DISC is a behavioural analysis tool that provides a framework to build a profound understanding of human behaviour. As a leader, this enables you to grow your self-awareness and adjust your behavioural style to others, to enhance communication and productivity.
Self-awareness is critical, but to be able to improve our ability to lead, we need to be able to identify and adjust to the style of our employees. DISC helps us to understand how employees are similar and how they are different. Using DISC, we can formulate a roadmap to make the most suitable adjustments in situations.
The most successful leaders know when and how to adjust their leadership style. They are self-aware, and they can identify the styles of their employees. Leaders using the DISC framework make adjustments to their behaviour, so they can communicate, influence, and motivate their team members more effectively.
There are different DISC profile assessments leaders can use to improve their performance. The Standard Assessment identifies your natural style as well as how you prefer to communicate, make decisions, and what tends to motivate you.
The Lead & Manage report dials in on your leadership style and provides suggestions and tips for you to be more consciously aware of when you are leading others. If you make these adjustments, which will take effort and practice, you can improve your success as a leader.
What DISC style is better for leadership?
There is no best fit for an ideal leader, they can be any DISC style. Various leadership styles may be required in different situations. Successful leaders have a high level of self-awareness, they understand their preferred leadership style and how to adapt this to manage their team more effectively.
There is no blueprint for the best leader; successful leaders come in all styles. D-styles are drive results, they focus on speed and quick execution. I-styles are people-focused leaders, they are charismatic and promote ideas. S-styles get stuck in and get things done while maintaining a focus on company goals and values. C-style leaders centre on data and fact, they ensure tasks are completed accurately and to a high standard. Each DISC style brings its own set of strengths and development areas to leadership. Leaders who are the most successful share a keen sense of self-awareness, and they can adjust their DISC style.
Highly effective leaders, regardless of their DISC style, all have something in common. They are confidently self-aware; they know who they are. They are aware of their strengths and not overuse them. They are also keenly aware of their development areas and do not deny or ignore them. Also, successful leaders are aware that they need to modify their behaviour from one interaction and situation to the next. They are always mindful and present. They understand that to lead, motivate, and influence employees, they need to identify their employees’ styles and then modify their own leadership styles accordingly.
What DISC characteristics should leaders have?
No one style is better or worse than the other as a leader. Diverse leadership styles are more effective, become more productive and can be more beneficial than others in specific situations. What makes a leader successful is not their DISC characteristics, but how effectively they adjust their natural characteristics to the styles of their employees. Employees typically come from all DISC styles. Some styles are more comfortable, and some are more difficult for the leader in managing. The challenge for leaders is to recognise their leadership culture and the diverse range of styles in their team. To be successful, leaders need to have the ability to adapt their range of needs.
Leadership styles outside of DISC
Autocratic Leadership Style
Autocratic leaders take on more of an authoritarian role. Although widely criticised, autocratic leaders have a top-down approach to leadership, they control most decisions and expect employees to follow their lead.
Autocratic leaders ensure no one is confused about the direction of the company. Another benefit is that everyone understands what is expected of them.
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
Liberal leadership or laissez-faire leaders let team members make the majority of decisions. They delegate tasks and instructions and leave the team to figure out how best to achieve the result.
Laissez-faire leaders spend very little time involved in small decisions and do not interfere with their team members' work. These leaders attain control through non-direct leadership.
Democratic Leadership Style
Democratic Leadership theory centres around the idea that everyone, regardless of their place in the organisation, has the opportunity to contribute to idea generation and decision making.
Ideas and the decision-making process are free-flowing to empower group members. Democratic leaders guide employees and incorporate all ideas together to make the best possible decision.
Adaptive Leadership Style
The Lead & Manage Assessment focuses on aspects of Adaptive Leadership. Adaptive leaders adjust their leadership style to specific situations to reflect employee needs.
According to this model, there is no one best leadership style. Instead, a leader understands their style and will adapt this to best suit the needs of the employees and their current work environment.
Strategic Leadership Style
Strategic leaders influence employees and business decisions based on their vision for the organisation. Leaders use this vision to create unity and motivate their employees to also adopt this idea.
Change and decisions are made to reach the outcomes based on the strategic ideas set by the leader. Strategic Leadership is a popular approach that CEOs adopt in start-ups.
Coaching Leadership Style
A coaching leadership style provides encouragement of employees in the form of feedback and development tips.
Coaching leaders place emphasis on collaboration and partnership, allowing employees to work independently but providing guidance when required. Coaching leaders take a step back from micromanaging and assist others in succeeding.
Transformational Leadership Style
Transformational leaders inspire, influence and motivate employees to innovate and create positive change that will contribute to the growth and success of the company.
Transformational leaders allow employees to have autonomy over their decisions in their roles. They facilitate creativity and let employees find new solutions to existing problems.
Bureaucratic Leadership Style
Bureaucratic leadership styles are based on hierarchy, division of labour and a standard set of processes.
Bureaucratic leaders exert control through official regulations and administrative structures to ensure adherence to rules. A bureaucratic leadership system works best in organisations where standardised processes are essential, such as the public sector.