I leverage the insights from the DISC behavioral assessment with my training and coaching clients. DISC measures how much each of the four styles-Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance-show up in your profile.
In honor of February-the month we all think of relationships, I’m focusing on how our DISC behavioral styles show up for us at work in a series called “Behavior Matters”, sharing key characteristics, productivity strengths and potential time wasters.
To recap, each style operates on a vertical continuum, with the top end being someone who is High in that style and the bottom end someone who is Low in that style. Having a high or low measure of each style tells a story and can impact the way you work with others. There are no right or wrong styles. We all have preferences that influence how we problem solve, interact with others, manage changes in pace and deal with rules.
In my last post “Behavior Matters-How Dominant Are You?” I covered the Dominance style and how folks who are high or low approach problem solving.
I is for Influence
This week, we’re talking about the Influence factor.
The Influence factor which we’ll refer to as being an I, is about how you influence and interact with others. At the top end of the I continuum is the person who is a High I, we’ll call her Irma and at the bottom end, someone who is a Low I who we’ll call Ingrid.
Irma-the High I
Irma is a very trusting, optimistic and fun-loving person. She is the life of the party and loves people. She is at her happiest when she can engage with others, share big picture ideas and make work fun. Irma would be described by her co-workers as an extrovert. They think she is a very spontaneous, energetic person and can count on her to help them see the silver lining in all their clouds. Irma is a quick decision maker and creative problem solver. She loves supporting the team and motivating others to reach goals.
Motivated by freedom and all the possibilities, Irma can get distracted easily as she explores new ideas. If you want to punish her, put her in a corner with a spreadsheet and tell her she can’t talk to anyone. A big picture thinker, Irma prefers talking about ideas and envisioning. She hates to deal with problems and avoids getting tangled in details. Some might consider her a “Chatty Cathy” but she has a knack for engaging others (even the more difficult people) and uses her social skills to connect with people on ideas. Irma’s perpetual optimism may lead her to make promises her attention span won’t let her keep.
Irma’s spontaneity and eagerness can lead her to be a bit disorganized and miss deadlines if she doesn’t have a process and support to keep her on track. She embraces her influence and interacts with a never-ending positive outlook on life.
Ingrid-the Low I
Ingrid may seem very quiet and reserved to others. She is not as people and relationship oriented as Irma. Ingrid takes time to warm up and may never be the life of the party. Being surrounded by others can drain her energy. She’ll need a quiet corner to go and recharge after spending a lot of time working in groups.
Where Irma is all about making things fun, Ingrid tends to be more serious in her approach to work. Ingrid doesn’t mind working with details quietly by herself. When working with others, she is not as persuasive or outgoing in her communication style. She will tend to hang back and not volunteer her ideas and thoughts. The thought of a networking event makes Ingrid cringe. She’s likely the one over in the corner checking her watch and avoiding eye contact.
Ingrid values relationships and people, but prefers to keep her relationships more intimate and private. Those who really get to know her well see her warmer side and appreciate her introspective ways. They understand that she is just selective in who she gives hey energy to.
Working with Irma & Ingrid
If you have to work with an Irma, take time to connect with her on a personal level. Avoid jumping right into business. She is genuinely interested in who you are and what motivates you. Talk to her in stories, not just with facts and data. Allow time for conversation. Irma talks to think, so she’s likely to drop by your desk to brainstorm or work a problem out face to face. Because follow up is not her strong point, be sure to put next steps and action items in writing. Help her be more realistic about deadlines and commitments.
When you’re working with Ingrid, you won’t have to spend as much time on social niceties. If she knows you well, she’ll be more likely to open up, but if she’s just met you, she’ll keep things all business. Ingrid may not like working in larger groups. She is more introspective, so give her time to gather her thoughts and provide opportunities for her to share her ideas. She won’t be the life of the party, but she’ll be a quiet contributor to the teams efforts.
Are you More Like Irma or Ingrid?
How influential is your I? Are you an enthusiastic communicator like Irma? Or do you take your time getting to know others like Ingrid?
While I painted a strong picture of what the High and Low I styles are like, very few people are just one style-most of us have a two or three styles that are more dominant. Our behavior and preferences are going to be influenced by the particular blend of styles.
You can learn more about your individual profile by booking a DISCover your Style Strategy Session. You’ll get access to complete the validated DISC assessment, receive a comprehensive report detailing your primary behavioral style, motivators and driving forces and get a 1:1 Strategy session with me! In our 1:1 we’ll review your style and come up with an action plan (at your pace) to help you leverage your DISC strengths and adjust for any areas of improvement.
I’ll send you a follow up email with details and next steps.