Overcoming leadership challenges

Overcoming Leadership Challenges for Every DISC Style

In leadership, you can’t always choose how people will respond to you, but you can select your actions and words before communicating with different types of people. The challenge is knowing yourself well and being able to identify characteristics of others that align with their behavioral style, fears, and motivations. Then, you can adjust your communication style and behavior to communicate roles, responsibilities, and expectations to others effectively. As a leader, by learning your DISC behavioral style and understanding the DISC style of those you interact with, you are positioning yourself and your organization for success.

“D” Style Leadership Challenges

Leaders who possess this style do not prefer to spend too much time diving into finite details and spending excessive time socializing ideas. They prefer to remain focused on the goal by completing tasks promptly and moving onto the next challenge. They communicate direct and succinctly and will make quick decisions when provided options or solutions. They do not shy away from confrontation and are determined to succeed. Frustration may develop when this style finds others are struggling to keep up with their pace, require more time or explanation, or are less responsive to guidance and direction.

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Mitigation Strategies for Dominant Leaders

“D” style leaders need to understand the group dynamics of their workforce. If their teams consist of mostly “I,” “S,” and “C” types, the “D” leader will likely need to allot more time during meetings or planning sessions and focus more on two-way communication. Factoring in time for questions and comments will help “I”, “S” and “C” styles to understand the “why” behind specific guidance and direction. Develop a mindset enabling them to respond to the request, utilizing the best skillsets and resources available. Questioning should not be viewed as an attack or attempt to challenge ideas; instead, verbalize or create a written display of the needs of individual team members to understand how they can achieve success.

“I” Style Challenges

This leadership style is known for being animated, conversational, and a bit dominant when communicating. They love to entertain and persuade with the intent to find an amenable solution to a problem in the least amount of time required. Much like the “D” style, “I” leaders do not like to spend too much time on a task, especially if there is a quick solution. Unfortunately, there are times when this quick response can appear disorganized or lackluster in quality, especially when the stakes are high. “I” personalities are also fast-paced and can miss important details that could later become critical errors if left unchecked. Frustration may develop if they feel others are trying to slow them down or reject their decisions due to a lack of trust and understanding.

Mitigation Strategies for Influential Leaders

Slow down and get organized before meetings, conversations, or projects. Understand if your team consists of “D”, “S” and “C” styles, they will expect to see facts and figures supporting stated goals and projected outcomes. Lead with information, and focus on answering questions and addressing primary concerns. Your enthusiastic nature will come through, and you will build trust and rapport in the process. Your team will appreciate the flexibility in your communication and leadership style, as well as your ability to make even the most mundane work fun and exciting. Know your team wants to support you and believes in you; their hesitancy to jump on board right away is directly related to their dominant behavioral style. Understanding their behavior is not an attempt to discredit you, will keep you in a positive mindset moving forward.

“S” Style Challenges

This leadership style is excellent at teambuilding, collaborating, and supporting people and ideas. They are inclusive and will seek to gain input and consensus from the team before making decisions. They encourage everyone to participate, view everyone as valuable contributors, and thrive in the comfort of predictability, routine, and status quo. This style is unique in their genuine belief that, even in times of conflict, everyone can get along. Frustration sets in when this style experiences sudden change, is disconnected or dissatisfied with team members, or receives negative feedback upon issuing detailed guidance and directives. They do not prefer conflict, and will be challenged if they appear avoidant or fearful of confrontation.

Mitigation Strategies for Steady Leaders

“S” styles are naturally wired for compassion and listening; these are unique leadership strengths that set them apart from “Ds,” “Cs,” and “Is.” Learning the fears and motivations of other behavioral styles will provide “S” personalities with understanding how to effectively interact and communicate with colleagues during times of conflict or change. Equipping yourself with facts and supporting information to assist your decisions and communicating directly and succinctly will help establish yourself as an authoritative voice. You will gain trust and respect by embracing your leadership role, addressing people and issues directly, and continuing to support the needs of the team.

“C” Style Challenges

This leadership style relies on facts and figures. They are driven by information gathering, analyzing, and developing solutions. Sharing data means they require a significant amount of time to compile and package information for dissemination. “Cs” are usually focused on quality, and in some cases qualified quantities. Before making decisions, they prefer to receive all available facts and information from all available sources, and generally follow a systematic process. Frustration sets in when time is of the essence, errors occur, and information is lacking. “C” styles are perfectionists by nature. If their work is viewed as poor in quality, unreliable, or inaccurate, it can result in hesitant leadership, reluctance to communicate, or distancing themselves from the team.

Mitigation Strategies for Analytical Leaders

This leadership style should focus on connecting people with information. Remember that “D,” “I,” and “S” styles will ask questions for clarity, not in criticism. Succinctly provide the most relevant information and offer additional details as needed, but keep conversations brief and centered on helping team members move forward on tasks and projects. Keep in mind that “Ss” and “Is” thrive on social interaction, and “Ds” are looking to provide the best solution. Allowing for face-to-face discussions will help establish trust. Beware negative mindset traps when discussing questions or concerns related to your product or decision. The knowledge and information you possess are valuable to the team!


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Written by: Lindy Lamielle

Lindy is a retired Air Force veteran, Certified Behavioral Life Coach, and DISC Consultant and entrepreneur who enjoys learning and sharing knowledge. When she's not sitting on the soccer field sidelines or putting out teenage fires, she fills her cup through speaking, writing, coaching small business owners and entrepreneurs, and performing a little social media sourcery. Personality Style: S-I