Extended DISC Team Roles
The DISC team roles are a description of how you are likely to perform in a team. These roles help you gain better insight into how you function in any group situation. There are ten DISC team roles, and your DISC profile results determine which team role you are. The purpose of the team roles is to provide insight into how you function in a group setting. Each team role has a specific way of doing things in a team, both beneficial and challenging. The team roles also have their own method of communication.
The 10 team roles are:
Your team role is determined by where your DISC style falls on the Extended DISC diamond.
How to use the Extended DISC Team Roles
The Extended DISC team roles assist leaders and consultants in making more informed decisions regarding the team. There are many ways to use the Extended DISC team roles. Such as identifying the team role the person is likely to adopt in a group. This is especially useful in a recruitment situation when recruiting someone into an existing team. Team roles are also helpful when creating a new team from the ground up.
Other common uses of the team roles are to:
- increase understanding among team members about each others' behaviour and create tolerance
- delegate areas of responsibility
- solve people problems that are currently happening in the team
Team roles are beneficial when:
- Team members need to work in close cooperation
- The team is expected to take more responsibility for its own tasks
- The team is managed from a distance
- There are communication problems
- The team is not working as effectively as it could
Getting teams to perform effectively is one of the critical skills any leaders, coaches, and consultants face frequently. For example, some groups are great at after-sales service, but they can't adapt to selling on the phone. Some teams never develop innovative ideas, they are happy with the status quo.
Complimentary and Convergent Team Roles
Some roles are easier and more comfortable to interact with, and some take more energy and effort. Remember that there are no good or bad team roles, only different ones. Team roles that are easier to interact with are likely to be similar to your own role. Whereas more challenging roles will be opposite to you. These are called convergent styles and complimentary styles. Analysing a team includes realising how many roles are present in the group or how they spread or not spread throughout the team. The spread of team roles can impact how a team functions.
Convergent styles have similar functions to each other and tend to be easier to work with. They communicate, filter information, and conduct activities and tasks similarly. Convergent styles also consider things like their attitude toward teamwork in a similar way.
Complimentary styles have opposite functions, they are more challenging to work with, and communication can be difficult. Complimentary styles filter information differently and can act and react differently to you in situations. Their development areas are usually your strengths and visa versa.
Defining the Team Roles
Let's look at an Assurer. An Assurer team role is:
- Thorough and concentrates on their work.
- They dread to make mistakes they want to work at their own pace.
- They're seen as quiet and private. In reality, they are a considerate person they find it extremely important to know what others expect from them and how they want them to proceed.
- They find it uncomfortable to jump into the unknown without the support of others.
- They want matters to proceed systematically.
- They do not find it essential to be actively involved with others. However, they find it vital that they can rely on others.
These insights, such as the example above, are available in a DISC Team Profile. The team report individually lists the team role of each individual and provides a paragraph about the role. The report also provides insight into the person's attitude toward teamwork. These insights into teams are significant if you are if you're hiring someone or if you are developing a team. You can find out about their attitude toward teamwork, their role in a team. How they make decisions or motivate others in a team. As well as their role as a performer and the benefit the group receives. When working with existing teams, these roles answer questions such as, 'do I need to hire other people in this area'.
The DISC Team Profile also gives insight into the convergent and complementary styles. When someone is similar to you, it's easier to get on with them. When someone is opposite to where you sit on the Extended DISC diamond, there are many more challenges. The report lists styles that are convergent and complementary to the individuals.
Let's look at a few other team roles quickly. An I style will likely be a 'Changer.' A changer describes someone who is a reformer, straight, decisive, impatient and tough. They know what they want and make quick decisions. Let's look at a Specialist. A specialist type person in a team environment often will seek perfection, they can be quite a pedantic, pertinent, and inquiring. They examine why things are the way they are, and they notice details. When recruiting or developing a team, or seeing how someone fits into a group, this type of information is essential to know what kind of role they might take. I can then assess if that is that what I need or if I have too many people in that area anyway. I can also determine if I need another one of these people because that's what the industry requires. The team role descriptions are all in the Extended DISC Team and Build report, and sometimes I feel like we don't often refer to them enough, but they are vital.
Identifying Similarities and Differences
When I'm looking at teams, one of the most important things is to make sure that I really know how to analyse the team. To really identify some of the differences and similarities with the team roles and take those into consideration.
