For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: Using the Everything DiSC® Model to Help Build Agility and Resilience

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Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, says organizations will either emerge from the pandemic in a position to be stronger than before or weaker. No company will be the same. The level of strength (or weakness) will be dependent on the action companies take today and over the next few weeks.

Emerging in a position of strength will require agility and resilience – on an individual level, team level and organizational level. As an Everything DiSC® facilitator it is likely your company has invested in helping people to understand the DiSC model and that investment can play a critical role in building both agility and resilience.

Characteristics of Resilience

Resilience, both individual and social (team, organizational, community) resilience, requires:

  • A high level of emotional intelligence (EQ) and emotional agility: Emotional Intelligence can be defined as having skills in four areas: self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; relationship management. Those individuals who can most successfully manage their own emotions and understand the emotions of others are in the best position to proactively respond to change and uncertainty.
  • A broad perspective: Resilient individuals can look at a situation from a variety of different viewpoints. This leads to increased flexibility. As Darwin is often misquoted as saying: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Whether or not Darwin said this, it is nonetheless true.
  • Openness, tolerance and trust: These characteristics are especially important at the team and organizational level, as teams look at creative, innovative ways to solve problems and develop new approaches to doing business.

Clearly, DiSC is a tool to help build all four of the skills required for emotional intelligence. DiSC also helps us move up the Judging to Valuing Ladder from judging to understanding to appreciating and even valuing other points of view, perspectives and approaches. Thus, helping us develop a broader perspective, more openness, greater tolerance and increased trust.

DiSC and Stress

During times of stress, it becomes more difficult for us to stretch into other styles and we tend to become more ingrained in our natural style. In addition, we tend to exhibit more of the “negative” aspects of our style. Or put another way, our strengths overused become weaknesses.

For example, a leader with a D style who can, under lower levels of stress, adapt to meet the need of an employee with the S style for reassurance and support may, during times of high stress, become very focused on the task at hand and bottom-line results, failing to consider or attend to the interpersonal aspects of the situation. Further complicating the situation, the employee with the S style will likely have an increased need for reassurance and support during a time of high stress.

The effect is we retreat to our own quadrant of the DiSC map and move further away from each other behaviorally. This erodes trust and impairs working relationships. Looking at the behaviors we and our team members are exhibiting through the lens of DiSC can help us both mitigate or own behavior and extend grace to others.

Taking Action

Here are three specific actions you can take to leverage your organization’s investment in DiSC.

  • Have people review their DiSC profile or their information in MyEverythingDiSC.com, especially the information on their own style and the style opposite them on the map. Have a brief discussion of their behavior under stress and how that fits (or doesn’t fit) with how they are currently feeling and acting. Ask team members to think about how their current state of mind and actions may be interfering with them effectively working with people of other styles.For example, as someone with a D style, under stress I often forget to ask people how they are doing or even say hello before I dive into a task-oriented conversation. When I am not under stress these behaviors come pretty easily. Under stress I have to be hyper-aware and very intentional to be more people focused.
  • Introduce or review the Judging to Valuing Ladder Ask people to identify where they are on the ladder in terms of their perceptions of teammates. Discuss what it would take to move up the ladder and how looking at situations through the lens of the DiSC model can help do that.
  • Help team members tap into their specific, style-based strengths, needs and motivators so they can make a positive contribution to the team’s success. Here are some examples by style:
    • Dominance (D) Style: Explain the big picture, bottom line purpose of assignments; challenge them with concrete goals; give them challenging assignments where they can have a sense of control.
    • Influence (i) Style: Provide them assignments that require collaboration; give them opportunities to express their feelings; help them share their optimism and positivity with the rest of the team.
    • Steadiness (S) Style: Capitalize on their tendency to focus on the needs of others and their desire to bring the team together; provide structure; give them time to process change.
    • Conscientiousness (C) Style: Provide assignments that allow independent work; communicate objectively and logically; use their questioning nature to help avoid pitfalls and missteps.

If you would like to brainstorm ways that you can utilize DiSC to develop resiliency and agility in this time of change and uncertainty please reach out. I am here to be a resource and to support you. And please share other ways you are using the DiSC model right now to improve relationships and results within your organization.

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