Posted by & filed under Assessment, DISC Personality Styles, Employee Development.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how the DiSC assessment works and what information it conveys. The DISC assessment is a powerful tool for understanding ourselves and our own strengths and weaknesses. (If you haven’t taken it yet, you can get your own personality profile instantly!) When we know our own personality styles, we can better ask for what we need to be productive. But the other aspect of the DiSC, and one that’s just as valuable, is knowing and understanding the personality styles of the people around us. Our coworkers, employees, and leaders each have their own profiles on the DiSC. Understanding them is key to successful communication.

So let’s look at a hypothetical example, but one that probably rings true for a lot of us. Carla is a web developer at an engineering firm who does excellent work. Most of her colleagues have no idea about coding, and Carla prides herself on being indispensable, knowledgeable, and producing accurate work. But Carla strikes a lot of her coworkers as “awkward;” she doesn’t engage in small talk and seems uncomfortable when she’s in a group that’s not discussing work directly. Sometimes Carla will give feedback or make comments that come across as too critical or harsh. She will sometimes join the others for lunch breaks, but stays relatively quiet. However, Carla lights up during staff meetings when problems or new tasks are discussed. She often jumps right in to new projects and never misses a deadline.

If you’re familiar with the DiSC personality styles, you might guess that Carla is a C type. C types are motivated more by tasks than relationships, and they’re more reserved and systematic than other styles. C types are often introverted, and they have little patience for social niceties or “team building” exercises.

So how would Carla’s coworkers who are not C types communicate successfully with her? How would they help her to feel like a valued member of the team while strengthening their relationships? Since Carla doesn’t really respond to personal small talk or compliments, what are some other ways to keep her motivated?

While it may seem counterintuitive, C types might respond better to more reserved styles of communication: slightly more formal language and tone, downplayed body language and energy level, and little to no time spent on personal matters. The coworker who thinks, “Wow, if I’m super friendly to Carla, maybe she’ll warm up!” might actually making exactly the wrong choice. Carla will see that behavior as false, overwhelming, or both. Yet Carla might respond better to direct appeals to her expertise. Instead, walking into her office and asking “Carla, if you have a moment I need your help with this issue” will almost certainly yield a better response. Pace is another consideration: as a C type, Carla likes to analyze her options before making decisions. She will shut down or become overly critical when she feels rushed or stressed. Rather than walking into her office and forcing her to make a significant change immediately, it’s better for her if her opinion is solicited and if she’s part of the decision-making process. This gives her some autonomy and also allows her time to process the need for change.

Being able to read the personality styles of others is a key skill for successful leaders and colleagues. It all comes back to adapting behaviors to the people with whom you work, being conscientious of their personalities and needs in order to create success for everyone.

Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how Employee Development Systems, Inc. can help your organization!

Posted by & filed under Active Listening, Communication, Conflict, Employee Development, Leadership, Performance Management.

argue photoThe strength and effectiveness of an organization depend on team members at all levels, but these qualities start at the top. Strong leaders are in high demand! These people must motivate and inspire their teams but still maintain high expectations for performance. While it’s easy to find qualities that strong leaders share, some behaviors mean trouble. If you or your management team own any of these bad habits, it’s time to reassess.

Strong Leaders Never Pit Employees Against One Another

One sign of troubled leadership is getting sucked into employee drama. If one team member isn’t performing as expected (or is having personal issues with another), it’s best to handle that situation privately. Sharing your frustrations with another employee only leads to gossip and mistrust. You’ll be accused of taking sides or stirring the pot rather than effecting meaningful change. Instead, hold a meeting between the employee (or employees) in question and express your concerns in person. Then ask for and listen to their response. In all instances of conflict, do your best to stay above the fray.

