What DISC Means for Your Team

Posted by: Nigel Girling Post Date: 4th February 2015

Please read in conjunction with parts 1 and 2 in our DISC series. In the previous blog posts, we looked at the Dominance, Influence, Steadfastness and Compliance characteristics. Now we’ll examine how these might play out in practice. Reading our articles about Belbin and team roles will add further value and insight too.

Clusters and Gaps

A lot of leadership, team and trait theory seems to indicate that you can ‘design’ a team with perfect balance and exactly the right mix of personality and team role characteristics. If only. For most leaders, the reality is that you have a team that works to some degree and that has evolved over time through changing needs and circumstances.

What DISC Means for Your Team

So, what sort of balance might you have? Chances are, one that contains what we call ‘clusters and gaps’; that is, several of some types and none of others. Consider the implications:

High D: In this scenario conflict, power struggles, jockeying for position and heated discussions are on the cards. If you have no High D, then drifting, lack of urgency and uncertainty may result.

High I: If, on the other hand, you have several High I players, a noisy, fun, and engaging, but possibly unproductive and wayward team may result. No High Is, and you may see a lack of engagement, domination by a small subgroup, and a lack of empathy.

High S: The presence of several High Ss will produce a team that has a strong desire to deliver the goal, and will support each other to the end, but may lack spark and drive, becoming slow and uninspired. No High Ss, though, may mean that the team rushes off at tangents and loses the plot.

High C: Finally, a team with several High C players may spend an age debating details, tying up ends that weren’t really loose, and arguing (politely) over rules and boundaries. Progress may be non-existent. However, a lack of High Cs can result in slipping standards, with details being missed and rules ignored.

It is apparent, then, that the right blend is not just advantageous, but fundamental. None of us are one dimensional, and almost all profiles contain two higher scoring traits. If the team members understand their profiles and the leader has the ability to consider the blend, then members can adapt to play their second ‘card’ and thereby achieve a better and more powerful level of team coherence.

If you want to know more about your own profile and that of your team, then get in touch below. DISC is just one of the tools we can use to help you, and there are many others that may be useful and insightful.

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