Team Dysfunctions Blog — DISC

Character flaw? Really??

Posted in: Behavior, Collaboration, DISC, Teams  on June 16, 2015

Character flaw? Or behavior difference?

Behavior is measured on the DISC assessment.

If you are familiar with the DISC behavior profile you will understand what I mean when I describe myself as having a high D/I and a low S/C behavior style.

If you are NOT familiar with the DISC it measures our tendencies when dealing with the “four P’s” of behavior:

  1. Dominant with Problems (D)
  2. Influential with People (I)
  3. Steady work Pace (S)
  4. Compliant with Procedures (C)

The high D/I style suggests that I am direct and dominant (“D”) when approaching problems or tasks, and inspiring or influential (“I”) when it comes to interacting with people. Different behavior styles are not character flaws!

It also suggests that I am flexible – NOT structured or systematic (“S”) – in how I approach my work pace. And that I am, uh, stubborn and (sigh) careless with details – NOT cautious or compliant (“C”) – with following procedures.

And, as I do wherever I go, I took my high D/I style with me to do a workshop for a group of high S/C individuals who are all those things I am not – structured, systematic, compliant and detail-oriented.

It did not go well.

  • I neglected to pay close enough attention to the behavior styles of the group and I approached the workshop in my typical enthusiastic, direct, engaging style. It was a little too energetic, and therefore overwhelming, not engaging, for them.
  • I brought the wrong power point presentation. It was close, mind you … one I had previously done with their executive team and then edited for the purpose of doing it with this team. But it was, nonetheless, the wrong one and some of the references and dates in the body of the presentation were no longer accurate and didn’t match the handouts.
  • I failed to prepare them for what they considered to be the “intrusive” work we would do as part of the team building process. It included answering questions such as, “In order to do my best work this is what I need from you …”

The bottom line was that I established myself – once and forever – as someone who lacks attention to detail. Indeed, no matter how hard I try and how diligently I focus on the minute details, in virtually every subsequent contact with them I have missed a relevant detail, supporting their belief that I have what they consider to be an egregious character flaw in my lack of attention to detail.

For the record, this is a trait of mine that I do not like or admire or appreciate. It is frustrating and discouraging to make copious lists and try all sorts of other behavioral adaptations to ensure that I attend to all the relevant details and then discover that I missed something anyway. But a character flaw?

In my book a character flaw would be more along the lines of lacking integrity; not caring how your behavior negatively impacts someone else; dishonesty; being untrustworthy, unkind, entitled, or jealous. It might even include not giving somebody a little bit of grace for their human limitations. Hmmmm.

If the lack of attention to detail is, in fact, a character flaw then I see it as equally damning as the inability to interact comfortably with people in any situation; or the inability to stand up before a few hundred people and present information that is inspiring, engaging and meaningful – activities that are usually difficult for the high S/C type. (Excuse me while my D/I is showing.)

Of course, I don’t think that is at all damning. Or flawed. Or even “bad”. Perhaps a challenge, a limitation or a non-talent but certainly not a character flaw.

It. Just. Is.

Nobody's Perfect resizedAnd, therefore, it is, simply, something I have to deal with and cannot ignore because, after all, I am not perfect.

So put me in front of a few people or a few hundred people with a topic I am knowledgeable about. I’ll have a great time and they’ll leave feeling inspired and encouraged. But ask me to ensure no details are overlooked in the process? Well, unfortunately, that I cannot guarantee.

All in all it was a good lesson for me. I pay more attention to my audience now, adjusting how I present information accordingly. And when that high S/C type drives me nuts with details or thoroughness in finishing a project I remember to give them some grace, appreciate what their style brings to getting things done well, and – hopefully – laugh about the differences.

DISC is a great tool to increase self-awareness and appreciate different approaches. It is invaluable in decreasing team misunderstanding that contributes to unproductive conflict. If you want to learn more about DISC check out our website or contact us. We’ll give you one with our compliments so you can see the impact it can have when you recognize and appreciate the different behavior styles that make up your team.

Is work making you sick?

Posted in: DISC, Overcome, Team Dysfunctions, Workforce Issues  on March 31, 2011

My friend, “Mary” (name changed), slept well last night for the first time in months.

She made a momentous decision yesterday to go out on short-term disability because the stress she has been under in her job is making her sick. She has experienced dangerously low levels of iron in her blood, heart palpitations, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, along with anxiety and depression and a 25-pound weight gain.  (Did I mention she was a size 4 former professional dancer with no health issues?)  To top it off the experiences of having been devalued, ignored, not supported, singled out and publicly criticized have eroded this successful, highly intelligent and competent woman’s normally high confidence.

She’s not alone.  More and more of us cite work stress as a significant problem.  Gallup research indicates more than 80% of Americans report job stress, and 40% of them agree they need help dealing with it.

So what?  We all know life is stressful.  And most of us accept that the place where we spend more waking hours tends to be a little more stressful than the place where we lay our head at night.

But when we experience continuously high levels of stress we are at higher risk for developing physical illnesses.  And if we don’t handle stress well (which 50% of us don’t) that’s another risk factor.  The costs of job dissatisfaction, burnout, lower productivity, absenteeism and higher turnover are great.  But those costs pale in comparison to the costs of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive problems, migraines, degenerative diseases, increased infections, anxiety and depression.  All in all job stress costs American businesses billions of dollars a year.

