Taking responsibility as a leader is extremely demanding and challenging, but being able to coordinate and lead people regardless of their personality types, might be one of the most difficult things the leader has to face. Therefore, it’s extremely important to know how to assess the personality types of your team and prepare yourself to work with them.
Kathy Kasten is the founder and CEO of Lion Crest Leadership. This organization focuses on maximizing people’s potential to find greater fulfillment and results doing what they love and serving those they care about. She is also our first out of five guests presenting on the topic “across borders”.
Any successful business needs a team of different people, with diverse gifts and talents. In order to make such a team as productive and amazing as possible, the leader needs to bring in people who balance others out. If there’s a weakness in one person’s trait, the other team member should fill that gap out. It is often scary for leaders because they want to bring people on the team like themselves, who think, act and make decisions alike. It becomes quite easy to shut someone out if they are exasperating, frustrating, irritating etc. because they don’t think like you. It’s important, however, to remember as a leader, that the best results will be achieved if your team is diverse, and if each voice is respected.
Kathy was always looking for a tool which would help her to have the best conversations possible with other people. At the end of the day, when we have a business of any kind, we’re trying to serve people. Therefore, we need to know how to have those conversations and even get people to understand that what we have is really valuable for them. It’s like when you knock on the door, and the person who opens the door at first keeps the chain lock, just briefly glancing at you wondering why you came. Now you’re going to either have the door shut in your face, or they’re going to take the chain off and say, come on in. It all depends on whether you are able to come through with your message.
The tool that truly helped Kathy analyze people and find common language with them was DISC. She runs this analysis on all of her clients to figure out their personality types, whether they are people’s people or task-oriented people, and see what is the comfort area for her clients in terms of character, from which Kathy then can build base and understand their natural way of learning and progressing.
Only after this, Kathy can start to build the coaching and all of the discussions that she and her clients will have, first around their comfortable place, and then slowly stepping up to where they want or need to be. Such analysis can be useful not only to one person, but to the whole team, and it’s a very powerful data to look at, because the leader might be on one side of the DISC scale, and the whole team on the completely opposite one. This is very important to know for the leaders who are building a diverse team, since 85 to 90% of all stress in the workplace is between task-oriented people and people-oriented people. Running such an analysis helps understand the priorities of the other person better, and therefore have a conversation on similar terms, noting the things that are important to the other person, and not just speaking in generalities.
Although DISC analysis is not super expensive, some people might find it over their price budget, if they have to run it on the whole team. However, there are a few other ways to assess people’s personalities without this test. One of them is to grab a piece of paper, put everyone’s name on it, and then ask yourself two questions, while assessing each individual: “Is this person a fast-paced person or a relaxed-pace?” and “ is it a task- or people-oriented person?” To assess the answer to the first question, you have to observe whether the person talks fast or slowly, whether the person pauses when they speak or takes time to think, and how the person walks into the room – in a fast or a slow tempo? This is the first part of the DISC “globe”. 10 to 15% of conflicts in a workplace comes between those two behavioral styles – fast and slow. Knowing this information we can adjust to deal with each other’s speed.
To know the answer to the second question, you have to pay attention to the words people use. Are they talking about the things that need to get done or the people they need to see? The majority of the conflicts in the workplace happen because of dissonance in this area. So try and assess the majority of your team on this criteria, and then adjust your meeting, work time, work ethics and so on according to the majority of your team. That way everyone will feel happy, fulfilled, and less stressed out.
If you are interested in learning more about leading everyone independently of their personality types, and other tips on assessing people on a team, listen to the whole episode of the Genius Leadership podcast with Kathy here.
Stay tuned and be genius!