I was looking at two different Everything DiSC Workplace profiles I took several years apart. My basic C style remains, but I’ve moved much more towards the outside and towards D. What does this tell me?
I believe that as I’ve aged I’ve become more comfortable being who I am, and in asserting my priorities. I’ve become more myself. I’ve also become much more comfortable moving into another style. So while I don’t typically seek out collaboration, for example, I am not ill at ease working that way. I’ve accepted that I’m introverted and that it’s not a character defect, as another example. So when I see phrases on the DiSC questionnaire that might have seemed a little undesirable to me in the past, I accept them now because I know that my preference does not equal my ability. I can show enthusiasm and be supportive even if I don’t show a strong preference for those behaviors.
What else have I learned?
I might go straight for facts and logic in an argument and be uncomfortable around strong emotions. I have learned to give myself and others a bit of a break. I understand better how important sharing feelings can be to those on the other side of the DiSC circle. I know that I can experience their reactions to conflict and even share a few feelings of my own. In fact, the i and S styles will be much more willing to listen to my arguments if I give them some of what they need first.
I am more patient with myself, too. I schedule time for myself regularly, even during social gatherings. I need that little bit of distance to recharge and I don’t feel so weird about it. I can better explain to others that I’ll be back to join in again and I’m not angry or withdrawing because I’m hurt. I can ask others to be patient with my needs.
Yes, I do tend to isolate myself so I have to watch that. I know that I tend not to offer praise or even a thank-you as often as others would like. So I pay attention to that. I can be overly blunt. So I try to learn from diplomatic S-style people I know. I feel vulnerable and a little silly when showing enthusiasm so I’ve learned to watch for how others are reacting–and it’s usually positively.
Reading The 8 Dimensions of Leadership helped me to really understand the values each style brings. I can be judgmental and I once pegged the S and i styles as ineffective leaders. (I’m so embarrassed by this now.) My lessons about the importance of networking—something every S knows—have been learned the hard way. I might really like to work for an Energizing leader. I know I enjoyed working for an Affirming leader. I dismissed some of her warm and inclusive actions as being a waste of time or politically motivated. I was very wrong. I felt like she understood my individual needs and the needs of our team. She got us resources others could not or would not have fought for.
It’s a circle for a reason
I have choices about my behaviors. My priorities don’t have to dictate my actions. In fact, as I age, I want to experience more of that circle. My awareness and acceptance of my own priorities may be stronger, but so is my understanding that I can draw on each style as I see fit. I can practice being supportive, for example, and get much better at it. I don’t have to pigeon-hole myself or others. I can ask them to flex outside their comfort zone, too.
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team