Most common problems faced by teams can be addressed using the strengths of personality styles. Sometimes this involves switching leadership roles, and other times it means someone simply needs to flex their style to give the team what it needs. The team leader has to know when to ask for help and be willing to give up control to utilize different people’s strengths. Let’s look at some common team problems and how you might resolve them using DISC as team building tool.
Teams often struggle with differing opinions when working to reach consensus. Often, this takes the form of analysis-paralysis or fear of failure. When this happens, you should strongly consider putting a “D” or “CSI” (also known as a “false D”) style in charge. You will want them to flex their “I” style so they can get everyone’s input and use their influencing skills to gain support for the final decision. If the “D” simply makes the decision themselves, they risk losing buy-in and commitment to action from the team members. If that happens, they should focus on delegating pieces of the project to others. This will strengthen future decision-making by the team.
While the “D” style can take charge and make decisions, they may not always do well with details and follow-through. This is where the “C” style strengths will help meet project deadlines. This style doesn’t necessarily like to be in charge, but they can either be coached to flex their “D” style or the “D” in charge makes it clear to the team that the “C” style has full authority when it comes to project deadlines. They will have to monitor the level of detail and need for accuracy that the “C” requires, as this can lead right back to “analysis-paralysis.” The “S” style is also well-suited to make steady progress needed to meet deadlines. When they partner with the “C” style, they will create a strong duo for delivering results on-time.
Quite often, one of the underlying issues with sub-par team performance is a lack of effective communication. Both “I” and “S” styles have strengths that can facilitate better communication. The “S” style is exceptional at relating well to team members through their listening and supportive approach. They also present information in a way that’s easy to understand. When team members feel listened to and validated, they will continue to keep communication open with the “S” style. The “I” style’s positive outlook inspires team members to stay focused on the goals. They like to be the center of attention, though, and if not kept in-check, they may lose the respect of the team. The performer in them does engagingly present information so they may be an excellent spokesperson to others outside the group.
Successful project achievement comes down to clearly defined goals. The “C” style is strongest at providing details, but has to take care not to go too far. If they can balance the details, the goals will have just enough definition to be properly understood. Similarly, the “D” style can take the lead on prioritizing goals, which is crucial to successful projects. In the execution of the goals, be aware that the “S” type will benefit from focusing on one or two goals at most, as they aren’t naturally gifted at multitasking. The “I” style can be in charge of celebrating goal achievement, an important (and often overlooked) piece of motivating the team.
Coming up with something new and fresh is one of the keys to problem-solving. Sometimes, when creativity is lacking, putting an “I” style in charge of reinvigorating the team can help them get their creative edge back. Their natural enthusiasm engages team members. Have them plan an outing for the team provides a change of scenery. This will add to the team’s creative ability and generate new thinking patterns.
Knowing when to shift roles or flex styles will help you build a high performing team. Beyond doing this yourself, you can hire a coach to help facilitate these challenges, or you can become DISC certified yourself, thereby improving your effectiveness as a manager.
Written by: Michael Dattilio
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