You're probably sick and tired of reading about mindfulness—the miracle trait that all successful people purportedly have in common. Mindfulness—or awareness of yourself and those around you—isn't necessarily something you're born with or you're not. Reading people (and yourself) may not be a proven science, but DISC (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) profiles is one way of better understanding communication styles.
Based on the four dimensions that most influence people's emotional behaviour that psychologist William Marston laid down in 1928, DISC assessments are now used by organisations for high-potential employees and high-performance teams to help them identify and maximise their strengths. By figuring out how you and those around you communicate, you can say just the right things and have more fruitful discussions.
Drivers speak fast, move fast, and want results pronto. They will do whatever it takes to get around obstacles (and in some cases, right through them). While this communicator might seem pushy, drivers are your go-to guy to get things done.
Like dominants, influencers also speak fast and move fast, but they are gifted storytellers. They are engaging, upbeat, great talkers, and their language is nuanced. If you want somebody to promote your idea, you can rely on interactives.
Steady types are slower, sensitive, thoughtful, and great listeners. They're often the rock in the team, the glue that keeps everyone together. They don't perform well in conflicts, but count on them to co-ordinate and connect you to the right people in his/her network.
Like their name foretells, compliant types value order, precision, and accuracy. They are slower moving and take their time with words, but when they're done, they go straight to the point. Compliant types are natural problem solvers, effective planners, and will invent their own processes. Want something done right? Reach out to the compliant in your team.
If you don't feel like you fit into any of the four communicator personas or if you think they're just overly simplified, it's not unusual. Our repertoire usually has a bit of this and a bit of that, depending on the situation. Research, however, says we tend to rely on one or two primary styles—one when we are under stress, and the other when we are actively managing our communication.
The best lesson you can take away from this model is to quickly characterise those around you so that you can mould your communication into a style that is more comfortable for them. It's a great way to approach new colleagues, higher-ups, clients or collaborators. And even if you've known someone for years now, it can still help you communicate better with him or her.
The writer is In-charge of the career publication of The Daily Star.