do it my way.” This deception kept me from making the changes I needed to make for a long time — too long.
Now that I’m serving as a leader in other contexts, here’s what I need to keep in mind:
•Slow down (while my team might appreciate swift action, there are times I need to force myself to back off to see the big picture).
•Listen more and chill out (while my insights are undoubtably brilliant and exciting, the people around me might be annoyed or intimidated by my emotional intensity or unintended monopolization).
•Remember that not everyone shows their passion the same way I do.
This seems like common sense, right? Well, perhaps it is, but it’s not common practice, partly because of that success deception.
Next week – Leading as an “S.” Are you an “S?” Send me your thoughts and comments, and perhaps I can include them next week.
Now, let’s put those concepts in line with DiSC as a tool for communicating.
In the first post, there were two different styles trying to connect, and by tailoring the email to match that, the communication was more effective.
Tip – when emailing friends, peers, or supervisors, mirror their DiSC style for effective communication.
The second post highlights the evolving norm in workplace correspondence. Now, let’s put a DiSC slant on it:
Tip – start working toward adopting a “DC” approach to emails, and if you lead, start training your team to do the same.
The “D” helps keep things short and action-focused, and the “C” strips away the fluff. And, this is the new norm, so using the approach is kind, polite, and savvy. Teaching others to use it helps make communications much more efficient.
Do you have any other ways you apply DiSC to email communication?
Bonus tip — do your correspondents a favor by giving them a deadline to respond, or telling them there is no need. (e.g.: “no need to reply” or “no reply needed” or “please let me know by 2pm” or “can you please respond by Friday noon?”)
Here’s one reason I love DiSC: you can put it to work immediately.
Consider an individual that you’re having a bit of difficulty connecting with – and you call it a “personality conflict.”
Ask this: Is the person more fast-paced and outspoken? or more cautious and reflective?
Then: Is this person more questioning and skeptical? or more accepting and warm?
The first question puts us more “top” or “bottom” — fast-paced equals “top” and cautious equals “bottom.”
The second puts us “right” or “left” – questioning is “left” and accepting is “right.”
If you know me personally, you will likely peg me as “fast-paced,” putting me on the “top.”
It’s tougher to decide if I’m more “questioning” or “warm;” that’s a testament to the fact that we are complex creatures. Most will put me on the right. My daughter — and some of my coaching clients — might put me on the left.
But let’s make this easy to start — if I’m “top” and “right,” then I’m an “i,” which stands for “influence,” which describes the way I like to work with others. I value enthusiasm, and action, and collaboration. Once you know that about me, then you have an idea of to approach me and work with me.
Armed with just that level of knowledge, my work with the “C” people (bottom left) improved – once I learned that the “Conscientious” style prioritizes accuracy over speed– which isn’t really my style — we got along better. For details, read a post from three years ago: How DiSC Changed My Life.
The “D” stands for Dominance, and the “S” for Steadiness. Just checking out their priorities — which are all good, and every team needs them — can help you decide how to modify your approach to get along.
I get lots of questions about this stuff, so I’m going to start sharing more. Next week. Until then, the “i” in me says “HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!”
Back in March, I kicked off a format change for this blog, promising that I’d ask for your feedback after a while.
Well, it’s been a while. I’ve gotten great feedback, and I’m encouraged that it seems like my readers would like me to keep up this short video format.
But, I’m a “high I” (that’s DiSC-speak), so I tend to look at personal feedback through rose-colored glasses.
What ought be next? A return to written, or a continuation of video?
That go-to phrase:
Please let me know through your messages or comments…
And thanks for your support, especially those who have been reading/following since December of 2009!
Tabby and Alan discuss the “3 magic words” that help make requests pleasant and keep people engaged.
Matt and Alan talk about the danger of dwelling on things.
Sarah and Alan talk about a technique to cut down on passive-aggressive and/or sarcastic speech from the people around you.
Related post: Ignore the Tone
Jayson and Alan discuss: Sometimes leaders need to walk the fine line between consistency and flexibility.
Sarah and Alan take last week’s conversation on modeling versus delegation and go deeper. But just a bit.
Related Post: Delegation vs. Modeling