For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: When a Participant Disagrees with their Style

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“This report doesn’t describe me.” If you have facilitated enough Everything DiSC® sessions, you are bound to have heard some version of this statement. While it doesn’t happen often, every now and then a participant will take issue with the style the assessment assigned to them. Occasionally someone will request to retake the assessment.

When I facilitate, I always ask people to raise their hands if they feel like the report is at least 50% accurate and to keep their hands up as I move up the scale from 50% to 90 or 95%. Generally, everyone raises their hand initially and a significant number still have their hands in the air when I reach 90-95%.

On those few occasions when someone doesn’t feel like the report is at least 50% accurate or when someone requests to take the assessment again, it is important to dig a little deeper. If someone questions their results (and certainly before agreeing to let them take the assessment again), here are steps you can take:

  • Look at dot placement. The closer the dot is to the center of the circle the less likely the individual is to strongly resonate with the characteristics of the style they were assigned. And the more likely they are to resonate with characteristics of the other styles. In some instances, the person has strongly agreed with items for both the style where their dot falls and the opposite style on the map. These “competing” forces pull the dot toward the center. For people whose dot falls toward the center of the map, their “superpower” is the ability to operate more naturally in all four styles.
  • Review the Supplement for Facilitators. This report is available at no additional cost for anyone who has completed an Everything DiSC assessment. It provides additional “behind the scenes” information. The umbrella graph shows the individual’s scores on the eight DiSC® scales. The priority subscales provide information on how strongly the individual agreed with the items associated with the eight subscales for the specific DiSC application. You can learn more about using the Supplement for Facilitator report here.
  • Ask the participant to highlight what resonates. Have the individual download and print out a hard copy of their report. Then have them read through the entire report highlighting (preferably in green) everything they agree with. This will give them (and you) a visual depiction of how much of the report actually resonates. Much of the time the participant is surprised at how much of the report they have highlighted.
  • Get input from someone who knows them well. If none of the above actions provide sufficient information for the participant to feel comfortable with their style assignment, suggest that they have someone who knows them well read the report and get their perceptions of how accurate the report is. For some individuals, how they are perceived by others is totally out of their awareness.

If none of these actions resolve the issue, you may want to explore if the individual feels like they “need” to be or “should” be a different style to fit the culture of the team or organization, or to be perceived as a fit for their role. If this is the case, it is important to help them embrace the strengths of the style, while also emphasizing that everyone can and does operate in all four styles – it is just a matter of the energy it takes to adapt to those styles that come less naturally.

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Finally, as Dr. Mark Scullard, Director of Research for Wiley Workplace Solutions says, “All models are wrong. Some are useful.” No model is perfect, and no model will accurately describe 100% of the population. It is possible that the model just does not fit this person.

However, it is generally not recommended that someone who disagrees with their style retake the assessment. One of two things is likely to happen. They will either get the same or similar style the second time. Or their desire to present differently will introduce bias into the assessment process.

If you have a situation like this now or in the future, feel free to reach out. I am happy to be a resource as you navigate the situation.

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