Personality puzzle

Written by: Victoria O’Farrell
Published on: 1 Jul 2019

Victoria O’Farrell  [square]We need to know what motivates us and our colleagues to get the best from each other, says Victoria O’Farrell.

If you’re not motivated by praise, receiving it won’t make you do more. But it is also less likely that you will praise others. By understanding people, we can unlock the personality puzzle and communicate better to motivate each other more effectively.

The problem is that when on autopilot, we assume other people are like ourselves, but life is not so simple. There are many personality and psychometric models available, but I prefer William Marsden’s DISC as it is the simplest.

DISC refers to the four core personality styles:

  • Dominant: mainly outgoing and task-aligned
  • Influence: mainly outgoing and people-aligned
  • Steady: mainly reserved and people-aligned
  • Compliant: mainly reserved and task-aligned

We are blends

While some may be outwardly one style and, therefore, an easier character to read, many others are a blend. Understanding DISC will help to solve these personality puzzles. Styles will also change depending on the environment. With friends, you may be more outgoing and but reserved in a working environment. But let’s focus on the latter.

The D – Dominant

A doer is happy to take charge and lead. They will be demanding of others and themselves because their great fear is failure. So meeting a target or deadline is a driving force, as is determination to succeed and taking 
decisive actions.

The ‘D’ is more likely to interrupt or rush you while talking, check their phone during a conversation, and may come across as blunt.

The I – Influential

Interactive and interested in other people, the ‘I’ is involved with many things, can make impulsive decisions and is easily distracted. Their great fear is loss of popularity so they use verbal persuasion to change minds and influence ideas, and will also interrupt with ideas.

The ‘I’ is a verbal communicator with great facial expressions. They appear to have a laid-back style and will open a conversation (verbal or email) by asking how you are, and likely to close by using an emoji at the end of a text.

The S – Steady

The ‘S’ supports team players and likes to maintain the status quo. They are sensitive to others’ feelings so they often put others first. But they do fear change. When taking them on a change journey, give them time and reasons for the change. 

The ‘S’ is patient, thoughtful of others, listens well and works at a marathon pace rather than a sprint/stop. An ‘S’ keeps his or her opinions to themselves until they’ve had time to reflect on all situations.

The C Style – Compliant

The ‘C-style’ is careful and cautious, ensuring compliance with rules and regulations. Expect consistency in projects and tasks, and with plenty of double-checking. Their great fear is criticism, especially without evidence. 

The ‘C-style’ takes a formal approach, works logically and sets out action points with detail and accuracy. They are likely to follow up verbal instructions with written communication for clarity.

So why does this matter?

There is no right or wrong or good or bad style; our personalities are unique. But understanding each other and ourselves can improve corporate and personal environments, and ensure that the right people are undertaking the right tasks.

It’s also vital because I believe we leave organisations when we’re no longer motivated by others or are able to motivate those with whom we work. 

What do your team members or colleagues need to stay motivated? What do you need? Is it achieving deadlines on time, receiving a simple ‘thank you’, maintaining stability, or ensuring detail with tasks?

Knowing the answers can help us build strong and supportive teams that mitigate stress and confrontation, and improve morale, communication and productivity. 

Victoria O’Farrell is managing director at Motivational Voice

Thumbnail image credit | iStock