DiSC Personality Series: Spotlight On High-D

by | Sep 10, 2013

What do Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, Tiger Woods, and Charles Barkley have in common? They are all standout athletes who delivered victory after victory and broke record after record. They have something else in common: Each exhibits characteristics of a DiSC High-D personality profile.

“D” is one of four dominant personality styles in the DiSC personality assessment, a tool I recommend for leaders to administer among their executive teams. While all people exhibit each of the four DiSC personality styles in varying degrees, the model helps managers understand the dominant traits among team members, and glean their motivations, decision-making strategies, and responses to stress. Ultimately, employing Everything DiSC executive assessments among employees enables a leader to tailor their situational management style so to achieve superior results through others.

Meet The DiSC High-D personality profile

Goal-oriented, determined, decisive and no-nonsense, High-Ds are driven to succeed. High-D personalities are forces to be reckoned with, whether their workplace is a sports field or an office.
About 3 percent of the population has dominant High-D personalities. They’re likely the ones who are going to be driving an organization forward. At their best, High-Ds are:

  • Energetic Usually, they have high energy levels and big gas tanks―they out last everyone else.
  • Demanding Often in a very good way, High-Ds have high expectations and want to lead others to achieve them.
  • Participative They are part of the team and will lead by example. Their expectations for themselves are just as high, if not higher, as for everyone else.
  • Direct When speaking, they like to get to the core of the matter quickly.
  • Task-Focused They give clear instructions and are adept at fixing immediate needs.
  • Efficient As leaders, they know where they want to go, how to get there, and by when. They will push others to fulfill their part of that mission.

A trap for High-Ds is the very qualities that make them so effective at leadership can also be a detriment when taken to the extreme. At their worst, DiSC High D personalities can be:

  • Overly demanding They may push people too far or leave them behind if they can’t catch up.
  • Forceful They may alienate or intimidate others.
  • Impulsive High-Ds, when under stress or pressure, can make snap decisions without fully considering their impact.
  • Abrupt When someone needs their attention, a High-D might not make time to sit down and talk. Further, they may not care about the impact of their communications on others. If not moderated, this behavior can cause a major breakdown for High-Ds.

When you are dealing with a High-D personality profile – on your team, as a client, or as a boss – it is important that you have a clear focus and are thorough in your objectives. What do you want to accomplish? How can you do that quickly and efficiently? You have to be able to grab their attention and get to the heart of the matter. Expect brief interactions, little discussion and decisiveness.

Management Tip: Perspective Is Everything

From a coaching or leadership perspective, it’s important to help High-Ds see things from different viewpoints.

I had a conversation with a gentleman last week who is High-D oriented. He tends to make decisions and put things into their own boxes to make them fit his perspective. I often ask this person if there are other views to consider and, if he looked at the matter differently, is there another approach or different explanation? It’s valuable and productive to ask someone with a DiSC High-D personality profile to expand their thinking on a subject. You’ll be glad you did!

Another critical area for growth is developing listening skills and appreciating the opinions and input of others. Can a High-D personality allow for other viewpoints? Can they accept that some people like—a High-I (needs to talk more circuitously) or others — like High-Cs—might only be agreeing with them out of fear or intimidation? Gaining this quality of insight and applying it to their work are disciplines that can help High-Ds really shine as leaders.

High-Ds can be a tremendous asset to an organization, especially when they discover how to leverage their drive, determination, and authority in positive directions.

DiSC and The DiSC logo are a registered trademark of Inscape Publishing.

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