When it comes to DISC personalities, I would say it’s important to start first with the Platinum Rule.
This rule is a twist on the Golden Rule. The Platinum Rule® (from Dr. Tony Alessandra) is to treat others the way they want and need to be treated.
Simple rule, challenging (to say the least) to follow. If you have a general idea of the styles of your team, the key is that they know each other’s styles. When this happens, it covers a multitude of “sins” from my experience. Once a team is thinking from the DISC and Platinum Rule framework, you can focus on the specific priorities of teammates.
What’s The Priority?
With the Platinum Rule as the foundation of teamwork, people will still struggle with getting it right. I mean, who doesn’t have communication trouble at work?
It’s important for teammates to understand the two different scales of priority. They are the Directness Scale and the Openness Scale. See image below.
The D-Style prioritizes being Direct (think decisive) but will be Guarded in communicating about personal matters. This style will actively pursue tackling problems but will not pursue relationships strongly. D-Styles have the priority combo of Direct-Guarded.
The I-Style also prioritizes being Direct but in their case, it’s Directness with people rather than tasks. You’ll find I-Styles provide the energy and fun on the team, in order to do this, they have a more open approach with people. I-Styles have the priority combo of Direct-Open.
The S-Style has an Indirect approach to people and situations. In other words, they weigh options before taking any quick actions. Additionally, S-Styles are open but it is about being open to learning more about people and situations, versus open about themselves (very important to remember for teammates). S-Styles have the priority combo of Indirect-Guarded.
Finally, the C-Style prioritizes an Indirect approach to people and tasks. Preferring to work alone and work the problem until a resolution is found and then interacting with the team. The C-Styles provide the planning, procedures, and prioritization for a team. The C-Styles have the priority combo of Indirect-Guarded.
Which Styles Work Well Together?
Any of the styles can work well together. But as you can see from above, some styles are likely to have more “tension” than other styles. The I-C combo can have a lot of tension as can the D-S combo.
Although, I’ve had clients with these combos and they are the best of teammates because they fill in one another’s gaps. The key is they understand each other’s gaps and apply the Platinum Rule.
As a general rule though, I’ve found the following is best for 1 to 1 interaction from most effective combo to least effective for getting work done. There are always exceptions.
Know What Your Teammate Is Wired For
First, it’s important to realize we are a combination of all four styles in various intensities. So these descriptors are generalizations. They are helpful but general.
As you evaluate your team or teammates, use the following information to understand them more clearly or to get them doing work that matches their priorities.
We’ll start with the D-Style and work through to C-Style.
- The Dominance Style score represents the degree of focus a person puts on Problems and Challenges.
- The Influence Style score represents the degree of focus a person puts on Persons and Contacts.
- The Steady Style score represents the degree of focus a person puts on Pace and Consistency.
- The Conscientious Style score represents the degree of focus a person puts on Procedures and Constraints.
Simply put, the stronger or more intense a style is the stronger they are wired to focus on that particular area.
How To Put Together A Great Team
If you want to put together a great team, it’s all about creating an opportunity for teammates to understand they are each coming from. You can start by having each teammate take a DISC assessment. But applying the knowledge about one another through the filter of the Platinum Rule is key to real success with DISC.
Like anything worth learning, it takes time, energy, and money to truly apply the DISC concept to a team. But my clients have found the framework to be well worth the investment in time, energy, and money.