You may have heard of the DISC assessment, and many of you have probably done it. If not, you probably have at least heard of Myers-Briggs. Based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, the DISC behavior assessment tool is centered on four behavioral traits:
D for Dominance
I for Influence
S for Steadiness
C for Conscientiousness
Usually when a young employee fresh out of college is asked to do an assessment like this, they are taken by surprise. For some reason, not too many schools that I know of spend any time reviewing these types of assessments unless of course it has to do with your area of study. This is unfortunate because, while newbies may feel caught off guard, these assessments can help us do two very important things:
1. Find out about ourselves
2. Understand how to better interact with our peers
I was blown away the first and only time I did the DISC assessment, which was about two years ago. I had never heard of it before and I was skeptical, but by the end of the day I realized that I was much more aware of what type of people my colleagues were, which made me feel like I could actually work more productively with them.
The problem with not understanding yourself or who you are working with, is that it can lead to unnecessary prolonged discussions, sometimes a petty argument, or everyone walking away disgruntled and confused as to why they couldn’t come to an agreement.
They say that the DISC assessment is not about assessing personality, but rather assessing a person’s behavior in various circumstances. Essentially, I can tell you that I’m a different person when I’m among friends than when I am among family, or when I’m among colleagues than when I am among friends. This statement is true when discussing how I behave, but my underlying personality doesn’t change. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what the letters stand for in more detail.
Are you starting to see how this knowledge and understanding can be incredibly helpful? Another thing to remember is that we all have traits of each letter to some degree. We will never be 100% “D," or 100% “S." In fact, you’ll find that after you complete the assessment, you may even find yourself straddling two letters almost equally. If you fall in that category, congratulations… you are a complicated being! Generally speaking, I’m an “I," with a little bit of “C” not far behind. This means that most of the time I’m fairly extroverted in situations and I like attention, hence why to others it seems like I happen to talk a lot. When I’m around people that are “S," I can really see the difference and I actually start to feel like either I’m being too enthusiastic or the person I’m talking to is just plain boring.
Imagine that you are working on a project with a colleague and you start to realize it just isn’t going anywhere. Is your colleague the problem, or are you the problem? Are either of you the problem? It could be that neither of you are the problem, and the real issue is the lack of understanding each other’s normal typical behavior. If I knew ahead of time that my partner on a project is a “C,” then I would allow myself to be aware and stop myself from getting antsy if I’m being too forward and not getting enough reciprocation.
The DISC assessment is truly something that can be used every day, whether you are at work, at home, or even dealing with a sales rep at a store. I strongly urge you to take the DISC assessment yourself, and encourage your entire company to do it together. You will find out so much about yourself and others, and it can do wonders in terms of increasing productivity.
Have you taken this assessment yet? Has it helped you in the office, or even in your day-to-day interactions?
Find out more about DISC here