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The must-read guide on ways to improve workplace relationships

I feel compelled to write to you again today in the first person because this is one of my favorite topics. In a previous life of my career, I used to be called into teams experiencing a crisis. These colleagues were at the point that productivity had come to a steep decline, and all because of a widespread personality clash.

My job was to get them to understand each other and appreciate their differences. Next, I taught them how to communicate effectively with each of the distinctively different personalities. During my afternoon sessions (with cookies – always have cookies), attendees entered with hands across their chest in a defensive manner, and then they left with their hands down at their sides and smiles on their faces.

What’s the secret?

I’ll be honest with you – it’s no secret at all. Once everyone understands that others’ thought processes, motivators, and deflectors are different, their frustrations ease, and they are open to some simple changes with the big payoff of renewed relationships.

Understanding your team’s personality types

Instead of having to call someone like me for crisis intervention, I highly recommend a proactive approach with your team before things go sour. In doing so, your employees will understand and appreciate each other’s personality differences and learn how to maximize each other’s potential. This will lead to working more effectively and enjoying astonishing improvements in team harmony, which leads to higher productivity. Helping your team find their groove with personality traits is a great way to start a new trend in work-life satisfaction.

It all begins with a test – a personality test to be more specific. I can tell you that there are MANY personality tests out there, and I can write about five of them myself. After trying out several, the result is always very similar with a different label. They all break down into four categories: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance – otherwise known as DISC.

So skip the whimsical colors, seasons, and sea creature personality tests, because they all break down to the same DISC descriptions.

Start your quest for team harmony by taking a free DISC personality test. In fact, pass this blog around and have everyone in your organization take the test. As everyone makes their results public, they will know how to work with one another more effectively. Your team dynamics are about to take on a tremendous change.

Your team, decoded (print this and hang it on your wall)

As you look at this chart, you may notice that some of your team members have combined results with high scores in a couple of quadrants. Most have one or two dominant personality traits. Keep reading, for I have an interesting example to share with you about a colleague and myself.

Explore the sides first

As you look at the chart, pay attention to the boxes on each edge. These are shared traits of the two quadrants touching the box.

The top (D and I)

These individuals can thrive in and prefer a fast-paced environment. These are also your team extroverts. They have no reservations about making decisions to get people moving forward, even if it is the wrong one. You can count on them to push ahead when the rest of the team is uncertain. These people will spring to action and change on a dime without a fight. Just keep them moving.

The bottom (C and S)

These individuals are your introverts and polar opposite to those at the top. They move at a slower pace and are more resistant to change. D and I personalities with their fast pace can make them a little nervous sometimes. They may not refuse anything, but before they proceed, they appreciate some reassurances as to why, and that everything is planned and aligned before they are ready for any changes.

The left (D and C)

The left quadrants are task-oriented and not very interested in the social angle of perspectives. They have a special gift of not taking things personally. These personalities may also get a little aggravated when other team members get bent out of shape. They will speak their mind, unaware of how their words and actions affect others or may hurt the feelings of some on their team.

The right (I and S)

These are your social team members. They are very thoughtful about how people are affected and what others will think about their actions and decisions. These are your known resources of sympathy and empathy on the team.

Let’s get specific

We started with some high-level generalizations, but let’s next take a minute to dig a little deeper into each quadrant.

Dominant: “Do it now.”

The Ds have a natural drive to keep pushing forward and not waste time. They are highly competitive, so get more out of them by openly comparing their performance to someone else’s.

  • They solve problems quickly.

  • They take an active and direct approach to obtaining (and demanding) results.

  • They prefer prompt feedback and are likely to concentrate on the goal at hand instead of the team because of their results-driven tendencies.

Influence: “Do it together.”

The influencers share the same drive to push ahead, but they do so by rounding up the troops to get them aligned and engaged. They are naturally social personalities, and their gift is the art of persuasion and influence, which comes easily to them.

  • They are the smiley team members who show enthusiasm and focus on the positive. The influencers make tasks fun in some way that the rest of us will never understand. Just roll with it – their optimism can be contagious to the rest of the team.

  • They are socially assertive with new people and like to talk if you haven’t already noticed.

  • Don’t hammer these types with details, for they like to focus on the big picture.

Steadiness: “Do it in a caring way.”

If a team needs a few “rocks,” they need a few steadies on the team. These reliable and dependable people-persons appreciate team harmony. They also represent the personality with the highest employee retention rates – probably because of their reluctance for change.

  • Provide a solid structure around how things are done. They prefer predictability.

  • Steadies are the most patient of us all, but they dislike or even fear insecurity and change. In return, we must give them some patience with change instead of pressure.

Conscientiousness: “Get it right.”

These are your skeptics, but with nothing but good intentions. Think of an analytical and calculating mind. In fact, C is also for calculating, cautious, or compliance. They all fit. C’s insist on things in order and will ask for more information around decisions.

  • Be patient with their questions, for your answers will convince them to move forward. Never omit information.

  • These individuals always adhere to rules, standards, and procedures. They thrive on them!

  • Driven to be correct, this group maintains the highest quality control interests.

  • Cs are quiet and may appear to lack emotion, but don’t be fooled. They have plenty of feelings but don’t display them the same way as others. They may even get aggravated or confused with someone else’s emotions.

A true story about the same two types

I had a colleague that I loved talking to but would get very impatient with – okay, angry – whenever we communicated by email or chat. It was the strangest thing! It wasn’t until I got her DISC profile that I put it all together. We were mirror images with our personalities, both high with I and D.

What I realized is that when we spoke one-on-one, we were social, tapping into our influencer psyche. When we communicated in writing, however, we did so with our dominant personas. Our messages were short and curt – a little too much to the point for our I’s to appreciate. D’s love competition, so we were both in it to win – in writing.

As soon as I figured it out, I called her, and we both got a good laugh, then promised each other that real conversations were much more effective between us.

Work2Live, the next level of work-life satisfaction

Helping your team find their groove with personality traits is a great way to start a new trend in work-life satisfaction. Encourage your team members to have their family take the test and spread the harmony across everyone important to them.

The improved productivity should bring about several reasons to pull up your Work2Live Lifestyle Spending Account as your team goes above and beyond your expectations. Show them your appreciation with an experiential reward that will implant a lasting memory and gratitude, bringing them back beaming and ready to give another 110%.

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