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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Understanding Your DiSC Profile

For nearly a century, leaders have relied on the DiSC assessment model to understand their leadership style — or the style of others. The DiSC personality assessment is designed to help you gauge your strengths and weaknesses, which can translate into better teamwork between board members. 

The DiSC model categorizes leaders into four main types: 

The best executive teams will understand how their members’ DiSC profiles complement one another and use these profiles to gauge how new leaders might integrate into the board.

Here’s how the DiSC personality assessment works and what it means for your organization.

Understanding the DiSC Personality Types

The DiSC classification system first emerged in 1928 thanks to the psychologist William Moulton Marston and his book Emotions of Normal People. His original four personality types were listed as Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. 

The categories have evolved since then, though Marston’s underlying thesis remains intact: understanding your dominant personality type can better help you understand the way you make decisions or interact with others. Here’s an overview of each type.

Dominance (D)

If you have a Dominance (D) style, you’ll naturally exude confidence and be able to see the big picture and take challenges head-on. These types of leaders can be commanding, decisive, and even innovative. They also likely have a history of getting the job done.

The flip side is that the Dominance style can be blunt and forceful, which can create friction in certain settings. If your natural style is Dominance, you may need to work on your empathy. Additionally, it never hurts to slow down and consider the smaller details and how they might impact the bigger picture.

Influence (i)

If your style is that of Influence (i), then you tend to lean more naturally toward persuasion and fostering collaboration. These individuals tend to be enthusiastic and warm, working to build consensus before rushing into a decision.

The dark side of the Influence style is that these individuals can fear disapproval from others or the loss of their own influence. As a result, these leaders may struggle with speaking directly and candidly for fear of “rocking the boat.” If this is your natural style, make sure to research all the facts, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind when needed.

Steadiness (S)

If you have a Steadiness (S) style, you’ll share much in common with the “Influence” type described above. You value cooperation and dependability and provide supportive actions to accommodate new challenges.

However, those whose dominant leadership style is characterized by Steadiness may struggle with change. If this is your personality type, you may struggle with multitasking or adapting to new circumstances. And because of your tendency toward cooperation, you may struggle with confrontation.

Conscientiousness (C)

Is your natural style marked by Conscientiousness (C)? If so, you may find that you work best independently — and systematically. You likely love data or love examining the details to understand complex processes. You value competency and objectivity in your decisions and thrive in stable environments, even if they’re complex.

However, this may mean you struggle with being wrong or receiving criticism with grace. You may also struggle with making quick, decisive decisions or compromising to get the job done. Focus on delegating more and being open to constructive feedback.

How to Use a DiSC Profile With Your Board

How do your board members determine their leadership style? A DiSC assessment consists of a series of questions that ask users to provide feedback on how they might handle (or have handled) a particular situation. 

Depending on how you conduct the assessment, users may receive feedback on their most natural leadership style, as well as their “adaptive” style.

The natural style refers to your “default” personality type, while the adaptive style refers to how you shift when you know you are being watched. 

Additionally, most DiSC assessments will give you a ranking of your personality traits. So you may be a natural “D,” but you may also have strong “i” or “S” characteristics as well.

Keep in mind that there are a number of free DiSC assessment resources available online, free of charge.

However, investing in a paid assessment may provide more accurate results for both you and your board members.

Benefits of the DiSC Profile for Executive Teams

Why should you consider using the DiSC profile with your executive board? Here are some ways that a DiSC assessment can strengthen your organization.

Better Self-Understanding

First, the DiSC profile can help you understand yourself better. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your strengths while pinpointing areas to work on in the future. This makes the DiSC assessment a wonderful way to encourage self-awareness and self-improvement. 

Better Teamwork

Boards that understand their own strengths and weaknesses will be able to work more effectively. For instance, the DiSC profile may cause you to reconsider having a strong “D” handle everything and delegate more tasks to “is” or “Cs” since these individuals may do better at synthesizing data or collaborating with other team members.

Better Service to Customers and Stakeholders

Taking the DiSC test will promote empathy since you’ll recognize these traits in your customers or stakeholders. This can help your board respond more effectively to external input when making corporate decisions.

Better Employee Engagement

Finally, the DiSC assessment can also help you evaluate the workplace styles of your employees, including your middle-level managers. When possible, you can adjust workplace conditions in certain areas to better engage your employees at their level. You can also redesign your CEO pipeline to build strong leadership traits in potential leaders.

Know Thyself, Know Thy Board

The DiSC personality assessment may be one of several tools that you can use to enhance self-awareness and improve teamwork skills among your board members. While none of these personality categories are set in stone, they can be simple ways to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and how they can best contribute to your board as a whole. 

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