“I want to improve the way my team communicates”. This is the number one request I hear from leaders. And on the flip side, the number one complaint team members have about their leaders is, “They don’t communicate.”
Clearly communication is something that both leaders and team members could do more effectively and Everything DiSC® is an excellent tool for helping improve communication on teams.
We all perceive the world through different filters and those filters drive what we see, say, and do. They drive our beliefs, priorities, motivators, and perceptions. And the filters also drive the way we communicate and the way we want others to communicate with us.
Effective communication is not about just providing more information or providing it more frequently. It is about understanding the filters through which the listener perceives the world. DiSC is a key to help decode the type of communication that will be most effective.
Mirroring is a social phenomenon where people match another person’s posture, gestures, and words. It is often done subconsciously, especially when there is a high level of trust and rapport. An understanding of mirroring and knowledge of DiSC can be combined to create a culture of powerful communication.
Using DiSC and Mirroring to Adapt Communication Style
DiSC helps us understand the likely priorities, motivators, and fears of those with whom we are communicating. It gives us a tool we can use to adapt our style to match (or mirror) the style of the person or people we are talking with. Here are just a few ways we can encourage participants to adapt to improve effectiveness.
- Use words that the person they are communicating with are likely to use. For example, words that often resonate with the D style include: bottom-line, results, and winning. In present information to someone who is or likely to be a D style, An effective way to start a conversation might be, “Here’s the bottom line…”. Or, “The results we expect are…”
- Mirror gestures. If a someone with an i style is communicating with someone with a C style, they will probably need to “tone down” their hand motions if they want to be heard.
- Match voice tone and speed. When an individual with a D style and an individual with an S style are communicating, the person with the D style will need to slow down their delivery and the individual with the S style will need to speed up their pace and be more succinct in their delivery.
- Pay attention to approach. Someone with the C style is likely to want to keep conversations more formal and professional while a person with the i style is going to desire a more information and personal approach. Someone with the D style is going to be fine with a very direct, to-the-point approach. While an individual with the S style may be offended by a direct approach.
Activities to Practice Adapting
Here are three activities I find especially effective when facilitating an Everything DiSC session focused on improving communication:
- In groups of mixed styles, have participants share how they would like to be approached in a given situation (i.e. policy change, office move, having to work overtime, critical feedback, reorganization, when purchasing a new computer, etc.).
- Match participants with someone of another style. Have them role play communicating one of the topics above with their partner based on the partner’s style and get feedback.
- Individually or in like style groups, ask participants to write an email about one of the topics above. Make it specific. For example, if you are using a policy change specify the policy that is being changed. Then have individuals or groups share their emails. Post them so people can read them. Debrief on the differences.
If you would like to brainstorm additional ideas and activities for using Everything DiSC as a tool to improve communication please reach out.
TAGGED : cohesive team, Communication, Everything DiSC®, Team Development