While Mary’s stress came from being verbally and emotionally abused at work a lot of us are stressed simply because we change our behavior when we get there.  A simple, 10 minute DISC assessment can determine whether or not you are at higher risk of becoming sick just because of work stress.  And another simple, 25 minute personality assessment can tell you how well you handle stress.

Again, so what?

  1. Knowing how much and where you change your behavior at work is a good starting place to consider whether that’s what the job needs, or if you simply perceive that’s what you need to do.  It’s also a good conversation to have with your manager or mentor.
  2. If you know you make big changes at work, and you know you don’t handle stress well, you also know you need to be sure you have healthy ways to manage stress.  If you can’t do that on your own a few conversations with a coach or counselor would be in order.
  3. It can also wake you up to some other changes you may need to make.  Is being this stressed out in your job really worth the potential health toll?  Is it maybe time to more seriously consider making a change?

Want to see whether you should pay more attention to the stress in your life?  Purchase a Prevue personality assessment (regular price $232, special Team Dysfunctions price $192) and receive a FREE DISC assessment ($92 value!  Offer good through April 30, 2011)  E-mail today ( or complete our Contact Form with code TD 4/2011)

Contact us today (717-575-0942).  Life is too short to spend it feeling worn out, burned out and stressed out.

DISC: Better than a kitchen gadget!

Posted in: Develop, DISC, Select, Team Dysfunctions  on December 10, 2010

You don’t have to look very far to read something about DISC these days. There are so many uses for DISC that it’s like a handy kitchen gadget that chops, minces, grates, grinds, blends and mixes.

For those of you who may not be familiar with this handy-dandy tool, DISC is a behavior assessment. It reveals how you communicate and interact with others, and how you are energized (or de-energized). Behavior is not right or wrong, apart from the meaning that we tend to impose on those whose behavior is different from ours. When we understand our own behavior, it often puts other people’s behavior into a different context, leading to decreased misunderstandings and unproductive conflict.

Our DISC style is based on whether we are:

  • Direct or Dominant with Problems
  • Interactive or Influential with People
  • Stable or Steady in our work Pace
  • Cautious or Compliant with Procedures

To be sure, DISC is a very effective tool with many valid uses and benefits.

For individual and team development it is priceless (hmmmm … should I raise my prices??).  DISC enables us to understand how we are perceived by others so that we can learn to adjust our behavior to be better understood.  It also helps us to understand other people so we can put their behavior into perspective.  (If I know that Sally scored 10 on the “I” scale, and I scored 100, I won’t ask her to join me for lunch very often.  She won’t feel pressured, and I won’t feel rejected.)  It provides insight into why I might be totally stressed out at work.  It presents opportunities to improve communication.  It enables us to develop more vulnerability-based trust, the cornerstone of an effective team.  And it enables us to engage in more productive conflict.

DISC also aids in the hiring process, as long as you understand the limits.

  • It predicts behavior style, not potential for success.
  • It reveals how stressed you might be at work, not how well you handle stress.
  • It identifies how you’ll approach the job, not if you’ll be competent at it.
  • It recognizes how you are energized, not if you’ll be good at what energizes you.

Combined with a validated personality assessment DISC reveals how the personality traits will be displayed.  A very assertive person who is a high D, for example, will come across much differently from a very assertive person who is a considerate, easy-going high S.  The high D will intimidate – whether they intend to or not.  The high S will get their point across less forcefully.

DISC is a powerful tool for little more than the cost of a kitchen gadget that chops, minces, grates, grinds, blends and mixes.

Want to try one out, for free?  Simply complete my Contact Form with the message, “Overcome team dysfunctions with DISC” and I’ll send you instructions for a free online DISC assessment.  When you finish the test we’ll review your results over the phone and you can see what you think.  I guarantee you’ll find the information useful or the assessment is free.

Wait a minute … it’s free anyway!  If you forward this blog to a friend, s/he will get one, too.  This great offer will end 12/15/10 so don’t wait!

How do you engage your workforce?

Posted in: Develop, DISC, Engage, Retain, Workforce Issues  on October 20, 2010

Maybe a better question would be “how do you wish your boss would engage you?!” 

We know you have good ideas – and we want to hear them!

In honor of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, synergize! is hosting a contest.

There are two ways to enter and share your ideas on the best way to energize, engage and motivate your workforce.  It could be based on personal experience, the opposite of ways you don’t like to be treated, activities you’ve done or a boss has done, or just a great idea you have.

  1. Visit our Expo booth (# 80) at the Lancaster Expo at the Convention Center all day tomorrow.  Complete our “Best ways to energize your workforce” form.
  2. Share your ideas via e-mail ( or using our Contact Us form.

Two winners – one from the Expo and one electronic – will be chosen later this week and contacted via phone.

  1. The Expo winner will receive up to 10 FREE DISC (behavior) assessments for your team, AND a FREE two-hour team session!  (A $1650 value!)  That’s the LOCAL ADVANTAGE!
  2. The electronic winner will receive up to 10 FREE DISC behavior assessments for your team and a one-hour webinar! (A $1400 value!)

I’ll share all the great ideas in a future blog.

Enter now!  Or stop by the synergize! booth at tomorrow’s Expo!

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