DISC Styles Picture

Gabi, what tools should I use to find out who is in my team? What should I do to build trust in my team? I have a team, and I can’t change anything, what should I do to create synergy in the team where all the people go toward the same direction, and people don’t step on each other’s toes?

These are the questions I usually receive when we discuss building cohesive teams. I also asked myself these questions when I was working in groups of individuals that were labelled as teams.

If you also have these questions in mind, read this article until the end, and you will find out how I use one of the tools to build the foundation for a strong, cohesive team that achieves the wanted results.

First, let’s make sure that we speak the same language about what trust means in a team. Many times trust is misinterpreted; I would like to share how Patrick Lencioni defines trust in a team because this is the type of trust I am talking about: when it comes to teams, trust is all about vulnerability. Team members who trust one another are comfortable being open, even exposed, about their failures, weaknesses, and fears.

Vulnerability-based trust is predicated on the simple-and practical-idea that people who can admit the truth about themselves do not engage in the kind of political behaviour that wastes everyone’s time and energy and, more important, makes the accomplishment of results unlikely.

But vulnerability-based trust is rare because it is hard to achieve. The idea of putting ourselves at risk for the good of others is not natural and is rarely rewarded, at least not in the ways that we expect.

It’s important that we become comfortable with being exposed to one another so that we can honestly say things like: “I was wrong”, “I made a mistake”, “I need help”, “I’m not sure”, “You are better than I am at that” and even “I am sorry”. If we can speak these words when the situation calls for it, we will be less likely to waste time and energy thinking about what we should say and wondering about everyone else’s true intentions.

Now let’s discuss the HOW, how we build vulnerability-based trust in a team.

The main way I use is behavioural profiling that gives us an objective, reliable means for understanding and describing one another’s preferences, skills, and attitudes so we can identify the collective strengths of the team and potential blind spots. Knowing one another’s behavioural preferences and personality styles will also help us understand and empathize with one another. As a consequence, it is easier to give honest feedback to each other.

There are many behavioural profiling tools on the market; I chose Maxwell DISC Method because it is easy to explain it, easy to understand and easy to apply it and at the end of a workshop each participant can take the tool and use it right away.

What is DISC?

DISC – was developed based on William Marston’s theory, and it is a framework to see patterns and to understand different types of personalities. When we understand people, we know HOW to best prepare FOR, interact WITH, and respond TO them according to their styles. As a result, stress and confusion drop and productivity goes up.

DISC is an easy to use framework, that helps teams to communicate better with each other and to be on the same page while making effective decisions for projects. DISC is a great framework that increases trust, transparency and accountability; as a result, teammates don’t step on each other’s toes and act as each other’s safety net.

How can we use DISC to set the foundation for trust?

  1. First each person in the team takes the Maxwell DISC Personality Indicator Report Assessment, and they receive a 30+ page profile. Besides how much D, I, S, and C style each person has they will also find: 3 graphs that show how others perceive them, how they react to stress and how they perceive themselves, description of their behavioural style, description their communication style, the communication style of others and how to connect to them, the ideal work environment where they can bring the best forward, their strengths in 7 key areas of influence and more.
  2. Then the team moves into a series of exercises designed to explain the main patterns that DISC is based on and how to use them in everyday life.
  3. After that, each member of the team presents their profile to their teammates, and we make a map of the team.

Then we have a reach facilitated discussion about the team type and the implications for the team of having that mixture of personalities.

When this stage finishes, something magic happens in the team, everyone is on the same page, all the cards were laid out on the table, and the foundation for keeping each other accountable is created.

If you think of a team that has this level of understanding about the people that forms it, what would be possible for them?  When people come together, have a common goal and support each other, they can accomplish what might have looked impossible on paper.

What would be possible for your team if you had this kind of understanding about each other? What is the map of your team look like? How much D, I, S and C is in your team?

Want to find out more? Sign up for the complimentary session about it.