Getting On With Others
People who sit near you in the quadrant are more similar to you, and they're easier to get on with. The next section is significant when recruiting a new team member or an existing team or even if you're designing a new team from scratch. It delves into how you're going to develop the team and the fundamental reasons why some communication issues might be happening. Let's say you're plotted on the map as a Participator so naturally people on either side of the role tend to be easier to work with. They communicate and filter information in a similar way to you, they also similarly approach activities. They also associate things like teamwork feelings similarly, and as you know, some roles are team players, and others are far more autonomous. You need to understand what team roles are similar because there lies a few equations or power couplings or issues that can go on.
Complementary styles, these are your opposites team roles and opposite to you on the Extended DISC Diamond. They can be more challenging to communicate with, filter, act, and react possibly quite differently in situations, especially under pressure when we mainly tend to revert to our hardwired or this controlled natural style. Their development areas are usually your strengths and vice versa. If you work through the opposites and gain some acceptance of the differences, this can be a powerhouse coupling. One of the industries that are very strong on this is Real Estate. Notice how quite a few people join forces to help with workloads and the different behavioural types of people or team roles they do take.
Team Roles: Benefits and Frustrations
Here are some of the benefits that the roles can bring to the team. These are also important to consider when recruiting, designing, or developing teams.
Benefits of a DC Personality Type in a Team
- Discuss issues logically
- Weigh out the pros and cons
- Find errors and inconsistencies
- Analyse ideas
Benefits of a D Personality Type in a Team
- Creates new systems
- Makes decisions
- Controls activities
Benefits of a DI Personality Type in a Team
- Sees the future
- Looks at the big picture
- Looks into new areas and creates new opportunities
Benefits of an I Personality Type in a Team
- Provides emotional support
- Maintains personal contacts
Benefits of an SI Personality Type in a Team
- Understands others
- Considers human factors
- Supports others in decision-making
Benefits of an S Personality Type in a Team
- Checks new ideas
- Provides context to issues
Benefits of a CS Personality Type in a Team
- Master of facts
- Understands systems
- Takes care of details
Benefits of a C Personality Type in a Team
- Handles issues thoroughly
- Analyses problems
Frustrations of a DC Personality Type in a Team
People will say to a DC personality type, 'don't be so harsh!' However, they feel they need to shake things up to get moving.
Frustrations of a D Personality Type in a Team
D's can often pressure others. However, they feel as though the team should be starting right now.
Frustrations of a DI Personality Type in a Team
DI's come up with a lot of ideas, which can frustrate others. They feel ideas keep business moving and secures the future.
Frustrations of an I Personality Type in a Team
I personality types are very talkative in teams. They like getting to know people.
Frustrations of an SI Personality Type in a Team
The constant worry of the SI personality type can frustrate others. However, they feel others needs are significant.
Frustrations of an S Personality Type in a Team
S personality types can come across as though they are always resisting. They like to hold onto fundamental values to keep the team on course.
Frustrations of a CS Personality Type in a Team
CS's strive for perfection. They feel their exactness ensures the success of the team.
Frustrations of a C Personality Type in a Team
C personality types can be overly theoretical. However, they need to understand the issues thoroughly.
When consulting in business, I often hear about the frustrations a lot. When I come in to develop and look at a team, there's usually lots of conflict and frustrations. They are not working together as a team. These benefits and frustrations are beneficial to create a shared understanding of one another.
Extended DISC Team Types
The understanding of the team roles flows into team types. These types give us a great strategy to apply when developing teams.
The three team types are:
When identifying the team types, we look at the clusters of little circles on the shotgun map. They might be clustered together tightly in one area or sprinkled all over the Extended DISC diamond. They could be clustered on opposite sides of the diamond too. This information will help you work out how to train or consult with a particular team.
Homogeneous Team Types
In homogenous teams, individuals tend to have similar traits and attributes. The advantage of this type of group is there there's a lot of cohesion. Productivity and goal accomplishment is high. If you put many similar people together in one area, you may find that things can escalate in a particular experience or specialist area. For example, when you put top children together, their level of thinking rubs off on each other, and it can escalate further into more strengths. The disadvantage is that excessive cohesion can tune into groupthink, which means they can think the same. They want to stay within the same comfort zones or their flexibility zones as each other. They might have the same strategy. They could all be very aware of change and maybe not so willing to implement it quickly. The strength of this team communication and the challenge is the flexibility of work.
