Disco, bell bottoms and the Bee Gees may be by-gones, but something that never seems to go out of style is the need for better collaboration between colleagues.
No matter how great your individual staff members are, if they can’t get along, you’ve got a problem.
Communication is one of the areas I invariably discuss with the organizations and individuals I coach: how we do it, what we say, what we mean, how it is perceived.
And as humans we all have our blind spots. That’s when it can be beneficial to take a look at the kind of communication style we have.
One tool I use is the DISC Profile. It looks at how individuals communicate in terms of problems and challenges, how we influence others, how we respond to the environment and systems within that environment.
The DISC Profile operates on the premise that characteristics of behavior can be grouped into four major “behavioral styles” and individuals tend to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style. All individuals possess all four, but what differs from one to another is the extent of each.
The four dimensions of behavior include:
- Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
- Influence – relating to social situations and communication
- Steadiness – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
- Conscientiousness – relating to structure and organization
All styles have their strengths that enable a team to function efficiently. Ideally you have representation of all the styles on your team in order to pool the best of all four dimensions.
When work teams go through the process of identifying their own style and learning about other team members’ styles it can be enlightening. What they also see are the potential areas of conflict between certain styles that are different from their own. This is where insight is developed and team member learn productive communication strategies that allow for enhanced collaboration.
The DISC can be used to build productive teams, develop effective managers and supervisors and improve customer service. Some organizations also use it to assist in hiring, recruiting and placement.
One team I worked with found that they had unknowing hired all “C” behavior types into their team. As a result, their highly precise and analytical behavioral style at times would keep them stuck and derail the team preventing them from accomplishing objectives. Once they realized this they made their future hiring decisions based on balancing the team with other behavioral styles that increased the team’s productivity.
In my work with teams it is clear that the most effective people are those that understand themselves-both their strengths and weaknesses and also can also “read” others and adapt their interactions accordingly.
The DISC’s greatest value is that it helps individuals develop more self awareness and awareness of others, which leads to more enhanced communication.
Because there’s nothing like a team with great rhythm.
For more information about the DISC Profile or team training contact Maureen Dorgan Clemens. Maureen is Vice President of Organizational Consulting Services at Perspectives Ltd. She and her team work with many organizations to help teams become more collaborative and productive.