Unlocking the people puzzle

Have you ever noticed how you have a better connection with certain colleagues than others? Maybe you’ve encountered someone that is so unlike you, that communication with them is challenging or awkward?

There is a simple reason for this – we are all different. Our personalities are as unique as our DNA, therefore when we connect with other people, our behaviour can change according to the mix of personality traits.

Where Workplace Works is currently enabling our clients to access a ‘Personality Profiling’ service provided by DISC Practitioner and associate of WWW- Vicky O’Farrell. Vicky enables workforces to reach their true potential, through workplace DISC coaching and training sessions. She does this by helping teams to develop a thorough understanding of their own personalities, and those around them, considering the unique blend of traits that make us all individuals. This training then helps people to better communicate, develop and understand their strengths, whilst improving performance and collaboration in their teams.

We asked Vicky a few questions about personality profiling and DISC, the method of profiling she describes as – ‘unlocking the people puzzle’

Q. So, what is Personality Profiling?

A. Put simply, personality profiling enables you to understand people in minutes rather than years. Profiling is simply a method of assessment which allows you to identify areas of your personality that are most prominent, allowing you to categorise yourself as a ‘type’. After gaining this understanding of yourself- and others- you stand in a much stronger position of knowing how you like to work and why, who you work best with, what motivates you and others, how you can improve and what areas of your personality you can adjust or enhance to work more efficiently with people most opposite to yourself.

Q. What is DISC and how does it work?

A. DISC is a method of assessment that enables individuals to measure four particular areas of their personality. This assessment provides an insight into how they might interact and perform alongside other personalities in the workplace.

When using the DISC method, personalities are measured using four prominent behaviour types. These are: Dominance (D), the area of the personality which measure how you address problems and challenges. Influence (I), the area that measures how you interact and influence people and contacts. Steadiness (S), the area that measures how you deal with pace and consistency and finally Compliance (C), the area that looks at how you manage Rules and procedures.

Now, it is unlikely that a person would fit into just one single area, as our personalitiesare made up of varying levels of all of them. For example, if you imagine a graphic equaliser, or a graph, a person may plot the four DISC areas of their personality above or below the neutral level of zero. Depending on where you plot your most influential trait – say for example you are decisive, dominant, a doer, go getter, and make decisions quickly, then the ‘D’ element of your personality will sit high on the graph way above the zero line. If, however the finer details are not of interest to you, and stats and facts, and taking time to analyse the intricacies of a task does not interest you in the slightest- then the ‘C’ element is likely to be plotted well below the neutral line.

We tend to measure a person depending on their levels of DISC in three ways- generally (when they are in normal life scenario or auto pilot), how we believe we are perceived, and finally when they are under pressure.

Once we gain awareness of our own personality makeup, not only do we gain a closer understanding of ourselves, we can also better understand those we work with therefore, we are able to improve how we work, collaborate and communicate with those that may be different from us.

Q. How can personality profiling be implemented?

A. Having a close understanding of your personality as an individual can be incredibly powerful and will allow you to also understand those around you and the traits they may possess. For example, I myself have a high ‘I’ and therefore may communicate differently to people I may know have a high ‘C’ level, that need clarification, detail and consistency, so I consciously attempt to heighten my ‘C’ and lower my ‘I’ when communicating with them.

Personality profiling is also incredibly useful when managing teams. I’ve known managers who have tried to manage various staff personalities using only one style- without much success. The truth is, the best managers know and understand their team as individuals and are able to communicate to them accordingly- whether in meetings, appraisals, collaborations on projects or even in emails, simply by knowing what makes individuals tick and how they work best. 

For example, if you are leading a project, you will need to understand the personalities involved. For the high C’s, their inclusion may need to be encouraged, they may struggle with spontaneity, and pushing them to be in the limelight may be a mistake, whereas the D’s may want to move on and take the reins. The I’s however, may not need all of the necessary details involved in the project, as this will be over complicating for them. So, in essence, if you understand the personality styles in the room you can find a pace and tasks that suits all. 

Q. How are the tests performed?

A. Ordinarily measurements are made through an online psychometric test. These would be used to determine the makeup of people’s personalities and give the most accurate reading. However, you can split the room into quadrants with just two simple questions! It generally depends on the size of the group you are working with and how much allocated time is available.

Q. Can profiling assist the development and design of physical working environments?

A. Yes absolutely- Considering the personalities of a team will definitely provide you with an insight into how environments should cater for various working styles. Take the ‘Google-esque‘ office model as an example. Implementing such a design may be hugely popular with the workers with high ‘I’s’, who enjoy the energy, the hub and vibrancy and elaborate aesthetics of the design- however, those with high ‘C’s’ will certainly need a quieter working environment that suits them too, allowing them to escape this, as they are likely to see this as a distraction, to be disturbing, unnecessary, and perhaps even a waste of money! Then there are the people with high S’s- who may need an environment that provides stability and support. I’ve known extreme ‘S’s that have left organisations having been exposed to constant change so, they may well require an area that provides a regular desk or regular fixed workstation for them to attend.

Consideration of personalities when designing a workspace will most certainly promote a working environment that suits everyone- after all- we are all different and therefore one space probably won’t fit all!

If you would like to find out more about unlocking the people puzzle in your workspace, contact Where Workplace Works for further details: info@whereworkplaceworks.com

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