Press "Enter" to skip to content

Managing remotely using DiSC

Rosa Osman MCIPD explains how DiSC behaviour assessment, focusing on the four major personality traits of Dominance (D), Influence (i), Steadiness (S) and Conscientiousness (C), can help managers engage effectively with staff during the lockdown period

Right now, the majority of us are working from home and, as managers, we may have had to change our approach to managing teams. At a time when we are forced to use technology more than ever to connect with teams and co-workers, it is important to fully understand the motivators and stressors of team members to ensure that everyone remains engaged.

We know that people are different and that applying the same blanket management style to all members of a team will not be as effective as adapting one’s approach to suit the different personality types identified in the DiSC behaviour assessment tool.

So, what assumptions can we make about how each DiSC type might respond to these times and what does this mean for how they should be managed? Below are a few suggestions, with the caveat that the extent to which they apply will depend on each individual’s inclination to their principal DiSC type, as indicated by their dot positioning.

*D – Dominance. Results-oriented, assertive and strong-willed Ds will still expect things to move at pace and will become frustrated by any obstacles that stand in their way and stop them from achieving their goals.

During these unprecedented times, a D may fear loss of control, so be there to recognise the signs and provide reassurance and support when needed. Review their individual, team or project goals – a D will want to know what they need to do to achieve them. They want results! Any small wins will give them a sense of achievement.

*i – Influence. i types are likely to find working from home challenging. This energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic group of individuals will miss the social interaction of the office. They will miss being around people and having that human connection. Their natural ability to engage in conversation with absolutely anyone and to network with others will be suppressed as they no longer have the opportunity to do this face-to-face.

An i likes to be around people and they need that social interaction now more than ever. Keep to the meetings that you would have had in an office setting – one-to-one meetings, team meetings, project meetings. Regularly use chat facilities, even if it is just to say hi and to check in. Consider a daily ten-minute energiser with your team. This could be a quiz, a game or just chat about the latest series on Netflix! Even better, get the i to run the quiz and boost morale across the team.

*S – Steadiness. An S demonstrates conscientiousness through listening patiently and showing empathy when responding to others’ needs. With their calm approach, they are exceptionally good at considering others and will be very empathetic in these challenging times. They are the team players who will check in on others and make sure everyone and everything is OK.

During these uncertain times, with furloughing, job losses and other changes, an S could fear any loss of stability, so it is important to look out for them just as they do for others. It is important to stay connected with these individuals as they are unlikely to be forthcoming in their opinions and feelings. Ask them twice, if needed, and show them that you genuinely care.

*C – Conscientiousness. A C enjoys their own space. Being reserved in nature, these individuals appreciate privacy, so will be quite content when working remotely. If anything, a C is likely to prefer working from home to being in a busy office setting.

This group is going to transition to working alone more easily than others, so just continue to have the trust that you have with your team members. When running virtual meetings, be mindful that they may find it uncomfortable to use their webcam. If you hold an informal team catch-up, they might not be as forthcoming as others. Additionally, if your department is working at pace and expecting to turn things around quickly, be aware of how this will impact a C. These individuals are perfectionists, detail-orientated and systematic, so clearly outline the deadline and your expectations of the standard of work required. Cs are the most logical of the DiSC types, so use their skill set for any new projects or systems that need implementing during these times.

Rosa Osman MCIPD is Learning & Development Manager at security, logistics and aviation services provider Wilson James. Founded in 1991, Wilson James offers a range of security services to businesses, including the provision of security guards, front of house staff and consultancy and personal protection services. It also provides bespoke logistics to construction companies, encompassing everything from site set-up and the organisation of accommodation for ground staff to the management of secure materials movement around a site. Its aviation division provides services to some of the busiest airports in the UK, including transport operations, PRM, welcome services and secure logistics.