DISCover How To Get People to Listen To You

DISC Personality ModelWhen people communicate face to face, they deliver messages on three channels. You need to listen to all 3 channels if you want to hear what the other person is saying. Likewise, if you want to gain the attention of others, you must be able to identify and tune into the right channel of your audience.

What are these three channels?

Verbal – words. Most people believe it is the words you use that differentiate good from bad communication. While important, the words used are only one channel. In fact, some research says that less than 10 percent of effective communication is driven by the words you use. A majority of people tune you out and never hear your words when you don’t first broadcast your message on the right channel.

Visual – body language. This is the most popular channel, especially in face-to-face communication. Body language is reported to determine nearly 60 percent of effective communication. Your posture, your facial expressions, your eye contact all determine how quickly another person will turn you off or engage with you. Body language also impacts non-face-to-face communication too. Just because your target can’t see you doesn’t mean he or she can’t “hear” the effect of your posture and facial expressions.

Vocal – how you say it. This is the second most popular channel, especially with so many people communicating long distance and telecommuting these days. Loud and soft, fast and slow speech all impact the impression you make on others and how likely they will want to listen to what you have to say. The vocal channel determines approximately one-third of effective communication.

Which channel is most important? That’s a great question and the answer depends on the channel that the customer uses. How can you determine quickly the preferred channel of your listeners?

If effective communication is broadcast on three channels of Visual, Vocal, and Verbal, then CriteriaOne DISC is the TV Guide. Each behavioral style has its communication preferences. By understanding the DISC model, presenters can quickly assess their audience and tune into the appropriate visual, vocal, and verbal channels so the intended listener tunes in and stays tuned.

For an example of how all this DISC stuff works, follow this link. Dr. Tony Alessandra does a great job of demonstrating how Visual, Vocal, and Verbal channels can change the meaning of even the simple word “oh.”

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

Why DISC Dosen’t Work for Employee Screening.

First of all, DISC has been around a long, long time. While the acronym DISC was adopted sometime in the mid-twentieth century, the four-style behavioral model was first described by Hippocrates somewhere around 400 B.C. If longevity has anything to do with credibility, the DISC assessment certainly has time on its side and centuries of endorsement.

Another reason is that DISC is also one of the most user-friendly assessments available. Most DISC assessments require only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, the questions are very easy to understand, and face validity (which means the participant agrees with the results of the assessment) is extremely high. And while fees vary widely, the cost is generally below $100, often times significantly less. 

By now, it should be fairly obvious why DISC is so popular – user-friendly, high credibility, low-cost. All those reasons sound pretty good, don’t they? Then why am I saying that DISC doesn’t work for screening employees?

There are many reasons. Let me start with three.

1.Validation. This reason is a big one- one that concerns HR and employment law attorneys. While the DISC assessment itself is valid (it accurately measures what it says it measures), DISC is not a valid tool for job success. If that was the case, every assertive, outgoing individual would be a successful salesperson and every steady, compliant person would turn out to be a very successful accountant. But we know for sure that’s not the case. DISC merely assesses HOW energetically an individual will respond toward problems, people, pace, and procedures. It was not constructed to predict how proficient that same person might be at solving problems, interacting with people, working at a fast pace, or complying with rules and procedures.

2.Observation. DISC is an “observable language.” Each style (D-I-S-C) is easily observed by others when the other person(s) know what to look for. Ds and Is tend to be very animated; Ss and Cs more reserved. Is and Ss are more people-oriented; Ds and Cs are task focused. Is and Ss should be “good with people.” But we know that isn’t always so. People make assumptions about performance based on behavioral style. But as the research about hiring success shows, the behavior you see might not be a predictor of the results you get. Five-factor personality tests and cognitive ability tests are much better predictors of future job fit and skill potential than behavior style assessments like DISC and temperament assessments like MBTI. And that’s not only my opinion but the caveat offered by many of the DISC and MBTI publishers.

3.Norming. DISC assessments are considered ipsative tests. The preferred type of test for hiring is a normed test. Like hundreds of other assessments based on the four style behavioral model, DISC reports the relative strengths of the person being tested. If a DISC assessment reports the individual is 75% “high D”, this merely means this individual is energized by asserting him/herself in dealing with problems. What it does not predict is how two people with similar DISC patterns will perform a job or interact with others. In plain English, two people who both “score” 70% in the D Style might appear to approach the same problem in a similar way but get two entirely different outcomes. Using normative tests, an individual’s “score” measures a specific characteristic against confirmed patterns of normality, usually represented as a bell curve. In business, normative testing allows individuals to be compared to other employees who have met with success or failure in a job.

