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Learn this psychological code to get along with anyone at work

Posted by Kanika Sinha

September 16, 2021    |     3-minute read (542 words)

With every person coming from a different background, understanding human behavior can be a mystery. This is compounded at work, where the personality and behavioral traits of co-workers may be misunderstood and cause friction, which in turn impairs productivity and can even bring teams to a stalemate.  

Not to worry. Enter a handy psychological code called the DISC that can help you understand your colleagues better and foster stronger relationships with each one.

The DISC assessment styles

Originally based on the 1928 DISC emotional and behavioral theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, DISC is a powerful but simple behavioral assessment tool that can help us understand people by assessing their traits, preferences and mannerisms.

Disc is an acronym for model that organizes human personalities into four types based on their main behavioral trait:

Dominance; Influence; Steadiness; Conscientiousness 

How to spot each DISC style

Dominance style: People who score high in dominance strive to maintain authority. They are confident and work steadfastly to achieve their goals. Challenge, success and competition are their best motivators. They may be blunt and demanding with co-workers. Extraordinary problem-solving skills make them a valuable addition to any team.

Influence style: People who score high in influence prioritize relationships. They excel at communicating and tend to shape the environment around them by influencing others. They are excellent storytellers and possess a great sense of humor. However, they often have a hard time listening.

Steadiness style: People who score high in steadiness tend to be highly dependable, whether on a long-term project or a short-term assignment. They value persistence, cooperation and sincerity. However, they are not great candidates for multi-tasking, generally preferring to focus on one project at a time. They are great listeners and able to foster collaboration and more fulfilling relationships at work.

Conscientiousness style: People who score high in conscientiousness can be described as meticulous and produce high-quality work. They are strongly motivated by opportunities to gain knowledge and display expertise. Preferring to follow strict professional protocols, they may not like to socialize with co-workers. They are patient and accommodating with colleagues.

How to communicate using DISC

Once you figure out the DISC personality types of your colleagues, it becomes easier to sort out communication. You can tailor conversations and written communications in a manner that makes them feel valued, heard and understood.

Communicating with DISC “D” style:

  •     Be concise. Avoid verbosity and small talk.
  •     Use facts to explain your position.
  •     Involve them directly in decision-making. Don't expect them to follow already-made decisions.
Communicating with DISC “I” style:

  •     Be personable. Don’t hesitate to initiate chitchat before discussing business.
  •     Back up ideas and opinions with testimonials from co-workers that this colleague respects.
  •     Make decisions by meeting's end; follow up in writing. 
Communicating with DISC “S” style:

  •     Open conversation with a little friendly talk.
  •     They are good listeners, but listen to what they have to say as well.
  •     Don’t force a quick decision. Give them time to absorb your ideas.
  •     Avoid empty promises or you'll lose their trust.
Communicating with DISC “C” style:

  •     They pay keen attention to detail. Shared documents must be fact-based and organized.
  •     Lead by example and honor your word.
  •     Appreciate and commend their expertise.
  •     Maintain high professionalism when interacting face-to-face with such employees.

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