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How to Better Understand Other People the Easy Way

The best assessment to start with for you and your team.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Have you ever wondered why some people act the way they do? Imagine being able to better understand how others think, act, and interact with you and other people. Since behaviors are observable, I want to introduce you to one of the best systems I have found for improving communication and diffusing personal conflict among two or more people. Through it you will learn to quickly and easily begin to understand others. And the same will be true to help them better understand you.

This is the most powerful method I used during my career and one of the first things I did in every company I led. The result helped people to get along better, improving company morale. In fact, I continue to use it in my marriage, and with almost everyone I meet.

This system will help you understand what makes people tick and is one of the most widely used assessments in the world.  It is called DISC and you need only learn four types, not nine as with the Enneagram or sixteen with Myers-Briggs. Four simple, easy to remember behavioral types. It can immediately improve your life by giving you a new way to see others.

The Four Behavioral Types

These four behavioral types or styles were first recognized by Hippocrates, considered the founder of modern medicine, about 400 years before Christ. Dr. William Marston modernized the descriptions in the 1920s using the four letters DISC, which now represent – Dominance, Influence, Steadfastness, and Conscientiousness.

Nothing beats DISC for its simplicity, memorability, and its potential to affect the interaction dynamics of a team or company quickly and significantly. You can find many DISC tests online, some at no cost, and today I want to help you identify your primary style with or without having taken the test.

After a team completes the DISC assessment, I validate the results in person with the entire team. I will take you through my validation process to help identify your primary behavioral style.

For any behavioral assessment, it is important to consider the frame of mind you take it in. For this exercise let’s use being in your work environment.

Validation

Look at the following diagram and imagine yourself in a room laid out in four sections. I will now ask some simple questions and you will step across a line in response. While doing this exercise be sure to step across the line, no middle ground or standing on the line allowed. Step to the side you believe is most like who you are internally.

Question #1 – looking at the person running at the top and the person walking at the bottom, do you consider yourself more fast-paced or moderate-paced? Do you thrive in a quicker paced, higher energy workplace or a more moderate, calmer workplace?

If you prefer a faster pace, step across the line to the side of the person who appears to be running. If you prefer a more moderate pace, step to the side where the person is walking.

To further validate that you are on the correct side, top or bottom, that most resonates with who you are, read the next two paragraphs.

If you are above the centerline you may feel you are more powerful than the environment. Your internal motor of pace is faster than most people. You can be outgoing, competitive, impatient, active, a risk-taker, involved, will initiate change, and can be bold and assertive.

If you are below the centerline you may feel less powerful than the environment, will have a slower internal motor of pace, tend to be more thoughtful, calm, patient, reserved, realistic, cooperative, reflective, careful, and more risk-averse.

After reading the previous two paragraphs make sure you are on the side of the line that is most like who you are on the inside.

Question #2 – Looking left and right of the centerline, do you believe you get more energy from being around people, or from doing tasks? If you are more people-oriented step to the right of the centerline. If you are more task-oriented step to the left of the centerline.

To further validate that you are on the correct side left to right of the centerline, read the next two paragraphs.

If you are to the right of the centerline you tend to have an external focus of priority, getting your energy from relationships. You are more caring, can display emotions, and are more agreeable and accepting.

If you are to the left of the centerline, you tend to have an internal focus of priority, getting your energy from doing tasks, planning, processing, are more logic focused, can be skeptical, will challenge and question, and prefer some control.

After reading the previous two paragraphs make sure you are on the side of the line that feels more like who you are on the inside.

You will now be in one of the four areas. Look at the drawing below to find the letter for the area you landed in.

The letter represents your primary behavioral type or style. Please note that it is common for most people to have two primary styles. For example, I am a D-C, while my wife is an I-D. I tend to be fast-paced and prefer getting things done, while my wife is also fast-paced, she loves being around people. Some people have only one primary style while a few will have as many as three, however, when you are under pressure your one dominant style will come out in your behaviors.

Before describing each style please note that everyone has a combination of all four styles in them, and no one style is better than any other. Be careful not to judge people based on this quick assessment as at this point you are working with a limited understanding of the entire DISC world. Find a professional to help guide you if you want to dig deeper and understand more about yourself and others.

DISC Types

Let’s look at some basic characteristics for each of the DISC styles.

D(ominance) -This style makes up about 3% of the general population. They tend to be very direct, results-driven, get to the bottom-line type of people.

I(nfluence) – Known as influencers, I’s can be outgoing, likable, and talkative. They enjoy being around people and are often said to be the life of the party.

S(teadfastness) – There are more S’s in the world than the other styles combined. Roughly 69% or more than two-thirds of people are of this behavioral type. They are steady, stable, and will get the job done so long as they understand the procedures or systems in place. This style makes for great team players who generally prefer the status quo over change.

C(onscientiousness) – This is the second-largest group of people in the general population at roughly 17%. This style is usually more calculating and cautious, preferring details and specifics before making a decision.

There is naturally a great deal of additional information available about each blend of styles, numbering into hundreds of sub-styles. If you wish to learn more, you can use a service such as Everything DiSC by Wiley, the company through which I was certified, to access far more detail about your specific makeup.

Even so, you now have enough basic information to begin changing your team, your company, and even your marriage! Use it to make your already great life even better!

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