Working with groups of teenagers

Working with groups of teenagers

Some of the same techniques for increasing teamwork and understanding among adults can also work with teens. However, we usually don’t recommend using an assessment like Everything DiSC Workplace profile for anyone under 18 or with poor reading comprehension in English or Spanish.

We suggest using the Personal Development Paper Profile® with youth. It is written at the sixth-grade level and will still provide participants with a better understand of themselves and others.

Group activities

If you’re lucky enough to have more time with the adolescents you’re leading, you can try one of these exercises.

Map the cafeteria

Provide a rough map of an area where your audience frequents meets or hangs out. It doesn’t need to be a cafeteria (it could be social media channels) and it doesn’t need to be to scale. It just needs to be large enough that it can be drawn on to show each identified group and to add a few comments. Ask a few questions like these:

  • Do groups naturally form in your cafeteria (or other location)?
  • What unites each of the groups you can identify?
  • What makes it possible for a person to move between groups?
  • Which groups are the most stable (have had the same members for the longest time)?
  • Which groups have the most status?
  • Do these groups have personalities?
  • If there was a crisis (like a fire or bullying) how would each group respond?
  • If each group was asked to host a party for everyone, how would those parties differ?
  • If you wanted to sell a new soda to everyone, how would you do it differently for each group?


collage for DiSC i styleThis is a bit of group task cliche for teens and adults, but it still has its advantages. Everyone can produce something and no one has to disclose more about themselves than they desire. People have to share the materials and naturally start talking. This variation is good for groups where people are hesitant to share much about themselves.

Provide magazines, catalogs, manga or other visual print media along with scissors and glue. Ask participants to create a collage that represents them. One variation is called the treasure map in which each person creates a collage to represent their goals for the next year.

Another variation is to create four collages to represent each of the four DiSC styles. This is a little more abstract so you might want to create one for yourself first. You might chose to put an astronaut in the D section, a person sitting alone at his desk in the i section, a relay racer handing off her baton for the S style, and an architect for the C style. Please remind participants that you’re using types as an organizing concept only and that one’s style does not determine their level of success in any job.

Personality and gender

The BBC conducted a personality test with the following findings. Have your teens discuss what they think about the findings.

… men tend to score higher for the trait of Openness than women. Intriguingly, this suggests that men tend to have a higher sensitivity for art and beauty than women, whereas women tend to be more practical.

Women scored higher on average than men in Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. In other words, women tend to be more caring, dependable and emotional, while men tend to be more competitive, distracted and even-tempered.

Editor’s note, 2018:

Updated results can be found at Neuroscience News.






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