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3 Myths About the DISC

Pat Noel, President of Talent Development Solutions, LLC returns today as our guest blogger to share more of her insight into the DISC.

Over the years of coaching and training activities, I have typically used DISC because it is built on solid research and is easy for participants to use. Sometimes I’ve had individuals tell me that they don’t like to use a style instrument. When I ask why, I frequently hear 3 arguments. My blog today explores these 3 reasons, and my responses to ‘bust the myths’ about using DISC-style instruments.

MYTH # 1 – To use DISC effectively, you have to mimic or mirror the person with whom you are talking.

CONSIDER: If you mimic the person you are speaking with, you will quickly lose credibility with that individual. Learning about your DISC style and using that knowledge appropriately enables you to identify the major differences between how you like to communicate, or your behavior tendencies, and another person. Being aware of these differences enables you to select and adjust selected communication patterns to help to build a bridge between the two of you. As an example, if you are naturally a very fast talker and the person you are talking with tends to speak more slowly and deliberately, it can be to your advantage to slow your rate somewhat to create a more comfortable communication environment. Choosing the best actions to adjust shows your respect for how the individual prefers to communicate. When you are using DISC, there is no situation where you should totally mirror what the other person is doing or how he or she speaks.

MYTH #2 – Some styles are better than others.

CONSIDER: It’s common for students of DISC to primarily focus on the negative behaviors of the styles. One typically attacked style is the D style. Criticism centers on the forcefulness and lack of concern for others of individuals who have a high D style. Every style has major contributions to the team and when learning DISC style knowledge, it’s useful to discuss and explore what each style brings to the success of a team. As for our high D’s, these individuals are instrumental in setting critical goals, finding ways to break through barriers to success, and getting things done. All styles bring benefits, and each has a place on a team for balance. I learned early in my DISC training – There is no good or bad, right or wrong style.

MYTH #3 – Each person has one style.

CONSIDER: Everyone has all 4 styles. We tend to use behaviors or tendencies from 1 or 2 styles more frequently than others, but we all have characteristics from all the styles. When you take a DISC instrument, the assessment will show your results for all 4 styles. None of us are only just 1 style.

In the DISC trainings I provide, I always summarize the framework with this analogy:

If there was a mountain in the distance, those individuals who are a high D might say “Let’s go to that mountain!” Those who are a high I might say “Let’s think of a new or different path to get to the mountain!” Those who are a high S might ask “Have you told everyone on the team we’re going to the mountain?” and individuals who are a high C might say “We need to make certain we have enough food and water to get to the mountain.”

Don’t let myths or stories stop you from learning and using an important communication tool to help you be more successful in your communications with others. Subscribe to our blog for more communication tips.

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