Strong Leaders Never Rest on Their Laurels

A stagnant organization often reveals stagnant leadership: someone who never commits to trying new things. Ironically, it’s the businesses who need change the most who often seem the most hesitant. Power structures and traditions become codified, set in stone rather than critically questioned. Strong leaders remain open to new ideas and new solutions to old problems–in fact, they openly solicit them! Again, it comes back to active listening: paying attention when the “boots on the ground” identify issues and attempt to solve them.

Strong Leaders Never Hesitate to Ask for Help

Sometimes progress is more than you or your team can handle on your own. Development opportunities for employees and for managers can dramatically improve productivity and performance. They can “recharge” and re-energize a business that seems to have lost its touch. Strong leaders will recognize the need for these opportunities when it arises. They understand that motivating employees starts with giving them the tools to succeed.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles, Employee Development.

As we discussed last time, I decided to take the DiSC (and you can too!) to learn exactly what’s involved in the profile and report. I learned that I am primarily a Steady (or “S”) personality type, which I guessed, but also that I have a strong Conscientious streak that can impact how I view my work. Depending on the situation, I can be more relationship focused or more task oriented, and I have high expectations for the accuracy and quality of the product that I create.

The DiSC report that comes with each assessment is 30 pages long, so there’s much more to learn and analyze than just a report on your personality type and what it’s like. As I read through the report, I was also intrigued by several other insights it presented. The second section presented lists of specific ways in which my personality type might manifest in a workplace environment: my strengths and challenges, my needs, my communication style, my motivators and work preferences. For each list, I was asked to highlight two items that best described me and enter them in a worksheet at the end of the section. On the summary sheet, my personality type was basically laid bare and ready to share with others with whom I work.

Being able to articulate my needs and preferences (and even my weaknesses) seemed like a really great first step in helping others communicate better with me. For example, I learned that I like to be asked for my input regarding important decisions, and that I’m motivated by sincere reassurance from my supervisors and clients.

The next section of the report is the longest, likely because it’s the most practical and pragmatic. This is the bread and butter of the DiSC: how to adapt your personal communication style to mesh with the personality profiles of others. The report explains the four DiSC profiles in detail and gives you some criteria to determine the personality types of others. It explains where tensions might arise among profile types based on pace and priority. Then it explains the concept of behavioral adaptability, “your willingness and ability to adjust your approach or strategy based on the particular needs of the situation or relationship at a particular time,” and gives tangible, everyday solutions and suggestions to help you adapt.

This is the piece of the DiSC that I think will be most helpful in the workplace: learning how to pay attention to yourself and the people around you in order to adapt. You can’t really adapt your behavior if you don’t pay attention to the needs of the person you’re interacting with. Being more conscious and more attuned to differences in pace or priority is key to getting the DiSC to work. Thankfully the report provides many resources for being able to do this and understanding why it’s so important.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles.

Having researched and written about the DISC assessment for quite some time, I felt pretty confident in my understanding of the assessment’s four personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious. And in writing about the different types in detail, I felt pretty confident that I was an “S”: a bit slower paced, but prioritizing relationship-building over task completion. I like working with people collaboratively, yet I’m a pretty laid-back person. You won’t find me being the first person to speak up in a meeting. And it’s just important to me that my colleagues live up to their potential as it is that I do. I’m happy to do what I can to support them.

So I decided to take the DiSC myself (available here) to determine if my suspicions were correct. The answer? Yes, but there’s a lot more to it.


DiSC assessment results



The three graphs here represent how I might behave in different situations. As we’ve discussed before, the DiSC is unique in that it focuses on not just one dominant personality trait, but it also factors in the other traits that influence my specific profile. So yes, I was right: I am primarily a Steady person. The “S” type is dominant in all three instances of this graph.

BUT, all three also show a high presentation of “C”: Conscientiousness. Conscientious people are also slower-paced, but they tend to be more task-oriented than focused on relationships. They pride themselves on being detail-oriented and accurate. I enjoy working collaboratively, but I’m also a copyeditor and a content writer. Accuracy is my bread and butter. It was also interesting to see that I have a few “I” or Influence tendencies. I sometimes feel the need to be persuasive and motivating when I am trying to get something accomplished. It’s not a major factor in my overall personality, but I did think it was interesting that the assessment picked up on it.

