Everyone is different, everyone can agree on that. But can you predict how someone will act or react in a certain situation?
DISC distinguishes 4 behavioural types which describe how you respond to and handle specific situations. You may have a colleague who always knows where he or she is going and can easily decide on things: the decisive style. And there is that colleague who interacts easily with everyone or the steady worker who looks after everyone and then there’s that colleague who is good with facts and figures and takes his time to deliver the perfect report; the conscientious style. We have some level of each of these styles in our personality. So how do you know which style you have or what the others on your team have? This might be very interesting to discover if you want to improve performance and job satisfaction or build stronger teams.
"DISC is a tool which helps you understand your own behaviour and the behaviour of others – in your team, your organisation or in your social environment. The tool provides a common language which helps you to understand and adapt your behaviour to different people and contexts”, explains Lisa Freiburg, one of MDF's experts who uses DISC in the training course Leadership and People Management.
Think of that colleague who always gets on your nerves: she always asks you to make detailed activity reports but whatever you submit: it is never good enough. Meanwhile, you are focused on getting work done and focus on what is ahead of you. Where does this frustration come from? Your colleague likely scores high on the conscientiousness scale (blue): she has very high standards and wants to do things right. She is driven by perfection and a fear of criticism. You, on the other hand, tend to score high on the interactive scale (yellow). You like to focus on the future; you are often ahead of others and enjoy trying out new things: writing reports is not a priority for you, but you do care about what your colleagues think of you. This insight of where the frustrations come from, can help in finding other ways of collaborating that responds to the needs and interests of both.
DISC was founded by William Moulton Marston in the 1930s. He developed the theory while doing research for his book The Emotions of Normal People in which he aimed at identifying predictable traits and behaviours of everyday people in different environments. Until today, DISC is used internationally and its usage continues to grow. “What makes DISC pleasant to work with is the simplicity of the tool", says Lisa. "Due to the use of colour and clear language, DISC is easy to use and accessible to a wide audience. The DISC profile is available in 28 languages, which makes it possible to use across the regions where we work!
For positive change to take place, we believe it is essential to understand your own behaviour and the effect it may have on others. DISC helps to initiate this reflection and provides people with new insights about themselves. “We are integrating DISC into relevant training courses and programmes we implement," says Lisa. "As a participant in our Leadership and People Management course for example, you receive your own DISC profile and a personal coaching session to help you interpret the results and formulate learning points. We also integrate DISC into our advisory services to address challenges and opportunities at team level, for instance with team- or network building sessions. We also offer DISC coaching sessions to individuals who are motivated to understand their personal behaviour better and want to improve their communication skills.”