Have you ever been in a meeting that starts with small talk, only to think… why are we wasting time on this, can’t we get to the point? Who has time for this?
Or maybe you’ve been in one of those meetings where very few pleasantries are exchanged at the start, and you think, man, the guy leading this meeting is awfully abrupt.
Or recall a conversation with one of your team members who had a strict deadline and missed it. He or she can’t understand why you’re so upset. I mean, the creative process needs time to breathe, after all.
Or maybe it’s just the opposite, your team member comes to you with his or her recommendations on a project. You decide you need more time, and more input and more data. The team member leaves your office, frustrated and unable to move forward because you can’t make a decision.
Chances are you recognize yourself in at least one of these scenarios. Each of us brings a different method of communication to the workplace. Our default is to communicate our way… only. That leads to great discord among teams inside many companies.
To improve communication among team members and therefore improve productivity in the workplace, business people must gain a better understanding of themselves and each other. A good place to start? Personality profiling.
We’re not talking about a “what type of animal would you be” quiz on Facebook. The science of personality profiling has become very accurate and predictive in recent years. For example, the DiSC© personality test is a behavior assessment tool that centers on four different traits:
The DiSC assessment is built on two major drives… the motor drive – slow-paced vs. fast-paced people – and the compass drive – task-oriented vs. people-oriented people. Depending on where you are on the spectrum, the DiSC system places you in one of 4 categories, also known as the DiSC Model of Human Behavior:
Dominance: The dominant personality type wants to get results and avoid wasting time. Those who fall into this category see the big picture and have no trouble telling others what they think, bluntly.
Influence: Enthusiasm and optimism are what you can expect from influencers. While they enjoy collaboration and like working in teams, they don't like being ignored or overlooked.
Steadiness: Steady types enjoy taking their time with projects, and tend to be very stable and calm. Although reliable and methodical, this
Conscientiousness: Conscientious types are objective, analytical and enjoy their independence. Before they are willing to make critical decisions, they want to collect as many details as they can because they are worried about being wrong.
The point of DiSC is not to judge others based on their style, but rather to help us better understand the way others think and communicate. That deeper understanding helps us bridge the communication gap and improve the way we work together.
Self-awareness can lead to miraculous improvements within an organization. Take the case of a CEO of a medium-sized organization. He falls in the Dominant category – highly driven, bottom line oriented and blunt – he is impatient for results and pushes his people to keep moving forward.
His key people were frustrated, constantly feeling like they didn’t have enough information to proceed, and in fear of his disapproval. His decisions were swift and sometimes lacked a complete plan. Since applying the DiSC assessment, this CEO has worked on taking time to provide others with the information and support they need. He’s learning to empower his people and to force himself to build more consensus within the team in order to increase buy-in and engagement.
This has not been an easy shift. But since he started working on his style, team members report less stress and frustration and the organization as a whole is getting more accomplished.
DiSC profiling doesn’t just apply internally. There’s real value in understanding how your clients and customers communicate. I learned this first hand. Many years ago, I was talking with a CEO with the hopes that we’d do some business together. I asked him about his kids, what he planned to do that weekend, not realizing that I was talking to a high “D” or Dominant type.
He just wanted to know what was included in my services, how much it would cost and how soon we could start. He told me later that he almost didn’t hire me because I was remiss in getting to the bottom line.
Instinctually, we all know we’ll get better results if we adapt our communication style to our audience. And yet, we fail to apply it. We still walk into sales meetings communicating from our own perspective. We lead team meetings the way we think they should be run, not according to the styles of the people gathered around the table.
If you take the time to pause for a moment, hone in on your audience’s style and communicate from their perspective, you’ll enjoy higher influence, better relationships and most importantly you’ll accomplish your business goals.
If you’d like to explore personality profiling for your organization, give us a call at 702-838-8413 or reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.