One of the most interesting parts of the assessment for me was my detailed Behavioral Profile Overview. This consists of about a page of analysis about my specific type, and explaining how these different pieces fit together for an SCi. A lot of the S parts I already suspected. For example:

“[Y]ou tend to be optimistic and encourage others with your sense of optimism. This comes not only from your natural positive spirit, but also from your high sincerity-factor.”

Sounds about right. But where the profile really came in handy was pointing out where the S and C types overlap. This provided insight to my personality style that I hadn’t ever considered. Take this part about my expectations:

“Your pattern of responses shows that you tend to be patient with others, although you set high expectations for yourself as well as others. This trait come from a combination of your high sincerity-factor coupled with your high desire for quality control. You provide the best performance you can do on the job on a daily basis, and you expect no less from others on the team. You may be disappointed when others don’t meet those standards.”

The “high sincerity-factor” that the overview describes is typical of an S personality, while the “quality control” aspect is more in line with the C. And it’s true! I struggle when it feels like others aren’t doing as good of a job as they should be; I feel resentful when I have to pick up the slack. But the S part of my personality makes it difficult to know how to approach these problems, because I prioritize relationships over tasks and don’t want to demoralize or cause conflict with anyone. Having this insight helped me understand some of my tendencies and hangups in a new way.

Later this week, I’ll share some more about what I learned from my DiSC profile. Stay tuned!

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.


Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles, Leadership, Personal Effectiveness.

disc personality stylesHave you had a chance to have your own personality assessed with the DiSC? This week, we’re finishing up our guide to the four main DiSC personality styles (though, as you’ll find in the report, the true benefit of the DiSC is an assessment that can pinpoint your style based on the blend of types that make up your personality). Throughout this blog series, we’ve examined the four dimensions of the DiSC profile: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and now we’ve come to the last one: Conscientiousness.

DiSC Personality Styles – Conscientiousness

The DiSC profile identifies Conscientious types as those who “work within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.” DiSC personality styles are evaluated on two axises (risk-taking vs. conservative and task-oriented vs. people-focused), the C types will share a lot of the same subtle and introverted tendencies with their S colleagues, but with more of the task focus of the D types. What is most important to people with strong senses of conscientiousness is getting the job done right.

C types in the Workplace

Sometimes people who are less familiar with the DiSC call the C type DiSC personality styles “careful.” While this is technically incorrect (and any C type would be the first to say so!), the idea is spot on. C types tend to be very cautious, focused, and deliberate in their work. They are less motivated by the relationships that surround them in a work environment, and more inspired by performing well — yet they don’t seek the dominance or power of D types. Conscientious team members are less emotionally motivated or invested in the team; they communicate best when focusing on details and facts and can benefit a team that needs to prioritize and get organized.

Strengths and Weaknesses of C types

Conscientious people can be a bit inflexible in terms of compromise and are not particularly comfortable with the social aspects of being part of a team. Their sense of humor can come across as “snarky,” when in actuality they’re trying their best to be part of a group. They can be a bit socially awkward, even if they have great ideas to contribute and don’t appear outwardly shy. C types love working on their own to put systems in place and solve problems, and their feedback to others can sometimes come across as a bit brusque, even if that’s not how it’s intended — they’re just focused on the data. Analytical team members’ greatest strength is their commitment to execution, as they are consistently motivated by positive interpretations of their performance.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Photo by Patricia Cerda -Gerlacher via Flickr

Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles, Leadership.

disc personality stylesWe’re back this week with the two remaining dimensions in the DiSC profile. This guide is designed to help explain the DiSC personality styles to companies and individuals who are interested in taking the plunge but aren’t sure yet if they’re ready. The DiSC is the cornerstone of many of our programs at EDSI, and we’ve also make it available as a $75 individual assessment for those interested in the assessment alone. If you haven’t yet experienced the DiSC, you can take it instantly to learn about your unique combination of personality types.

