Realizing that a perceived problem with employees may in fact be a managerial problem is not something that you, as a manager, probably want to think too much about. You can, however, take comfort in the fact that things that cause friction, lack of productivity and an unhealthy working environment can be overcome. In fact, they can be made to work for you once you understand that differing opinions and contrary viewpoints are to be embraced rather than shunned.
However, until a system is put into place that acknowledges and takes advantage of these differences they will not be harnessed in a powerful and positive way. They will simply continue to breed misunderstanding, conflict and unhappy outcomes.
Behavioral assessment tools can help enormously in allowing you to see and understand how different individuals (including yourself) perceive and react to situations.
The DiSC system offers a powerful method of understanding personality types and determining why certain people act and react the way they do in given situations. It helps you understand your point for view. Which, in turn, allows you to understand those of your employees.
The DiSC system classifies individuals into four distinct personality types and reveals the strengths and weakness that surface when these unique elements interact. In doing so, the DiSC method shows why conflicts are most likely to occur among different behavioral types and how to turn potentially tense situations into positive, productive ones.
Let's take a look at each of the four dimensions:
The "D" or Dominant needs direction which means always be upfront with them. When you give them a task allow them to decide the best way to get it done and if possible give them the lead role. Don't bog them down with details, just give them the big picture and always be decisive.
The "I" or Influence needs you to be friendly and to listen to their ideas and innovations. When giving them a task be clear about what you want and how you want it done. Remember spare the details.
The "S" or Steadiness requires a stable environment with minimal amount of change. If change is required make sure they understand the reasons for the change. When giving such individuals a task, be sure to provide them with a structure and let them know you support them in their efforts.
The "C" or Conscientiousness prefers a structured environment where they have time to analyze the data. When giving a C a task provide them with all the facts and allow them to work without interruptions.
We know how to distinguish the four styles but your challenge is to do something with this knowledge. Granted, this is not easy. It takes time and a commitment from you. The first step is to assess your style, then identify the style of your team members and, most importantly, adapt your style to each individual member of your team.
You may have gone through an exercise like this before with less than stellar results. You embrace a new concept and implement it enthusiastically. For the first week it is refreshing because it's novel. Soon, however, it becomes tedious. You may convince yourself it's too time consuming to follow through. To make matters worse, you might stop because you don't see the immediate payoff, so why continue?
But there is a payoff, whether it is immediately tangible or not.
It comes in the form of increased productivity, reduced conflict, improved staff moral and better client relationships. The key is to make the process continual.
Write your name with your dominant hand. Now do the same thing with the other hand.
How did the difference make you feel?
Awkward? Childish? Uncomfortable? I bet it did. It's the same thing with learning a new skill. When you start using a new skill you often feel uncomfortable and frustrated. It takes two months of everyday practice to feel comfortable with a new skill. In the beginning, expect that your staff to wonder what has gotten into you. Yet it will eventually become second nature to you and your staff The long-term result will be a more productive and efficient work environment. Isn't it worth the effort?
In the end, people make your corporate clock tick. Knowing what makes your people tick is what DiSC is all about.
Claire Sookman's Virtual Team Builders specializes in Helping global teams increase their productivity. These training sessions demonstrate how to harness the power of the latest in collaborative and meeting technology in an engaging, interactive and easy to understand way. Your geographically diverse team players are shown how to bridge the distances and work together in a unique, cutting-edge, results-oriented manner. Distance is no longer a barrier to communication thanks to the technology that can be harnessed by any company. Virtual Team Builders training solutions are practical, proven and cost-effective.
Claire Sookman can be reached at (416)398-5160 or by email.