by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team
I do not work at our office, so our team decided to review our Everything DiSC Comparison Reports before we start an important group project later this summer. We know each other’s styles, but we wanted to make sure we communicate well and—since we’re all results focused—get good results. It was a productive discussion and I thought I’d share it with our readers.
We all enjoyed the exercise and have an idea of where we might have communication or other difficulties. This is especially important since I’m not in the office and can feel out of the loop. And email exchanges can easily be misinterpreted. Our discussion helped us make some plans and take some actions to reduce the likelihood of our project being delayed or less effective than it could be.
We have a small team with a CD, an iD, and a DC with high score in enthusiasm. So we all share an orientation towards results, but I do not share their trait of enthusiasm. It’s probably good that I don’t share an office since that style can get on my nerves. I truly appreciate it, but in small doses. An enthusiastic greeting when I stop by is great. But too much energy all around me and I can’t work well.
Two of us share a high value for accuracy and show more sustained focus. This could set up a natural alignment during conflicts. Or we could be judgmental of the more action-oriented team member.
We have a high level of trust in our team so that facilitated our discussion. We were able to have it without a facilitator. I can see how if we waited to look at these reports until after we experienced conflict, a facilitator would be a welcome addition.
What I learned
“If I’m not excited then work isn’t fun.” Those aren’t my words, but a co-worker’s. This is a helpful reminder for when I want to slow her down. It’s probably more productive to try and meet her pace at times. I know it’s hard for people to tell if I’m satisfied or having fun so I’ve learned to just tell people if I’m really engaged in a project or not. We’re all excited about this one coming up, but I probably show it the least.
I am hesitant to ask for something a second time. I’m a patient person after all. So I asked directly if I had ever come off as a nag and how I could be more active about reminders. Now I know where my teammates’ thresholds for nagging are. They aren’t the same, but their limits are higher than mine. That’s really helpful to know. I worry about sounding abrasive or impatient in any email asking for an update or reminding the recipient about something they’d promised but not delivered. Now I feel like I have permission to send such emails.
While deadlines do not motivate me, they do motivate at least one of our team. So we’ve agreed to set a few more of those.
I am happy to work alone and am not a fan of small talk. I need to make an effort to be more sociable. I know that I sometimes learn important information while we all shoot the breeze. I might feel like I’m wasting time so I have highlighted the report’s note: “Make an effort to engage in small talk from time to time, so she feels that you’re approachable.” And we’ve set up a monthly lunch to force us all into social discussion time. While we do talk casually, we frequently end up in and out of work-focused group discussions where we all benefit from knowledge-sharing.
How we used the report
The report was a tool for conversation and dialog. It brought up issues we really hadn’t thought about on our own or hadn’t thought important enough for a real discussion. The report asks you to check or cross out statements that apply or don’t apply to you. So there were statements that just didn’t ring true for this team. For example, I asked if I was seen as having a hard time dealing with change. It was helpful to hear that they saw me as risk-adverse but not change-adverse. We focused our discussions just on where the reports’ lists of potential roadblocks felt accurate.
While we haven’t had any problems with all three of us scoring high on being frank and strong-willed, it’s something to be aware of. The report alerted us to the fact that as a group (0r in pairs) we might intimidate others. We hadn’t even thought about that possibility. We’ll be keeping that in mind now as we collaborate with other teams.
We did not spend any time looking at all the positive statements the reports offer. Here’s an example of one: “Her focus on swift results may help resolve problems more quickly.” A manager might find those comments very helpful. I’m hoping I remember to return to them whenever I feel frustrated or irritated by a teammate’s behavior.
In light of my working from home, we spent a bit of time talking about how to communicate clearly and regularly. We decided that email will continue to be our primary tool and we’d keep those focused on work. Phone calls will be used for clarification of emails, for quick tactical issues, and for any emergency issues. This makes my C-style comfortable. We’ll set up a few shared documents for tracking progress. We’ll meet monthly for a social lunch. These make my teammates more comfortable.
Learners can compare styles and get hints for working better with colleagues in the My colleagues section in the Everything DiSC on Catalyst platform.