Why use this book?
We have several colleges that use the book The 8 Dimensions of Leadership in their courses and ask participants to get the brief 8 Dimensions Leadership Map assessment before they read the book. We also recommend providing your leaders who go through the Everything DiSC 363® for Leaders with a copy of the book. It can be helpful for them to read more about the dimensions as they need to make greater use of them. The book can also be helpful for a coach to be able to assign a few pages of reading before a leadership coaching session.
The research that led up to the book included the delivery and review of using Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders results and interviews with leaders and raters. As Jeffrey Sugerman, one of the authors, explained “The data set started with ratings of about 3,000 leaders and about 21,000 raters. Now that database is much larger than that so some of the data came from the later reviews.” In other words, the book came out of research that went into and came out of work on the assessment. So it makes sense to use them together.
Both the 363 report and the book provide specific strategies for leadership development. The report devotes three pages to very specific strategies for development. The book provides inspiration and advice when a leader is struggling or just wants to review leadership lessons.
Review your natural home on the circle
Learning that you’re naturally an energizing leader sounds great, but what does it mean? The 363 report will give you an overview of your leadership outlook on page 3, but the book will explain more about your style. It will explain your psychological drivers, motivations, and blind spots typical of leaders with the Energizing style.
Leaders can highlight areas on which they want to focus in the coming months. The leader could take these to a boss or coach to review and discuss. They can also highlight areas where they might overextend into their style and look back at the 363 results to see how raters evaluated them on these areas. The CommentSmart feature (rater picks a comment from a selection of comments in the system) of Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders makes these comments constructive and easy to read.
Review areas of weakness and blind spots
Let’s look at how the book could be used. Let’s say you’re working with a leader who rates himself much higher on the Humble dimension than do the raters. When you turn to page 12 on the report you see that the leader sees himself as more fair-minded than his direct reports and peers did. (See sample figure at right taken from a sample report.) There might be a blind spot here or a need to improve upon a behavior.
As a coach working with this leader, you can look at the book’s chapter 15, “Lessons from Humble Leaders” and assign the leader to read the few pages on “Lesson Three: Other People Have Needs That Differ from You Own.” You begin your discussion with the leader there. Ask if those pages resonated with the leader. Ask about how he can improve.
Turning to the section about the dimension directly opposite the one in which a leader scored highest is often a great place for a leader to begin. Many leaders find that they need to develop the dimension that sits opposite their own primary dimension on the circle model. Leaders can review the chapter devoted to that style (in our example it is the Deliberate dimension that is opposite the Energizing dimension.)
The section of the 363 report for that dimension will cover three behaviors characteristics of that leadership dimension. In our example, the leader had raters comment “At times, it’s difficult to understand what he’s saying.” The book provides some guidance on being more deliberate in communicating.
Consider when to use each dimension
The most important dimension for a leader to work on depends on personal goals and present challenges. A leader might want to work on their natural dimension because current events depend on their being very strong in the behaviors related to that dimension. Or current challenges might require employing behaviors that aren’t comfortable. There will be times when a leader needs to rally the troops and act from the Energizing dimension, for example, and leaders will benefit from reviewing the chapters on Energizing. A leader can pick up the book when they need it and read the chapters relevant to them at the time.
Coaches and leadership teams can use the book to guide discussions about behaviors that might be most useful during a time of change. Leaders who will need to act decisively and quickly, for example, might want to review the chapters for the Commanding and Pioneering dimensions. A leadership team faced with low employee engagement numbers might want to review chapters on the Energizing, Affirming, and Inclusive dimensions and review their own 363 scores as part of strategizing on how they will respond.
Becoming a balanced, 8-dimensional leader takes time and effort. The Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders 360-degree review and The 8 Dimensions of Leadership are valuable assets to have along during that journey.