Three Ways to Use DISC Personality Profiles in the Workplace

Interpersonal and Communication Skills - © Performance Management Consultants

You open your Inbox and read an email from your team member. For some reason, he always seems to write long, extemporaneous messages that ask how you’re doing, then explain the reason for his email, and conclude with a final note about his upcoming weekend.

As much as you enjoy working with this person, you cannot stand to read these emails. You’re more of a just-the-facts person. Your emails reflect that personality trait. You don’t mince words. You get right to the point and keep your correspondences concise.

What are DISC Personality Profiles?

Why does your team member communicate so verbosely while you communicate so directly? The answer lies in your individual personality profiles. DISC Personality Profiles help you understand how you show emotion according to four main behaviors: dominance (D), influence (I), steadiness (S), and conscientiousness (C).

Since a person cannot be summed up in just one word, the DISC acronym is used as a memory aid. You are a unique combination of all four profiles and probably predominantly lean towards one or two of them. Each of the four DISC Personality Profiles (or “styles”) includes a list of behavioural attributes to describe it. That doesn’t mean that you will exhibit all of those behavioural styles, but you will probably relate to quite a few of them.

It’s important to remember that all DISC styles are equally valuable. None are better than others, and DISC does not indicate intelligence, abilities, success, or limitations. It simply indicates how we prefer to do things, or our “comfort zone”. Each style has strengths and areas of development.

Once you know what your personality profile is and what your team members’ personality profiles are, you can use them to be more effective in the workplace. Here are the three ways you can use these profiles to your advantage.

1. Use DISC Personality Profiles to Tailor Your Communication

Let’s return to our opening example. If that were really your situation, your personality profile would probably tell you that your main behavior is “dominance”.

That doesn’t mean all you do is boss people around. However, you probably like to have a significant level of control over your environment. You can be assertive at times. You work extremely hard. You like work-related challenges and you like to problem solve. It’s no surprise then that you’re a fundamentally direct communicator. You want your team member to get to the point and you speak frankly, using facts instead of emotions to make your point.

Now that you know what your personality profile is, you kindly explain to your team member that you prefer direct, succinct communication. You can reiterate that it’s not personal to him. Rather, this communication method is what you’ll respond best to. You can then ask your team member how you can better communicate with him.

Effective teams will use DISC to adapt and meet in the middle, rather than one person continually accommodating the other.

2. Use DISC to Understand Why Your Team Members Communicate the Way They Do

Your team member, the long email composer, trends more toward the influence side of the DISC spectrum. He prefers to have a friendly warm-up conversation before you get down to brass tacks. He likes small talk, and without it, may sometimes feel like he’s done something to offend. He loves telling stories and his enthusiasm in the workplace is infectious. He relies on first-hand reports, such as testimonials, to support his argument.

Now that you know your communication style and his, you can empathize with your team member. You understand where he’s coming from, how he’ll interpret events, how to start a conversation with him, and how to get your point across with him. This increased understanding can dramatically improve your interactions with your team member and your team’s functionality.

3. Improve Your Team’s Overall Productivity and Efficiency with DISC

Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and personality clashes prevent teams from being effective. They force you to spend time mitigating and resolving conflict. They create infighting and backdoor politics. Instead of being focused on your current project, these issues distract your team.

Like a cancer, this distraction can grow until it destroys the team and people want to leave the team or the organization. Perhaps a client drops the project you were all working on, your organization gains a poor reputation, or you’re constantly battling high employee turnover.

The single most important thing you can do to facilitate teamwork is to facilitate understanding among the members of your team. DISC profiles give you standardized, objective data about each person’s personality and behaviour, which in turn, helps you understand one another and “get” where each is coming from. As you gain this knowledge, your team won’t waste time with as many workplace conflicts. You’ll be more efficient and more productive.

Leverage the Power of DISC Personality Profiles in Your Workplace

Imagine knowing what your team members’ respective personality profiles look like. How would it change how you communicate with one another? How much more effective could your entire team be? DISC Personality Profiles help us better understand ourselves and our peers. They give us clues about how we operate, how we communicate, and how we respond under stress. You don’t have to know a person very well to understand how they prefer to work and communicate – you simply have to know how to figure out their DISC profile.

If this sounds like it would help your team, have a look at our Powerful Team Building with DISC Personality Profiles course. Each team member will need to take a DISC Personality Assessment (it’s not a “test”, since the word “test” insinuates there are right and wrong answers!). We provide everyone with a full report about their personality profile and tools for communicating across different profiles.

When you’re ready to book your team workshop, give us a call at 613-234-2020 or email

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