Nothing is so powerful as insight into human nature… What compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action… If you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being. – William Bernbach (1911-1982)
They surround us. People who do or say things that drive us crazy, and the brutal fact is that it’s likely the feeling is mutual. You may live, work and play with people who have tendencies such as:
- They’re bossy.
- They talk incessantly with long-winded stories that aren’t relevant to the topic at hand.
- They need information and data to analyze before making a decision.
- They come to you constantly with questions about the best ways to do a task.
- They’re a perfectionist and nothing you do is every good enough for them.
- They think they’re always right.
- They’re optimistic, even in the midst of a crisis.
Truth be told, you may exhibit some of these behaviors, if you were honest with yourself. Of course, you may be in denial and while these tendencies are apparent to others, you can’t (or choose not to) see yourself in the same way that others see you. However, perception is reality. When others observe your behavior, their reality is based on their perception — whether you choose to accept it or not. No behavior is universally right or wrong. It takes an enlightened leader to know thyself through a process of self-discovery, then choose to adapt their behavior to the needs of others depending on the situation and the people involved.
The first step to knowing thyself is through a behavior or personality assessment. There are many from which to choose. I’ve been working with the DISC model for more than a decade, and I am a certified professional behavior analyst, Value Added Associate and distributor through Target Training International. DISC is an acronym that stands for the four quadrants of behavior it measures: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. DISC is a universal language of observable human behavior that’s been scientifically tested for its high level of validity and reliability.
After you know yourself, the next step for an enlightened leader is to learn to recognize behavioral differences in others. If you look around your team, office, department or organization, you will find that:
- Some people are forceful, direct and results-oriented. (D – dominant)
- Some are optimistic, fun and talkative. (I – influence)
- Some are steady, patient and relaxed. (S – steadiness)
- Others are precise, accurate and detail-oriented. (C – compliance)
Bring out the Best
People around you may have two or more of these descriptors, yet their behavior seems to consistently fall in one of the preceding categories – D, I, S, and C. This heightened awareness allows you to take the third crucial step: appealing to others’ needs. Before you can appeal to someone’s basic needs, you must know their needs then intentionally choose to adapt your behavior to their behavioral preferences. For example, if you know one of your team members like punctuality, you can choose to be on time for his/her meetings. Perhaps Jane Doe like to be in charge; assign her the role of a project manager.
As a character-based leader, if you are willing to discover your behavioral strengths; willing to address possible limitations in your behavior; and have a desire to bring out the best in others then DISC is a place to start. Because I believe strongly in the power of DISC assessments and analysis, I am offering free online DISC behavior assessments for a limited time. To take advantage of this offer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your request in the comment section below along with your email address. You’ll receive instructions from me with the website, response link and one-time use password to access the instrument.
What are your experiences with behavior or personality assessments? Do you have opinions on how your leadership and communication styles – personally and professionally – have benefited from the insight and application?