Heterogeneous Team Types
Heterogeneous teams tend to be the most common team type. The team members have a diverse orientation, and the dots are plotted relatively evenly across the shotgun map. Agreements might be difficult because agreements they are thinking differently, they need different things, and their communication might be outlaid differently. Different attitudes to activities can also result in conflict. For example, the high D's personality types or the Changer team roles want to implement fast change, and the supporters and assurers wish to slow down. So, an agreement can be complicated on how to do things. Though it may take longer to get to decisions or deals, it leads to far more innovative solutions. In situations where creativity is essential, things like planning or research, this type of team may have an advantage over won't over the others. The strength of this particular team type is a division of labour. The challenge is communication.
Diverted Team Types
Diverted teams consist of opposites. Opposite traits and attributes. Agreements can be conflicting as they're made by being pushed through based on sub-team versus top sub-team. In this situation, it might be that one team is stronger verbally or more extroverted and push through what they need onto another group that may not be as verbal or assertive. Delegation is strong in diverted teams, so members strengths can be utilised. If sub-teams form there is the risk of losing cohesion, and this is where the assurer team types may go out to lunch for example, and they may not necessarily associate with the other team the influences. Delegation is the most significant strengths of this team type as they have opposite strengths to each other. They can utilise their strengths well if there's some tolerance for them. The greatest challenge is for them not to form sub-teams and stick to their silos.
Team Gaps Analysis
Let's apply some of the typical questions around team types and roles that we discussed earlier. You can use the Extended DISC shotgun map as a team gaps analysis template. Before we start, I need to say that a lot of the analysis depends on your knowledge of the industry, the team's purpose, team issues, and the team's goals.
For example, the Extended DISC shotgun map opposite is it a department or an entire organisation? Is it an engineering firm or a training company? You'll need to know these details because it will impact how you analyse it and the solutions you implement. For example, if that was your team, I would ask which industry they are in, the group's purpose, the team goals, and who is plotted on the shotgun map. Are there any leaders, or is it staff members only? Do they work in the same location? Are they geographically in touch with each other? These questions need to be addressed so you can understand what you're looking at.
Questions to ask yourself when analysing gaps in the team are:
- How does the team's makeup relate to their overall objectives? This could be the leadership team of an engineering company representing different divisions. This is a diverted team, so I would definitely have some issues as the group represents everything from sales to manufacturing to procurement. I need to ask myself if I am missing some gaps overall.
Team Strengths and Team Types
- Is there are an area where the team has several individuals?
- What does it mean for our team that there are more people in this area, especially concerning our team's goals?
- Is it possible that the group may over-emphasise the strengths of this particular behavioural style?
Team Weaknesses and Team Gaps
- Is there an area on the diamond with no (or very few) individuals in the team?
- How will the team compensate for this, especially as it relates to the team's objectives? You may not be able to always hire new employees to fill these gaps. You may need to look at the existing team's flexibility zones and decide whether they can flex into these gaps.
- Is the team divided into sub-groups?
- Is there any conflict between the different groups?
- Are there different types of activities required by the team? Let's say this was a customer service team, that all have the same role. The role may need a particular behavioural type, and there could be challenges if hiring other behavioural types to fill this role.
- Is there a possibility for a better delegation of the team's responsibilities?
- Are there individuals alone in some regions of the shotgun map? You may have a homogeneous team where one person sits outside this cluster on the shotgun map. How can you support these people? Will a new recruit fill gaps, or do you even need to fill the gap?
- Is the team taking advantage of their unique strengths?
A team gaps analysis is fundamental when assessing a team. You can really only do that when you have a thorough understanding of the team types, roles, and the organisational background. When it comes to analysing the team, you need to understand how these factors help at a deeper level. I could just go straight into the DISC team report and read it, but I don't think you get as much out of it if you don't understand how it can be used.
Extended DISC Team and Build Assessment
The Extended DISC Team and Build assessment contains four different variations of the Extended DISC Diamond. I'd recommend you use most if not all of them in a team-building scenario.
