DISC Training Blog

This is the spot for those who love the DISC model of behavior, and enjoy discussing personality, people and why we do what we do. If you are a DISC trainer, HR professional, business coach or just fascinated with human behavior, this is a great place to DISCuss these fun topics!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Does Your Work Environment Affect Your DiSC Profile?

I recently joined LinkedIn to experience social networking more fully. If you have not done so yet, you might want to create your own profile by going to http://www.linkedin.com/. One of the neat features there is the ability to ask questions of the entire network and to receive answers from professionals around the world.

I have responded to 3 questions so far, and am putting the question and my answer here for one of the questions asked recently (by the way, it was selected as the "Best Answer" by the person asking the question.)

Here was the question:
Does the work environment have a major impact on an individual's DISC profile? Does the profile change if taken at different times?

Here was my answer:
"Let's go back to the work of Dr. William Moulton Marston, who developed the original theory of DISC back in the 1920's. Marston believed there were two important factors that influenced one's DISC behavior. One was our "Perception of the Environment" we find ourselves in - is it favorable or unfavorable? Certain DISC styles have a tendency to see the environment as favorable, where other DISC styles have a tendency to see the environment as unfavorable. Think about yourself. Do you naturally expect a situation/environment to be favorable as you tend to think you can influence or persuade people to see things your way or that you believe in cooperation, so expect that from others? Or do you expect the situation/environment to be unfavorable because there are always challenges to overcome (otherwise it gets boring) or because things can always be improved? This basic orientation can greatly affect our behavior. The second factor Marston believed would influence our DISC style was our "Perception of Self in the Environment" - do we see ourselves as more powerful than the environment we are in, or less powerful than the environment we are in. This has nothing to do with personal power, but our orientation for how we tend to deal with things going on in the situation/environment. For example, when I am in an environment where I do not feel as comfortable, I have a tendency to become a little more quiet than normal. In these situations, someone reading my behavior would see a different style than in an environment where I am completely comfortable and confident. These two factors can influence our behavior, and DISC is a behavioral-based model. Here is one more example. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you normal tendency is to "take charge", but because you are less comfortable or feel less powerful in that environment (Examples: new to a job - new manager you haven't figured out yet - situation where you do not have control) you may be much more "cautious", which causes your behavior to look different than it normally would. These kind of factors can cause shifts in our behavior. We have found in our work with organizations and individuals that most individuals tend to remain fairly constant with minor shifts in their DISC behavior, unless there is a major shift in their perception of the environment or their perception of self in the environment. One last thing - there are numerous publishers of DISC assessments out there. Be sure and check out the validity and reliability factors for any assessment you are looking to use. Reliability of an assessment has to do with how "reliable" it is - will it give me the same results today as it would next month? The answer should be YES, unless there has been some major change in the focus in which it was taken, i.e. the work environment. This is why we also recommend DISC NOT be used as a hiring tool. Because it is based on the environment, you cannot know how I would behave until I am in that environment. That is probably more than you wanted to know, but DISC is a powerful tool for individuals and organizations if used in the appropriate way. I hope this was helpful!"

Let me know your thoughts!

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