Apart from Frisbee GolfIt has been said many times before: communication is critical. Done properly, it is one of the most important skills a person can have. But not everyone communicates the same way. One tool to look at communication styles is DISC, and though we’ve sponsored a disc golf hole here in our home of Indianola, that sport isn’t what I mean. DISC is an assessment acronym that stands for: Dominance (Red), Influence (Yellow), Steadiness (Green), and Compliance (Blue).
Each one defines the patterns, tendencies, and behaviors of one of the four communication styles, and each has a color we here at Your Clear Next Step associate with it. You may have encountered this concept with different colors though, and that’s okay! There are many different schools of thought relating to DISC, and the color isn’t the important part, this is just how we break them down. By matching someone’s communication style, you can make it easier to achieve the goals you want, improve workflow, and get along even better. But how do you know who is who? What’s the best way to tell? It isn’t as if everyone wears a sign that says “here’s how I like to communicate”, so it can be hard to figure it out.
Let’s follow a group of four coworkers, each a good example of one of the communication types. Four coworkers: Brenda, Kevin, Amanda, and Marcus. Their team has had a hard quarter, and they want to get out and do something fun together, like playing some disc golf. By studying their behaviors as they make their plan, you may gain some insight into how each style communicates.
Brenda is the one who comes up with the idea. One day, while the four of them are together after a long day’s work, she jumps up and realizes: there’s a new disc golf course in town! Everyone has been talking about wanting to exercise and hang out once they are off work and not sitting at their desk all day, it’s the perfect activity. She creates a grand plan for a whole day of competition at the course, and she is the one who sets the first suggested date and time. “Be there or be square,” she proclaims!
Like other dominance/red communicators, she is decisive and direct, and she takes the risk of suggesting the activity
Kevin is the next to chime in. He comes onboard quickly and helps Brenda convince the others, bringing Amanda and Marcus over to the idea with a smile and a few convincing words. Then he thinks about their other coworkers, and he realizes that there are a few others that everyone would have lots of fun with if they came along, and who could really use the break from the day to day. He persuades everyone to let the others come before he drafts out the invitation that will go out on the new Slack chat he’s somehow already made while no one was looking.
He is popular, persuasive, and he always knows just what to say, just like influence communicators are known to do.
Throughout the entire process, Amanda keeps the peace. When Brenda starts getting too excited, Amanda calms her down to keep the conversation going on the right track. She suggests that a competition is too much for their friendly day off, instead they should just have fun and enjoy themselves. When Kevin mentions somebody that another person doesn’t want to come, Amanda smooths the suggestion out and they decide peacefully. And when Marcus starts to worry that they’ve missed something in the process, she suggests he make a risk plan. When Marcus hands her the final Slack message, she adds a friendly greeting and is the one to send it.
The steadiness communicator of the group, she is stable and understanding of all her friends’ views, and friendly enough to send out the text with no trouble at all.
Before Amanda sends the invitation, Marcus offers to proofread the message. He makes a few grammatical corrections and ensures that the others know exactly what they will be signing up for if they are really interested. Then, at Amanda’s suggestion, he goes back to Brenda’s suggested date and time, and with barely a glance at the calendar, points out the meeting he has that day, and Amanda’s out of the office. He also double-checks the weather for everyone – there’s rain on that day. He helps adjust the date and times to a more suitable day where all the participants are free, and inputs the final decision into the perfected message, which he hands back to Amanda for her to send.
Marcus’ fact-finding and precision saved the plans, and his lofty standards complete it, the mark of a compliance communicator.
Thus, with their plan set, the disc golf can begin! Each member of the group contributed to the mission and made it the best that it can be! Every style of communication is valuable in its own ways and contributes mightily to your goals! Remember, when you communicate, it’s not about you, it’s the other person. If you can identify a person’s style and match it accordingly, you can help make everyone’s workdays even better!
If you’re interested in finding out your own style of communication, you can take this free DISC assessment, which can be a great asset in determining how you communicate!