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The D.I.S.C. Behavioural Profile and Teambuilding

BRIEF HISTORY OF BEHAVIOURAL PROFILES

Throughout the ages, Man has been trying to explain the behaviour of their counterparts. Back in 444 B.C., the Empodocles believed that people would behave in a certain way when they got into contact with different elements like Earth, Air, Fire or Water. The Hippocrates, however, believed that it is the type of fluids that flowed in a person which determines how he/she will behave - cold or warm, fast or slow moving fluids - giving rise to Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholic types of personality. In 1921 Carl Gustav Jung introduced four different types of psychological types of personality: Thinking, Feeling, Sensation and Intuition that affects a person’s behaviour. Finally in 1926, William M. Marston invented the Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance (D.I.S.C.) personality system, which has benefited many organisations in better understanding their most valuable asset – their people.

Today, many organisations have came to realise the importance of understanding disc and have included it in their training or teambuilding sessions

Why D.I.S.C?

In singapore, as in other parts of the world, there are many different personality systems that can be used to explain the behaviours, so why D.I.S.C.? Firstly, D.I.S.C. is straightforward, and its simplicity renders it easy to understand and to apply. Secondly, with its longstanding track record, D.I.S.C. has been tested and proven to work. Thirdly, and most importantly, the premise of D.I.S.C. is that behaviours can be altered and this encourages people to learn to modify their behaviours after understanding their strengths and weaknesses, in order to leverage on their strengths and minimise their weaknesses.

DISC and Teambuilding

DISC has been applied by corporations world wide in teambuildng exercises. it is an excellent tool for recruitment, addressing team dynamics, motivation and communication.

Briefly, the different types of personality identified by Dr. Marston are:
Dominance – people who are results oriented, direct and decisive
Influence – people who are interactive, influencing and sociable
Steadiness – people who are stable, steady and secure
Compliance – people who are compliant, correct and controlled

Understanding personality styles can and has helped many organisations, both large and small, in many areas, other than in teambuilding:

Finding the Right Team Member

The D.I.S.C. system has helped many companies to place the right type of people at the right job. For example, you may not want someone who is of the “D” personality type (who tend to be very direct and task oriented, and may be impatient) to be your customer service officer. “I” and “S” type people who are more people-oriented may be more suited for this position.

Building a Team

To build an effective team, it is usually good to have people of different personality types to work together, so that the team dynamics would be more all-rounded. The “D”s will direct the actions, the “I”s will motivate the team-mates, the “S”s will ensure that the targets are realistic and the “C”s will look at proper documentation and compliance to policies and regulations. during teambuilding sessions, disc can be used to help a team understand each team members' strengths and weaknesses, and for effective delegation of duties.

Motivating a team

Using a banana to entice a cat to come out from the closet will likely yield little result. Similarly, understanding what motivates different people can help organisations motivate their staff with other than just monetary rewards. Type “D” people look for positions of authority, “I”s tend to appreciate public approval and praises, “S”s greatly treasure family and relationships, they will do almost anything if they know that you care about them. The “C”s, on the other hand, need to be complimented on their almost perfect work.

Teambuilding sessions are used by many corporatoins to motivate and/or reward their staff. Teambuidling offsites, especially, shows that the company appreciates the efforts of their staff and makes an effort to reward their staff on top of the monetary rewards that are given. In singapore, at a time like this, where unemployment rate is as low as 2.5%(1st Qtr 2006), there is always a better paying job else where, non-monetary incentives plays a big part in employee motivation.

Incorporating disc training as a teambuilding activity enhances the training element in the teambuilding session. DISC will help staff to understand not just their own sources of motivation but also the way different people can be motivate above and beyond monetary means.

Communication

In effective communication, we do not just need to give clear instructions. We also have to understand what people selectively listen to. Dominant people go straight to the point, and may not require many details to carry out a request. Influence type people will take the chance to talk to you about work, colleagues, family, hobbies, and the day’s news and may forget about why he/she was asked to do the task, if they still remember to do it. “S” types need to have specific instructions with clear areas of responsibilities to get into action and “C” types need to know exactly why certain things have to be done and how it will affect the third and fourth generation.

communication forms an integral part of almost every teambuilding session that we conduct.

Conflict Resolution/ Prevention

Understanding how another colleague thinks and works can help to resolve conflicts and prevent misunderstandings. A “D” person may never know that he is driving his subordinates too hard, an “I” person may not know that he is driving his “C” colleague crazy by passing her stacks of messy scribbles to be entered into the computer system.

conclusion

Through understanding of disc, participants will become aware that it is neccessary to understand what matters most to different people and we need to respect these needs as people are indeed different and these differences are what makes a team dynamic and able to respond to different situations in different ways. this helps to achieve the objective of teambuilding.

disclaimer

While profiling instruments are useful for greater understanding of oneself and other around, there are a few things we must bear in mind with regards to such profiles.

Firstly, no one or set of personality types is superior to the others. It’s all about placing the right people in the right environments.

Secondly, personalities do evolve with time and environment or a conscious decision to change. Any profiling system can only serve as a guide to predict a person’s behaviour. We all possess the God-given ability to choose how we want to react in any given circumstance. A change in personality can take place in as little as 3 weeks! We can also manage our behaviour by teaming up with the right people, and by adjusting our behaviour to suit the people we are dealing with.

Thirdly, most profiling instruments available in the market are based on self-assessment, i.e. getting the subject to fill up a self-perception questionnaire, therefore, the instruments delivered in this way measure the self-perception of the subject, and there is a possibility for the participant to answer the questionnaire according to the personality that he/she wishes to exhibit.

Lastly, profiling instruments in the market, which are not delivered by trained psychologists and doctors, are intended for people under normal circumstances. To measure behaviour of people under special or extreme circumstances, we may need to seek professional help from psychologists or doctors.

other articles on teambuilding:

teambuilding and team bonding
o.p.t.i.m.a.l. approach to teambuilding activities
multiple intellengence and teambuilding
why teambuilding activities always involve games

 

 

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