We are all different, but sometimes we forget this and approach the world expecting people to think feel and react to situations the same way that we do. Leaders and managers are no exception and can struggle to get the most out of our teams. The good news is that we can control ourselves (it’s the only thing we can!), and when we understand ourselves, we can start to recognise that everyone works differently. Each of us has a natural working behaviour and style. We use William Moulton Marston’s DISC theory and Wiley’s Everything® DISC tools to help identify these styles and build our understanding of how people work.
We have created four familiar scenarios, looking at how problems can show up in the workplace and how each style may sometimes struggle to adapt their own behaviours to help their teams:
Scenario 1 – A Lack of Empathy
Imagine that one of your teams has a high amount of turnover, and those that leave have stated that they were feeling burnt out. They feel too much pressure to achieve high results and you, as their manager, didn’t allow for any problems that may occur. Your team will not feel like they have any autonomy and when they deal with clients, they will struggle to provide high-quality service. All problems end up being ignored in the quest for high results.
You might be a D style manager. This style can be direct, firm and strong-willed, prioritising challenge, drive and action. All of these things are of course excellent attributes of a manager; however, some people can struggle working under a manager like this. D or doer styles, who feel confident and comfortable can sometimes have problems showing empathy, which is being recognised more and more as a vital part of leadership.
The eBook: The Great Resignation says that D styles can overcome this problem ‘by understanding other perspectives,’ and as a result ‘they see that not everyone shares their sense of urgency and that they can often get better results in the end by showing compassion in the moment.’
Scenario 2 – Chaotic Approach
One of your clients has complained to you about the quality of a project. They want it rectified and completed to a better standard. However, when you tell your team they are confused as they think the project has been completed fully. They are unclear on the specific outcomes the client wanted. It comes to light that you and your team’s approach to work is a little chaotic and the processes and systems you use are a little unorganised. Your team are happy, enjoy the work and work well together, however, they are aware that sometimes they cut corners and have to run overtime on some projects.
An I or influencer style is fantastic at building camaraderie and keeping the team spirit alive, however, they struggle to communicate the full scope of projects to their people, creating confusion. It is also unlikely that they will manage to stick to a set timeframe. I style managers need help understanding that people appreciate stability, predictability, and control. If a situation is too chaotic, things do not get done.
The Great Resignation states that ‘by understanding other perspectives, [an I style will] see that not everyone shares their same comfort with improvisation or emotional expression and that sometimes they’ll need to take a more task-oriented or tough-minded approach.’
Scenario 3 – Avoiding Upset
One member of your team is underperforming. You have avoided addressing the behaviour in fear of hurting their feelings, giving them the benefit of the doubt, hoping that they will get up to speed in time. This causes more problems as their work is suffering and your whole team are missing out on their targets.
S or supporter managers prioritise collaboration, support, and reliability. They are even-tempered, accommodating, and patient. They struggle to give negative feedback and want to avoid upsetting people at all costs. These managers need to understand that ignoring a problem does not fix it. Not acknowledging problematic behaviour is not helpful and can end up causing more problems for others on the team. Ultimately, not giving honest and constructive feedback will also stunt growth.
According to The Great Resignation, ‘These managers grow as they start to appreciate that sometimes they’ll actually have to invite tension and instability into their world.’
Scenario 4 – Resistant to Change
A new system is being rolled out through your entire organisation, but you are dragging your heels, asking questions and are resistant to a new change. You feel your needs are not being met and that the new system is not doing what it needs to do. You just can’t approve something that doesn’t work the way you need it to. This ends up causing tension and can slow projects down.
Steady paced and task-oriented managers, the C or considerer styles tend to get bogged down in detail and are risk-averse, resistant to change and focus heavily on logic. They need to be encouraged and understand how their attitudes affect those around them. If a C style manager can come alongside their ‘direct reports and appreciate their humanity they will be able to see that the people they manage will often need praise and optimism more than they do and that some risks can be positive.
Managers need to be adaptable and understand their own behaviours that may be causing more problems and affecting their team’s performance. Acknowledging what they are doing and how people react to their working style, and then acting upon that knowledge will help to improve productivity and their working relationships.
Keeping things simple in a complicated world.
To learn more about the DISC tool and how you can learn to identify different DISC styles. Come along to one of our free lunchtime sessions. They are full of powerful insight into the world of Everything DiSC® (part of the Wiley group) and in just 30 minutes you will learn something! We run a learning session every Monday and a Pro session for professionals already working with DISC every other Thursday.
If you are a people development expert, independent consultant or coach and would like to benefit from a like-minded and supportive network of people get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can become a partner.