I was recently at a doctor’s office and above the water fountain, was a poster titled “Teamwork Has It’s Sweet Rewards.” The image included a dog laying on the floor in front of an open refrigerator. On its back, stood a small dog. On the bag of that dog was a cat who stretched its paws up toward the top shelf to retrieve a large cake covered in pink frosting and strawberries. This unlikely trio of comrades worked together to come up with a solution to their problem. Why is it that when we humans encounter people with differing perspectives or styles that we silo ourselves? At work, like often clings to like.
When you take your lunch break, who do you go to lunch with? If you’re very social and interactive, do you invite the sometimes aggressive sales team or detail-oriented number cruncher? Probably not. More than likely, you invite other social butterflies to ensure an exciting and vibrant atmosphere at the table.
If you’re more on the quiet yet supportive side of the team, would you want to go to lunch with the boss who can sometimes seem be overbearing. Just the thought alone about spending an hour discussing work when it’s your free time is stressful enough.
Understanding the four DISC personality styles will help your team function just as well, if not better, than the canines and feline relations who conquered their task. The lessons learned in Merrick Rosenberg’s book, The Chameleon, teach us the importance of understanding different personality styles, how to capitalize on our strengths, deepen relationships that are most important to us and enhance our careers.
Rosenberg reimagined DISC from ordinary forgetful letters with inspiring and memorable birds: dominant and decisive Eagles, interactive and inspirational Parrots, supportive and sincere Doves and conscientious and concise Owls.
When we gain a better understanding of the four personality styles, we realize things like sometimes our leader doesn’t mean to micromanage- they just may be leading in their Owl style; or that the group of people who hang out and talk in the kitchen aren’t really avoiding work- they’re Parrots who thrive and gain energy by socializing.
We’re all valuable members of the team, no matter what our bird style is and the sooner we understand and embrace the four personality styles, the sooner we’re on the path to being a better team.
By Andy Kraus