Have you ever worked (or hung out) with someone and thought they were a bit of a dick?
That’s a rhetorical question by the way – I know you have. Especially if you’ve ever been to a networking event!!
Have you ever considered though, that maybe they’re not actually a dick – maybe their personality traits are just causing them to come across as one in your eyes? I mean, even dicks have friends – which I guess is evidence that dickness is in the eye of the beholder?
Are you wondering what the hell I’m going on about? Let me cut to the chase – this article is about personality traits. More specifically, DISC personality traits.
Why is it helpful to know someone’s personality traits?
By understanding people and how they roll better, it allows us to form more accurate opinions of them and identify how best to work with them, and indeed when to let things go.
I know for me personally, it’s completely transformed many of my relationships – with family, friends, clients, colleagues and superiors.
When I started working as a personal trainer for example, I thought my boss was a complete dick! He always seemed disinterested when I would strike up a random conversation and would send me very short and direct emails and texts…RUDE.
Once I learned however that he was a DC within the DISC model, I realised that he just had different motivations than me. He was concerned largely with results and tasks, whereas I prioritise collaboration and people.
So I simply found ways to work with our styles. I would cut out the niceties at the beginning of my emails and get straight to the point – which he very much appreciated. And if I wanted to chat I would start by saying, “I know you don’t want to talk about this, but…” – so he knew I understood him but wanted him to come over to my style for a moment.
It’s amazing how such simple adjustments made such a big impact. I no longer perceived him as a dick, and actually a great relationship was built with a strong foundation of mutual respect.
DISC profiling your clients
I used to profile all my clients in the gym too. It was invaluable when it came to motivating them.
For example, a High C client needs a lot of info about what they’re doing; it’s important for them to understand. They just want to come in and do their workout without any fuss, and without any sudden changes. These people would fill out their food diary perfectly every week.
A High I however, doesn’t give a shit about details. They just want to chat while working out and know that what they’re doing will get them what they want. They can be very easily distracted. These guys would lose their food diary after the first session!
A High S is usually more concerned about you than themselves. They prefer to move at a more casual pace and would happily do the same routine over and over. They’re not bothered about winning, they just want to make sure everyone’s ok. High S’s would fill in their food diary sporadically but often “forget it” as they didn’t want to let me down.
A High D loves a challenge, so give them an opportunity to win or get a personal best and they will do whatever it takes to achieve it. You have to be careful that they don’t take charge of the session though and tell you what to do! High D’s don’t have time to fill out food diaries, they just write down a brief description on the run.
So as you can see, by understanding people’s personality style you can:
- Build rapid rapport
- Gain trust and respect
- Communicate effectively
- Motivate and bring out the best in them
- Easily identify if they’re under stress or experiencing a challenge
It’s kind of like having a super power, understanding people to this degree. It allows you to connect at a whole different level – which is important, as real human connection is critical for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Using DISC profiling and personality traits to improve work culture
Can you imagine what this would do for a work culture too? The performance of a company relies on the performance of each individual team member, so when you understand how to help each team member perform at their optimum (and more importantly, how to ensure they’re happy and satisfied at the same time) business performance will follow suit, as will a thriving culture.
I always profile all my team members and run sessions to educate them and give them the opportunity to explore how they can best communicate and work with each other. I love facilitating this for companies too.
It’s so great when you see team members get “ah-ha” moments about their colleagues and realise – “Oh, so Stephen isn’t a dick…he’s just a High C and likes detail, so I can see now why he would get frustrated when I (as a High I) give him vague briefs or don’t fill out a spreadsheet properly. I now understand that in order for us to work well together I need to be diligent with detail and processes, and he needs to be more approachable when I have questions or need help or feedback.”
Again, a simple adjustment can make a massive impact.
What can you do to understand people better?
So my question to you is, what can you do to understand the people around you better?
- Maybe you do look at an official profiling tool like DISC, or enlist the help of a professional to facilitate a team discovery and alignment session.
- Maybe you just expand your awareness and observe what seems to motivate and frustrate your colleagues and loved ones.
- Or perhaps you can start conversations and ask questions – there’s no better way to understand how someone rolls than getting it straight from the source!
Whatever you decide to do, I encourage you to go into it with curiosity – let go of expectations and enjoy the ride!