The workplace code of conduct often outlines the unacceptable or “zero-tolerance” behaviors that employees must avoid. But what about the other side of the coin: a list of behaviors to strive for or cultivate in order to achieve excellence; or guidelines on how to play up your strengths, habits, and motivators?
Rarely do job descriptions, resumes and employee training address behavior or personality traits (beyond generic descriptions such as “go-getter,” “outgoing,” or “self-starter.” Behavior is often brushed aside as a “soft skill,” irrelevant or secondary to technical training or experience. Yet businesses are fast realizing that teaching employees which behaviors to embrace is as key as warning them which to avoid. And now many job applicants must submit to exhaustive personality tests. Are they effective?
One that we’d like to spotlight is the DISC Flex assessment of behavior and personality. Dating from the 1920s, and created by a Harvard psychologist—the creator of Wonder Woman, in fact—DISC proposes that a person’s behavior isn’t fixed, but rather evolves over time, adjusts to situations, and can be “flexed”—with traits dialed up or down—to meet different needs at different times. The assessment not only sheds light on motivators, stressors, weaknesses, and strengths; it also provides guidance on constructive change when needed. This assessment measures both an individual’s self-perception and other’s perceptions of him; it is a tool not only for self-awareness, but also for building and balancing your business team.
The acronym stands for:
DOMINANCE: Determined, motivated, ambitious and assertive with a laser focus on efficiency—even if it means breaking rules—and a tendency to be overbearing or controlling.
INFLUENCE: Thriving on teamwork and social interaction with a knack for communication and negotiation, but stressed by decision-making in isolation.
STEADINESS: Sincere, trustworthy and reliable, with a steady pace and inquisitive thinking yet resistant to change and averse to feedback.
CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: Even-tempered, focused and organized, motivated by a conflict-free office yet lacking big-picture focus.
A balanced team will bring together employees with varying and complimentary DISC traits, relying on the natural order of “checks and balances.” Workers who score high on “C” may be better suited to interface with clients, for example, as they are driven by attention to detail and a need for conflict resolution. Those with D-leaning profiles can handle behind-the-scenes or big-picture work. We’ll explore this concept further in our next blog post.