Extended DISC Shotgun Map
The first one is the shotgun map. I tend to use this when I want an unbiased look at analysing the team. Especially if I've got to know people in the team. I can see where the dots are and investigate the team type. More importantly, this is also about DISC profile types. The little columns that appear below it show you the team mix of styles. This particular team is 33% D style, 17% I style, 17% S style, and 33% C style. The table provides you with the percentage mix of DISC Styles in the team, and how many people are in each group. This information is beneficial to know in larger teams.
Extended DISC Name Map
Once we have seen the team's overview, we may need to look deeper at each quadrant's particular people. We need to look at names, analyse who is where, and utilise their strengths more. This map also gives rise to why tasks or subjects might be avoided.
Extended DISC Arrow Map
The arrow map shows how the individuals are adapting in the team. You can really start to see things like impacts on the team. For those who have completed the Level Two training or listened to previous webinars, you will know what the arrows can tell us based on the directions they are facing. For example, I'll often see a very customer-focused culture showing many of their people adapting down and the diamond's people-oriented side. It's also very telling when companies say they are very customer-centric or customer-focused and everyone's going in the opposite direction. These arrows can tell us if they actually have a customer-centric culture or if there could be other factors influencing them away from the people side of things. This is really great information for you to take away and think right, what is this all about?
Team Flexibility Diamond
The team flexibility diamond consolidates all the team members into one diamond to show its overall flexibility zones. This diamond provides you with the areas of the team that are natural flexibility areas or strengths. The white areas are the zones that may not be covered as much by the team's behavioural styles and are potential development areas. I frequently use this map to place the team's responsibilities around the diamond to visualise, where there are white and grey areas. The responsibilities that land in the grey zones are covered by the natural flexibility of the team. Any responsibilities in the white areas may require the recruitment of another person or alert me to anyone who has responsibilities outside their natural comfort areas.
Team Behavioural Type Tables
Both the table and the profiles are currently displayed in the Team and Build assessment. If you have a big team, it's probably better to remove the profiles, so you do not have a lengthy report. Be aware that it's not easy to analyse the DISC shapes and special cases if you take the profiles out. As a consultant, special cases provide us with a lot of information about what a team is going through. For example, if there is a lot of uncertainty of role in an existing team, this may need to be addressed. I tend to keep the profiles in as long as it is not a huge team, as I will be left with a 40-50 pages long report. The other thing you can do is to refer to their individual reports.
The Team and Build assessment contains everything you need to analyse a team. The report analyses everyone's team role and provides a paragraph explanation. Team roles are useful for looking at job responsibilities. This is useful from a strategic level if I realign the team or look to motivate team members. There are so many different ways you can use this, and it really does depend on what you're trying to do with the team.
The Team and Build assessment divides the competencies into particular groups and compares each person's style to the specific competency. Remember this is not a can or can not do situation. It is natural vs not natural scale, or whether the competencies require more or less energy from the individual. There is also a match percentage breakdown at the end of each competency group. This breakdown is handy for you to get a quick indication of the match to each competency group.
The Team and Build assessment is full of great tools and components that help give you an overall picture of the team. Some of the elements you need to read a bit further into and have prior knowledge to analyse it and some of it, of course, you can just literally read, such as the team roles.
Nobody's perfect, but a team can strive to be perfect for their organisation. Many companies plan recruitment efforts based on skills, but they might do better if they also understood team makeup more before they recruit. Individuals responsible for recruitment frequently recruit people like themselves. However, is that person what the team really needs and is it in line with the purpose of the group.
Knowing existing team dynamics and the team roles are the start of understanding options on how to fill gaps or overlaps, or if you even need to fill those gaps. Understanding these factors also helps us to deal with lone wolves. The team types also have advantages and disadvantages. Learn these as they will help you assess any team, starting from ground zero right through to bringing someone into an existing group, and even when trying to develop a high-performing team.
Similar team members can amplify strengths as well as weaknesses. Remember that teams that have diverse team roles may help to create innovation and creativity. A recent poll implied that when teams work together well and are fully functional, there is less time spent on HR and interpersonal issues. There is also a genuine contribution to the dollars in the bottom line. Understanding team roles, understanding team types, using the team and build analysis, and the four different diamonds. Investigating and researching your team's purpose and goals, and knowing what each team role brings to the table is vital.