DiSC Personality Styles – Steadiness

The S in “DiSC” stands for Steadiness. The Disc Profile defines Steadiness as “placing an emphasis on cooperating with others within existing circumstances to carry out the task.” Moving away from the more “outgoing” personality types of Dominance and Influence, which are focused on changing their environments, people with steadiness-focused DiSC personality styles are more reserved and introverted. Yet this doesn’t mean they don’t work well with people: S types are actually known for being warm, loyal, and patient. They value cooperation and developing stable, strong relationships over the potential gains from competition or risk-taking.

Steadiness in the Workplace

According to DiSC personality styles, S types are reliable, supportive leaders with good listening skills, and they desire to include everyone on their teams. They are excellent at creating nonthreatening environments that make everyone feel welcome and valued. S types do best in a team environment where they can work with others; individual or solitary assignments make them feel isolated and ineffective. Their practicality and patience makes them valuable contributors. However, S types might have some difficulty working with stronger Dominant personalities (though the D types might not notice); their desire for stability and relationship building can sometimes drive them to put other team members’ opinions first rather than self-advocate.

Strengths and Challenges of S Types

While S types are extremely affable and work well with others, they can experience some barriers to getting work done. First, they can have trouble in conflict because they want everyone to be happy; it takes great effort to set boundaries or express their true feelings if something isn’t to their liking. And while the Steadiness attribute is great for reliability and stability, the flip side is that S types can be resistant to change. They feel unsettled in times of flux and are slow to adapt to uncertainty. This can be interpreted as rigidity, but it’s best for S types to have plenty of time to adjust.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles, Leadership, Personal Effectiveness.

disc personality stylesWelcome to our blog series, Inside the DiSC Dimensions! This series is designed to give readers an idea of what sort of results you might expect from taking the DISC assessment, either as part of an employee development program like Increasing Personal Effectiveness, or on your own for self-improvement in your work and personal life. If you haven’t yet experienced the DiSC, you can take the assessment today and get your results instantly! The profile evaluates four key DiSC personality styles and how they interact to form your unique personality.

DiSC Personality Styles — About Influence

Today, we are back and focusing on Influence: the “i” in “DiSC.” The DiSC Profile defines Influence as emphasis on “shaping the environment by influencing or persuading others.” Like people who are Dominant personality types, Influencers like impacting their surrounding environments, exerting their own force. Both DiSC personality styles might be considered extroverts, seeking out others and finding energy and drive from external sources. However, the Influencer is less concerned with tasks to be accomplished or challenges to be conquered; building strategic relationships is of much more importance. In DiSC personality styles, influencers are known for galvanizing and motivating their teams, willing them to success by infectious enthusiasm. Rather than seeing problems as personal challenges, Influencers see them as ways to build bonds between team members and as opportunities to build social capital. Influencers are concerned with their own popularity and with how they’re seen by the other members of the group.

Influencers in the Workplace

Influencers can make tremendous leaders in their ability to inspire and motivate those around them. Even if not in “official” leadership positions, these people have a positive effect on their teams and can bridge some of the divide between the more forceful Dominant DiSC personality styles and the more reserved S and C types (whom we’ll discuss next week). Because they’re often concerned with popularity, Influencers have an innate sense of compromise and love persuading others to find harmony and agreement.

