The evaluation of behavioural styles plays a crucial role in the selection process of effective leaders including CEOs and top executives. In the 21st century ― and especially for the future―we want leaders who can manage people, engage the workforce, and inspire innovation and collaboration. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand leadership behaviours, because it influences the effectiveness of a leader. Leaders make business decisions and implement strategies based on their innate drives and their behavioural style. Our priorities also affect how we react to the people we work with. It is no longer sufficient to select leaders based on their prior successes or capability alone. It is true that previous successes and experience remain vital, but more is required from today’s leaders.
Today’s leaders must contend with global diversity in the workplace, new technologies, as well as economic, environmental and political instability. In decades past we used to have a manufacturing society, with leaders who performed exceedingly well at processes that could be measured, replicated, and improved. Successful operations were enough to measure the effectiveness of a leader, and leaders leaned towards conservativeness and obsession. All they needed to do was ensure proper workflow, maintain company values and preserve order. However, in stark contrast, an estimated 75% of employees today provide services. These employees perform mental tasks as opposed to assembling product parts. Hence, identifying and understanding behavioural styles is a vital element of practical and effective leadership.
Psychologists suggest that human beings are usually driven by three major motives –Our need to get along; get ahead, and our need to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. Thus, behavioural styles emerge in the form of behaviours, in response to these primary motives and desires. Behaviours underlie our actions and reactions, and influences the way we interact with others.
Therefore, leadership behaviours predict leadership styles and leadership styles affect the organization’s performance by influencing employee’s attitude and overall team function. Effective leaders keep employees engaged, and such engaged employees are enthusiastic, keen, invigorated and have positive attitudes at work. Companies who have a good number of engaged employees are more productive. They achieve a higher return on assets, gain more profits, and yield approximately twice the value to their shareholders compared to companies who have low employee engagement. Assessing leadership behavioural styles in conjunction with prior success (experience) and competency in selecting future leaders will help companies select individuals with the right fit – assessing leadership behavioural style alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor. How then can we Identify and Understand behavioural styles?
DEMYSTIFYING BEHAVIOURAL STYLES
There are several assessment tools to reveal behavioural styles and we will be focusing on the Everything DiSC Model personal and business assessment tools. However, there are other behavioural (personality) models such as Myers-Briggs, and while these assessments are slightly different – they all have similarities. The [Myers-Briggs] assessment determines a four-letter code that relates to 4 different two-factor classes. These classes can be further subdivided into Introvert/Extrovert, Thinking/Feeling, Intuitive/Sensing, and Judging/Perceiving. For instance, someone with an ETIP personality style would be an Extrovert/Thinking/Intuitive/Perceiving combination.
Different behavioural styles can be utilized successfully in leadership roles. The most important thing to remember is that everyone possesses certain weaknesses and strengths and leveraging on your strengths is vital to success. Identifying your behavioural style and those of others around you will help strengthen existing relationships and create new opportunities. Great workplaces are about building effective relationships, one person at a time. In order to do that, you have to know the preferences and priorities of each person you work with, and they need to know yours. Now, let’s examine the Everything DiSC Model.
The Everything DiSC Model is designed to help you to identify your behavioural styles and those of others. Essentially it has the following benefits;
- Improves your self-awareness: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, and how you manage stressful situations.
- Fosters strong relationship by improving your communication with others.
- Facilitates better teamwork by improving your understanding of the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members.
- Improves your sales and marketing skills by helping you identify with and respond to customer buying styles
Psychologists have often explored behavioural patterns. While some (such as Sigmund Freud) were observing abnormal behaviours, Dr. William Marston, a professor at Columbia University in the 1920s, was observing normal people behaviours and that people behave in different ways. And since that time, millions of people in thousands of organizations worldwide have used this idea to become more effective personally and in leading their teams. Dr. William Marston used four descriptive characteristics to represent behavioural tendencies. He used four letters of the alphabet: D, i, S and C. The Everything DiSC Model of Human Behaviour is fundamentally based on two observations about how people normally behave:
PREMISE #1: Some people tend to be more FAST-PACED & OUTSPOKEN, while others are more CAUTIOUS & REFLECTIVE.
PREMISE #2: Some people are more ACCEPTING & WARM, while others are more QUESTIONING & SKEPTICAL.
Having established both premises, it is important to point out that these behavioural tendencies are not in themselves good or bad – they are just different behaviours. This is just identifying normal behavioural styles exhibited by people which are perfectly normal. So, we have four behavioural tendencies to help us characterize people:
- Fast-paced & Outspoken
- Accepting & Warm
- Cautious & Reflective
- Questioning & Skeptical
We all exhibit these four behavioural tendencies in different situations and at different times, and they are not intended to put anyone in a box. Most people naturally exhibit one or two of these tendencies in their daily behaviour. On the other hand, one or two of these tendencies typically do not fit them well and may even seem “extraneous” to their approach to life and workplace. The way some individuals balance these four tendencies shapes their perception of life and how they view others around them.
The four main groups are:
- D is for Dominance – Fast-Paced & Outspoken AND Questioning & Skeptical
- i is for Influence – Fast-Paced & Outspoken AND Accepting & Warm
- S is for Steadiness – Cautious & Reflective AND Accepting & Warm
- C is for Conscientiousness – Cautious & Reflective AND Questioning & Skeptical
D-i-S-C Descriptive Terms
The Dominance “D” style – This describes a fast-paced, outspoken, questioning, and skeptical person who is driven to accomplish tasks, get things done and achieve TARGETS within the shortest time possible.
The Influence “i” style – This person is fast-paced, outspoken, accepting, and warm. This individual enjoys interacting and socializing with others. This individual is impacted by how he or she is perceived by others.
The steadiness “S” style – A cautious, reflective, accepting, and warm individual who enjoys supporting and assisting others. This person values relationship and collaborating with others to achieve results.
The Conscientiousness “C” style – A cautious, reflective, questioning, and skeptical individual who seeks value, quality information, and consistency. This person is careful with the information they share ensuring it is consistent, thorough and accurate.
The Everything DiSC Model can help you identify the FOUR primary behavioural styles. The Everything DiSC Model provides a common language that people can use to discuss what behaviours they share with others, and what they do differently. This tool is instrumental for leaders to work more efficiently with individuals on the team. To work more effectively with others, we sometimes have to bridge differences in style preferences and priorities. Sometimes building more effective relationships in the workplace requires adapting your approach to accommodate the preferences of the other person. Sometimes it means doing something more internal like simply appreciating what someone brings to the table, empathizing with the other person’s situation, or accepting behaviour as normal for that person.
However, keep in mind that this is just scratching the surface of all the dynamics involved in behavioural styles. There are more than 41 behavioural blends which can have several nuances in between them. An individual can, and likely will, exhibit some of all four behavioural styles subject to the circumstance. Each individual’s style blend will have more and less of some tendencies or traits. Understanding your behavioural style and those of others will contribute immensely to a more productive workforce and improve synergy among team members.
Do you know your behavioural style and others in the workplace? If you have any questions on your behavioural style, or you are unsure of yours, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Take the right step today and ensure you are a leader that can manage people, engage the workforce, and inspire innovation and collaboration in the organization – because our future depends on it.