Three Critical Mistakes Using the DISC Assessment
Three Critical Mistakes Using the DISC Assessment
Even the best leadership tool, when used the wrong way, can become an obstacle. Such is the case with DISC, an incredible assessment tool used by over one million users each year.
DISC is an online assessment that helps uncover your behavioral style. It is the most widely used behavioral model in the world and has helped millions of people improve communication, productivity, team building, leadership, and relationships at work and home.
I’m sure many of you have heard of or used DISC, and your opinion of this tool may be very positive or, if you’re a victim of a DISC assessment “gone bad,” your opinion might be very negative.
Regardless of where on the spectrum your opinion of DISC may lie, this blog will help you overcome past perceptions and bad experiences by providing a solid guide to three DISC best practices.
#1: Do Not Use DISC to Label
Every personality assessment tool profiles personalities and categorizes them into basic buckets. The four DISC buckets are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.
Even though every one of us has a mix of those four, we will usually have one or two dominant traits or “styles” which make us more prone to exhibit certain behaviors. In a team environment, knowledge of the individuals’ profiles can help members better understand others in order to serve, love and empower them to reach their highest potential.
However, DISC assessment results can also be used to label and pigeonhole people. If leaders are not careful, they can turn a wonderful tool designed to build and restore relationships to actually damage and alienate others. Misuse can be as subtle as presuming a person with Dominance tendencies cannot be supportive or someone with Influence tendencies cannot pay attention to details.
In reality, all of us can exhibit behaviors common to any of the DISC styles, even though it may take more effort for someone who is naturally predisposed toward one behavior and not another. We should never limit anyone’s growth by holding them hostage to their assessment results.
#2: Do Not Use DISC to Excuse Behavior
There is another common mistake that DISC users make, and it’s using their assessment results as an excuse to behave or not behave a certain way.
- You may hear someone with a high I profile (which generally tends to struggle with details) use the assessment as an excuse not to pay attention to details.
- You may hear a high S person (someone who may struggle with voicing opinions or taking a firm stand) use their assessment as an excuse to never speak up or make their view or opinion known.
- You may hear a high D person (someone who may struggle with being too vocal and opinionated) use their profile as an excuse not to listen to others and patiently hear opposing points of view.
- You may hear a high C individual (someone who may struggle with paralysis of analysis) use their profile to hijack progress and productivity in the name of not having enough details or data, or in the name of “excellence.”
In reality, the DISC assessment helps identify tendencies, but it’s never an excuse for our behavior. It’s meant to help us understand how we are naturally wired and predisposed, point out our areas of potential weaknesses so that we can understand ourselves and others better, and, finally, allow us to use that knowledge to grow and improve.
#3: Do Not Use DISC to Measure Skill
This one is a biggie. It’s critical for leaders and HR personnel who use DISC or other personality assessments to understand that they do not measure skills.
By looking at someone’s DISC profile we can get a good indication of his or her natural behaviors, but we cannot use the results to evaluate someone’s skill level or their ability to do the job.
What often happens is that we associate certain personality profiles with specific job titles, assuming that unless someone possesses a certain profile they cannot possibly do certain jobs well. Though it’s true that certain jobs require a lot more attention to detail and others require an extremely social, outgoing personality, we should never dismiss anyone’s ability to do the job solely based on their DISC assessment.
What Was Jesus’ DISC Profile?
Funny you should ask! Recently Lead Like Jesus released a Biblical DISC Assessment that helps us look at DISC styles from a biblical perspective.
Through the work of Ken Vogues, where he equated the 16 most common DISC behavioral blends with men and women in the Bible, we not only can understand many of the biblical characters better, but we can also see how Jesus, the greatest leader of all time, related with, responded to and led people differently based on their personality traits.
Through Ken’s work, we get an insightful look at Jesus and how He perfectly embodied all four profiles depending on the situation He found Himself in. By looking at DISC through the perspective of God’s Word, we can be confident of the fact that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that we are His “handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Biblical DISC is a wonderful tool for anyone wanting to understand themselves and others better and then use that knowledge to serve and love others using Jesus’ example!
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