Strengths and Challenges of Influencers

Of all the DiSC personality styles, Influencers are naturally focused on relationships much more than tasks or details. This can be a tremendous asset when they’re needed to build relationships and take action, but doesn’t particularly bode well when they’re needed to follow through on assignments.Their constant focus on “politics” can also sometimes hold them back. In matters of concrete, analytical problem solving, Influencers can be easily distracted and unmotivated by what they find to be irrelevant details. It’s also difficult for them to speak openly and candidly as they often wonder what impact their words might have on those around them.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under DISC Personality Styles, Leadership.

disc personality stylesThe DiSC assessment is one of the best ways that we can understand our unique personalities and motivations and those of the people with whom we interact. This detailed inventory reveals and explains four key personality traits, which it calls “dimensions.” According to the DiSC, personality styles are constructed by the “recipe” of these four traits together. Each person will exhibit a dominant trait, but the strength of each trait and how they work in concert is truly what makes a personality. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll examine the four dimensions of the DiSC. When you take the DISC assessment, you’ll find that one of the possible traits is Dominance.

About Dominance

Dominance in the DiSC assessment is defined as “[placing] an emphasis on shaping the environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results.” The key phrases in that definition define D-type DiSC personality styles well. Let’s look at each of them. Shaping the environment involves taking action to change a current situation. D-type DiSC personality styles like to take action; they don’t often hang back and wait for change to find them. This can be interpreted as being forceful or commandeering, but it can also be a positive, motivating trait. D types will also seek to “overcome opposition.” They do not tend to be patient seekers of compromise, preferring instead to tackle challenges head-on (again, with potentially forceful or driven behaviors). Finally, D types seek always to “accomplish results.” They are exceptionally goal-driven and tend to be competitive, viewing success as a collection of measurable objectives.

D-Type DiSC Personality Styles — Dominant Roles in the Workplace

D types make up many people in leadership roles throughout many organizations. Dominant people often find themselves in positions of leadership precisely because they are competitive and results-oriented. Particularly in the “traditional” sense of leadership, the ambition of the Dominant personality is often rewarded with more power and responsibility. On a team, D types will often dominate group discussion and seek to create overall goals for the team. They are less likely to be concerned with details or ensuring that all members of the team agree with their ideas.

Strengths and Challenges of D Types

Dominant personalities are often perceived (and can sometimes manifest) as “masculine” and aggressive. Understanding the Dominant personality trait well, however, shows that the D personality type isn’t “positive” or “negative” but simply descriptive. Successful leaders with D types will only succeed as far as they’re able to listen to their colleagues and employees. D types can often provide a strong sense of purpose to an organization, fueling and inspiring other team members with their passion, drive, and willingness to embrace difficult problems. On the other hand, D types need to keep their tendencies in check when they could infringe on the voices and participation of others. Understanding their own tendencies is key to getting D types to slow down, think more conscientiously of how their actions might affect others, and listen to other points of view.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under Assessment, DISC Personality Styles, Employee Development, Leadership.

DiSC assessmentIt’s no secret that we love and use the DISC assessment regularly in our development programs. DiSC provides a customized foundation for understanding ourselves and others–our motivations, our personalities, and ultimately our behaviors. There’s a very good reason why this assessment is standard in so many hiring processes and professional development programs worldwide.

But if, in your journey in management and leadership, you haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience the DiSC assessment, you might be wondering what the fuss is all about. And there’s no better answer than taking the assessment yourself and receiving your individual DiSC profile. We offer instant individual DISC assessments for $75, which provide a tremendous value to understanding both your own personality type and the value that the DiSC can bring to your company.

Wondering why you should? Here’s what we find are the biggest strengths to taking an individual DiSC assessment.

First, when you take the DiSC, you don’t just receive a personality “label.” Instead, you get tons of resources for understanding your unique personality dimensions. The typical DiSC profile includes:

  • a detailed explanation of your highest dimension (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, or Conscientiousness)
  • an intensity index that reveals how strong each of the dimensions appear in your personality and how they’re most likely to manifest in terms of traits
  • your profile pattern: the way the four dimensions interact to form your unique personality type, and how that personality type functions in terms of motivations, work habits, etc.

