CEO and Business Coaching
How Employee Assessment Tools Like DiSC Can Build a Fully Engaged Team
Employee assessment tools allow you to get the best out of your team.
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
– Peter F. Drucker
In the classic film, The Wizard of Oz, the “great and powerful Oz” is exposed as nothing more than a frightened man, hiding behind a curtain. Often, it seems as though leaders don’t want to pull back their own metaphorical curtain. They’re afraid of revealing that, in the final analysis, they are no more (and no less) than a man or a woman, as though such knowledge would diminish their ability to lead effectively.
DiSC assessments permit leaders and managers to know the people on their teams and learn how best to communicate with each of them. Equally powerful is the advantage of allowing individual team players to know each other and their leaders better.
DiSC is one of a number of powerful employee assessment tools for understanding motivation and styles. It is routinely—and effectively—used, for example, to select the best candidates for specific roles; develop targeted, professional development plans; motivate and retain the best employees; and resolve conflicts. In such organizations, I have found that leaders expect their people to share DiSC results and that understanding your coworkers is a mutually held expectation!
In a Forbes piece, Glenn Llopis writes: “Being transparent is a powerful thing, if you can trust yourself and be trusted by others. The reason most leaders are not transparent is because they believe they will be viewed as less authoritative; that the credentials they worked so hard to attain will lose their power, leverage and gravitas.”
Quite a different reality exists with your team players. As Llopis puts it, “People want to know that their leaders have experienced the same problems and/or how they have overcome personal hardships.” (Read the Forbes article)
In other words, they don’t want to view their leaders as omnipotent beings. They don’t buy that, knowing that their managers and bosses are human, flawed, and imperfect. They are still able to lead—not in spite of their humanity but because of it.
Positively Impact Team Culture
When a leader puts aside their own discomfort or concerns (because they may look foolish), this person is more forthcoming about their own results. In doing so, they set a good example for their teams. “Do as I do” versus “do as I say” creates a culture of trust, honesty, and open communication. It also alleviates any private concerns that employee assessment tools will be used against a person. The “lead by example” style guides an organization to thrive.
A smart leader will make his DiSC profile known to everyone and reap the following benefits:
- Create trust. Trust begets trust. A leader who shares his DiSC results trusts that his team will use them to grow and develop and, in turn, they trust that he has their best interests at heart.
- Help people function at a higher level. DiSC assessments are nonjudgmental. That is, they do not serve to point out weaknesses. Instead, they help people realize their areas of strength and how they can best leverage them. DiSC also helps management figure out how to overcome challenges within themselves and with others on the team. This enables a team to develop and perform at a higher level. A strong leader will set this tone and ensure that it remains in place.
- Get rid of ambiguity and create clarity. Understanding one’s DiSC results helps clarify behaviors and communication styles (e.g., “Oh, that’s why she reacts that way in times of stress” or “I see why he engages me in conversation that way”). Such realizations create greater understanding and offer insights to everyone on the team that will help them build stronger relationships and navigate conflict. Additionally, the leader can create strategies to more effectively engage and communicate with the diverse personalities on his team. In fact, strong leadership is demonstrated best when a leader takes on the style of the person with whom she is dealing. This most always assures a good outcome.
- Help the team prepare for crisis and stressful times. In many ways, DiSC allows leaders and teams to take an inventory of their collective strengths, learn to interact with one another, and achieve optimal results. This can prepare them to work together during crises, just like a well-oiled machine. They will have a better understanding of how various people can contribute, where others need support, and how they can come together as a collective entity to work through a crisis.
- Bridge gaps. When a leader is aware of his own shortcomings or areas in which he does not excel, he can fill those gaps with individuals who own those skills or traits. For instance, a High-D wants to go … now. The tendency is to make quick decisions. He can moderate this tendency by relying on the advice of a High-C, someone who values accuracy and quality.
Once everyone—including and especially the leader—has the opportunity to know each other better and appreciate the value they bring to bear, communications improve and positive, lasting change becomes the expected effect. Once the positive impact of employee assessment tools is established, it is often incorporated into the culture of the business.
My experiences with leaders who recognize that they will not lose their power” or leverage in their positions will openly share DiSC results with their people. In fact, they can increase their standing by maintaining transparency, by sharing information and taking the steps they expect their direct-reports to take, and by speaking openly about their strengths and especially about those areas they want to improve. That way, there is no hiding behind a curtain. They are just a man or woman doing his or her best to lead a team.