Diversity is a hot topic today and we consider it through a variety of categories—age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preferences, personalities—the list goes on. Let’s examine for this short piece just the diversity that exists within the personalities of people. Organizations are making major efforts and spending lots just to get a better grasp of exactly what this means to their teams. Our clients approach us to help them promote a more inclusive environment around this kind of diversity. They’re looking for real results that demonstrate impact within their operations. Inclusiveness has a big ROI—less conflict, more harmony, higher performing teams, improved communication, respect, and employee engagement.
But how do you get started creating that? First, you have to assess the personality diversities of your own team before you can leverage that knowledge.
The team at Invista decided to address our own team’s personality differences and then considered how the mix of those traits could be leveraged to impact our productivity and collaboration. And we started with a personality and behavior assessment called DiSC®.
DiSC® is a very popular personal assessment tool used by over 1 million people every year to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. If you participate in a DiSC® program, you’ll be asked to complete a series of questions that produce a detailed report (a profile) about your personality and behavior.
DiSC® profiles can help you and your team:
– Increase your self-knowledge: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress and how you solve problems
– Facilitate better teamwork and minimize team conflict
– Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
– Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members
– Become more self-knowledgeable, well-rounded, and effective leaders
At Invista we opted for a report that addressed the interactions each of us have with our work environment, tasks, and other team members. The reports work best when coupled with some expert facilitation. We brought one of our great facilitators to lead us through understanding our profiles and practicing how to better communicate and work as a team with our diversity in mind. DiSC® gave us a perspective to discuss our differences in a non-judgmental manner and provided us a common language. The facilitation was a great success.
When each of us had reviewed our profiles, it was as if someone had gotten inside our heads. Members were amazed at how well their profiles described them and their behavior. We gained insights around how to leverage our strengths but also what we need to do professionally to mature our personalities and become better rounded and adaptable. We all were relieved to know that some of how we behave was not unique to us.
As Executive Director, it helps me understand better what kind of work suits our different team members—what energizes or de-motivates them. That’s is a really valuable management insight. I can apply coaching or ask for additional team support when a member is working outside of their strongest traits and likely to have a struggle with an assignment or a task. And I see how members really shine when working from one of their personality strengths.
As for the team, now that we know ourselves and each other better, we are more willing and able to adapt to the needs of others in the way we communicate, listen, divide up responsibilities, or handle conflicts. We appreciate each other more for the unique abilities we bring, and have greater patience for areas where we are still developing. In short, we have much better relationships and that creates engagement and productivity.