Try the DiSC Assessment for Yourself

If you’ve been on the fence about using the DiSC for potential hires or current employees, you should take it yourself first. Examine the wealth of information it provides about your pattern and many others, and consider how this sort of detailed approach might benefit your team. Employers prefer the DiSC. It offers insights not just into the self but also into the personalities and motivations of coworkers and employees. It’s a starting point for learning how to work with others.

Beyond researching the value a DiSC assessment may add to your organization, the instant assessment offers individual and personal benefits. Being able to identify your own personality strengths and challenges is key to working well with others. Because the DiSC report is engaging, memorable, and easy to understand, you’ll retain its information much longer than you might with other personality inventories. Retention is key; the more you remember, the more you’ll translate the DiSC’s findings into your personal and work behaviors.

Even if the DiSC hasn’t yet been adopted as the inventory of choice at your workplace, there’s no reason why employees and leaders alike can’t take the assessment individually and begin to reap its benefits. If you haven’t had the chance to experience it yet, take the assessment today and begin to understand yourself, improve your relationships, and optimize your work habits. Not a bad start to a new year!

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, and performance. Take the DISC assessment today, and contact us to find out how we can help your organization.

Posted by & filed under Communication, Hiring & Selection, increasing personal effectiveness, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Presence in a Casual World, Work Life Balance.

hiring millennialsAlmost everywhere we turn, we see complaints about the Millennial generation. Born between the mid ’80s and the late ’90s (though the exact time frame is up for some debate), this generation has been analyzed and criticized just as much as Generation X before them. Millennials have been labeled entitled, narcissistic, and sheltered. But are these assumptions actually true? What do we need to know before hiring millennials into the workplace as they settle into their careers?

What You Need to Know Before Hiring Millennials

Millennials Are Not Lazy

As we teach in our courses, labeling people is not a productive management strategy. There are definitely difficult behaviors that need to be managed, but one of the primary ways to do so is to understand the motivations behind the behavior. One assumption that just won’t die is that millennials are “lazy.” In fact, there are more likely two other factors explaining what appears to be a lack of drive. First, this generation has experienced challenges far beyond those their parents and grandparents faced: the economic downturn in 2008 severely limited the number of Millennials who were able to enter the work force, despite having the highest college attendance rate of any generation. Even in the years of recovery since, Millennials are set back compared to the generations that have gone before.

Secondly, it’s not that Millennials aren’t motivated; it’s that they’re motivated by different factors. Millennials strongly value personally meaningful work and a work/life balance. They’ve witnessed Baby Boomer relatives work long hours at unfulfilling careers and do not want to repeat those same choices. Understanding and respecting these different motivations is key to bringing Millennials on board, both at entry-level and at management positions.

Millennials Offer Different Skill Sets

Millennials, it has been argued, are some of the least skilled members of the workforce: they struggle more than their predecessors in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving (more on that in a bit). But not all is lost. One of the benefits of a diverse workplace is the variety of skill sets it provides. The Millennial generation is not only tech savvy, but “tech native”; they’ve never known life without the Internet. This can mean huge opportunity for marketing and social media, an avenue in which many businesses still lag behind.

Millennials Were Made, Not Born

Columnists and armchair sociologists love disparaging Millennials, but to some extent this criticism is unfair. The setbacks and deficits of the Millennial generation (such as lower literacy skills) are largely the result of policies set by previous generations: increasing income inequality, more expensive and less effective education, and “helicopter” parents (Baby Boomers and Generation X) who demanded that every child be labeled as “special.” In short, it’s often not the younger generation’s fault that they display some of these traits. Hiring Millennials, then, offers an opportunity for their education. Training and professional development programs in personal effectiveness, communication skills, and professionalism can provide the younger generation with a better understanding of the world they’ve entered.

Whether companies like it or not, hiring Millennials is inevitable for businesses that want to continue growing. Understanding Millennials, their challenges, and their opportunity to help your organization is key to ushering in success.

Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance. Contact us today to find out what we have done for other organizations and how we can help yours.


Photo by ITU Pictures via Flickr