The DiSC Behavioral Profile tool is useful for identifying, understanding and improving your interactions with the various personalities in your life. In my last post, I offered a high-level description of each of the four DiSC behavior profiles, including some examples—two real people and a few television characters—to help you recognize the characteristics of the different profiles. Most people exhibit a combination of two of the four profiles, but with practice, you will soon be able to identify someone’s dominant profile.
Guessing the behavioral profiles of the “characters” in your life can be fun—a great party trick! But the purpose of DiSC is about identifying and understanding your own personal behavior profile and learning to modify it to best fit the interaction.
What profile would you assign to yourself? Don’t worry. There are no bad DiSC profiles; only opportunities to better understand yourself, so you can learn to have more effective interactions with others.
The first step is getting a clear picture of who you are and how others see you by taking the DiSC assessment. The tool asks you a series of questions, some relating to how you would like to behave in a given situation, and some relating to how you actually behave in certain situations. Your responses are plotted on two graphs: who you want to be and who you actually are. 60% of individuals who have taken the DiSC assessment find how they see themselves is quite different from how others see them. It’s an eye-opening experience for most. My job as a behavioral coach is to create congruence between these two profiles.
A Subconscious Workout?
Learning to change your behaviors to bring them more in line with how you want to be perceived is challenging. It’s just like working out at the gym, albeit a little less physical. But you are still exercising a muscle—your brain. In the process of training, athletes create what is referred to as “muscle memory.” By repeatedly performing an exercise, the athlete eventually is able to perform the exercise without conscious effort. The same is true with changing your behavior. If you really want the change, you can get there. First you decide to do it. You set a goal for yourself and then you do it, repeatedly over time. The more you focus and practice the changes, the better you’ll get until the new behaviors become habit. It takes consistency for the new behaviors to stick.
At some point, people in your inner circle will start noticing changes, but they won’t likely be able to pinpoint what those changes are. “There’s something different about you. I can’t put my finger on it. Have you lost weight?” So, there you go, folks. Your 2015 resolution to lose weight doesn’t have to involve a scale! You should measure your behavioral development progress by routinely asking yourself, “How is my new behavior affecting my personal and work life, my community, and possibly even the world?!”
People often ask me what specific things they can do to get moving on behavioral development. I suggest three things:
- Consider attending a behavioral development workshop to get a clearer understanding of your behavioral profile, learn how behaviors affect interactions, and discover ways to modify behavior to improve interactions.
- Get with a trusted advisor—a spouse, close friend, a professional mentor—and ask him or her to describe how they see you. What behaviors do you exhibit? Do the behaviors change in stressful situations? Then, based on what you know about the DiSC profiles, how do you see your trusted advisor?
- Now, come up with two things you can work on behaviorally to improve your relationship with that person. For example, perhaps your advisor happens to be your spouse, and she says you tend to be overly negative and pessimistic. Try to focus on being more positive for a week. At the end of your little experiment, think about your interactions with your spouse. Did you notice a difference in how you got along?
In my next post, I’ll talk about a few of the most popular DiSC profiles and offer strategies for dealing with them!