Normative tests (like PeopleClues, Prevue, and Assess) are therefore best suited as a recruitment and selection instrument. They can be also useful in developmental, coaching and training. By using normative tests when screening employees, managers can select candidates who will have the best chances of success if hired or promoted and avoid placing the wrong employee in the wrong position.

Note: I do recommend on occasion using DISC for employee screening and selection. While I mentioned DISC is not a good predictor job skills, it is a powerful assessment for predicting HOW a candidate will interact with other people and approach a project. By using DISC in conjunction wth five factor personality tests, managers can predict both job fit and team (people) fit with accuracy. When selecting the right pre-employment test for your organization, the best choice is not a case of either-or. If DISC is used for hiring employees, use it in conjunction with other hiring tools…or not at all.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

Personal Styles That Bias Performance Reviews.

Performance reviews, one of the most dreaded managerial responsibilities, are difficult enough to do without personal bias getting in the way. What follows are highlights about how your personal style, identified using the DISC behavioral model, might get in the way of effectively managing your employees.

DISC Personality and Behavior Assessment Profile

“D”s prefer to evaluate others by how well they meet the standards and challenges set forth by the “D.” The amount of work accomplished by others must meet the “D’s” expectations. They tend to set demanding standards for themselves and will seek out who do likewise. However, they will become impatient when employees don’t do what was expected and even more competitive when people surpass them. They tend to set stretch goals. When an employee isn’t doing well, high “D”s don’t have much problem relaying bad news and discipline. But their sometimes abrupt, just-get-it-over-with behavior comes off as confrontational, more than constructive feedback, even when what they had to say needed to be said. You’ll often hear others say, “I agree with what he said, but not how he said it.” Some high “D”s may even send a memo or email telling an employee they’re not pulling their weight or even that they’re fired. Positive perfomance evaluations are based on results, not the details. Coaching will be limited to “just go do it and keep me posted.”

“I”s tend to evaluate other by how well they verabilze feeling. They see performance reviews more as a time to look talk about doing better than a time to confront underperformance. High “I”s prefer a face to face meeting, often times in a casual setting. They may even schedule a difficult meeting over lunch. Telling an employee bad news is extremely difficult for the high “I”; they may tend to beat around the bush before telling an employee what needs to be said. High “I”s tend to set optimistic goals, even unrealistic, because it never hurts to dream. While other high “I”s might enjoy their cordial presentation and letting under-performing employees down easy, other behavioral styles will likely be thinking, “why don’t you just say it and stop talking already?” High “I”s are great coaches if you believe inspiration and motivation can change behavior. But most coaching sessions will be more talk than action, with the coach doing most of the talking.

If any style is challenged by performance reviews, it’s the high “S”. Performance reviews are truly times to acknowledge contributions of the employee and identify areas of improvement. High “S”s will likely be the most lenient managers. They prefer stability to change. Discplining or terminating an employee is very stressful and requires change if the employee leaves or needs to be replaced. The high “S” may not sleep well the night before an evaluation and is especially drained after the meeting. They will bend over backwards to accomodate under-performance, and hope the employee will quit before they have to confront them. High “S”s tend to set realistic goals – why set goals you can’t reach, it’s risky, confrontational and demoralizing. High “S”s are the very best listeners and natural coaches of all the styles.

For the high “C”, performance evaluations are rather “matter of fact.” Their reviews are well-documented, detailed, and critical but objective. Results, accuracy, and cognition get high ratings. If the top rating is a 5 for outstanding performance, high “C”s rarely give higher than a “4” – “there is always room for improvement”, they think. Goals are specific and measurable with exact milestones. They will be realistic and at least in the high “C”s mind, attainable. High “C”s set a very high standard and how you reach your goals is just as important as getting the result. Ongoing feedback will be rare but when provided, the high “C” will consider it constructive. Unfortunately the recipients might perceive it as critical

Understanding how your personal style might bias your judgment of employee behavior begins with a DISC self-assessment. For more information about the DISC personality test profile, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.