Recently, we received a frantic query from a newly minted manager at a small but thriving business in the midwest. His question: how does the manager build trust in their teams? Our answer was a simple one—take a look at yourself using DiSC personality profile training as your mirror!
Our team came to the rescue and saw first hand just what an eye-opener DiSC can be particularly for ambitious executives who lack self-awareness.
DiSC is an acronym for Dominant, Influential, Steadfast, and Conscientious. These 4 personality types are universal and apply to virtually every human being on the planet. Most of us lean more toward 1 or 2 types; but in the main, we possess a little bit of each.
Trembling on the ladder of success
We’ll call this manager Jake. He was relatively new to the job of manager and it showed. A Gen-Xer, he’s been with the company for 20 years. It had been a hard slog, but he gradually moved up the ladder; when his boss retired he landed the job of his dreams. He was a hard worker, and pretty ambitious, but his managerial skills needed to be honed.
Jake’s was a solid “C” or Conscientious personality type. Translation: he was more comfortable working solo on projects. He loved meeting goals, so just give him a directive and leave him alone! And his decisions were always based on objective facts instead of emotions.
Ironically, he was more task-driven than people-driven, but he could smell insincerity from a mile away. He wasn’t exactly a killjoy, but he wasn’t the life of the party either. His demeanor was usually serious and thoughtful.
Several of his top people were Millennials many of whom were babies when he started with the company. In fact, he had a couple of kids who were older than some of his staffers.
The previous boss, a Baby Boomer, was a high “I” on the DiSC spectrum. He had an outgoing personality and, unlike Jake, he absolutely loved working with the Millennials!
Boss, know thyself!
When it came to understanding their new boss, Jake’s subordinates had an awkward learning curve. First off they noted that he liked every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed, and the more info the better.
What they struggled with the most was how slowly and cautiously he made decisions. He was overly cautious and overly self-critical. And sadly, his perfectionism could sometimes spill over, run amuck, and frustrate the heck out of his staff. In a situation like this, how does the manager build trust in their teams?
In Jake’s case, his DiSC personality profile made him more self-aware and opened his eyes to his own work style. Because DiSC is non-judgmental, it’s also not threatening. So instead of being defensive, Jake felt safe exploring his own quirks and seemed eager to learn how to be a better person and a more successful professional.
Exposing the man behind the curtain
Jake was a wizard when it came to data management and analysis. People management and analysis was another matter. Ironically, Jake had coveted his old boss’s job, and in his mind, he’d been in training for it his whole career.
But now he realized—and had to admit—that he liked to work alone more than on a team. Yikes! Fortunately, he was willing to learn his way out of his comfort zone and embrace the leadership skills he’d need to do the job well.
He was cordial, but to his colleagues, his social skills weren’t great. During our personality training session, we discovered that he wasn’t aloof. He was just shy.
The good thing was that like most “C” personalities, he processed other people’s ideas pretty quickly and he was now willing to help them accomplish goals as a team.
How does the manager build trust in their teams?–Find everyone’s passion!
After the DiSC training session, our facilitators conducted a charitable team building workshop where all of their new insights about personality types and quirks got put to practical use. One of our favorite charitable events is the Happy Tails Workshop.
Pet ownership can be expensive. Our workshop helps ease some of the financial pain by donating a “starter kit” to prospective pet parents who really want to give a kitten or puppy a forever home.
During the workshop, the group divides into small teams who “compete” for leashes, food bowls, chew toys, scratching posts, blankets, and beds. The bounty is donated to a charity that happily delivers it to a local family.
Jake is an avid pet lover, so his predisposition to keep to himself was overshadowed by his genuine concern for shelter animals at risk of being euthanized. He was eager to do all he could to help to rescue as many animals as possible.
So he didn’t just come out of his shell. He literally burst free from his usual “office mode” with an enthusiasm and warmth none of his colleagues had ever seen before!
The DiSC personality profile training opened everyone’s eyes to their own strengths and weaknesses and the charity workshop showed them how to translate all of this knowledge into more effective communication, collaboration, and relationship-building. The future looks pretty bright for the newly self-aware manager and his Millennial team.