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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Ask the Expert: Lowering your S

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

A reader from the healthcare arena recently used our Ask the Expert form to ask:

** What does it mean if you have a Naturally high S, but your Adapted S is significantly lower? **

Art’s answer:

If you are seeing a DISC report with a Natural S that is high and an Adapted S that is much lower then you are actually seeing one of the most common behavioral adjustments in corporate America today. In the DISC spectrum the S reflects our preferences for different paces. When the S factor drops to a strong degree, it typically means the pace you’re encountering is greatly increased, that the variety of the work you are doing has increased (juggling lots of assignments at one time), or possibly your priorities are changing rapidly.

A person with a high Natural S likes to know what to expect – they are more comfortable knowing what’s going to happen well in advance. But if you are responding to the environment with a low Adapted S then it sounds like you might not be able to predict what you’ll be working on from one moment to the next, or have so many things on your plate, you may not be getting the closure you like. I often recommend those making this adjustment either get a bigger staff or do their best to prioritize their projects and takes some things off their plate. This isn’t always easy, particularly in today’s job climate where so many people are being asked to shoulder larger burdens and compensate for the missing productivity of people who have been let go, but not replaced, due to economic constraints. However, forcing someone to sustain an Adapted style that is drastically different from their Natural style can cause severe stress and loss of morale, especially if the person in question is pushed into this state frequently and for long periods of time. Frustration and resentment can increase in these situations.

It is also important to remember that the issue isn’t as much the direction of change, as it is the magnitude of change and the amount of time spent in the Adapted state. We often see executives with lower Natural S scores, who become frustrated and restless if they find themselves in a situation that causes them to have a higher Adapted S. Often an executive in this situation will make a move and quit the position as soon as they are able to because boredom is generally the least tolerable adapted state.

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

Ask the Expert: Me-Me Conflicts?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Art Schoeck was recently asked the following question via our Ask the Expert form:

** What do you mean by the Me-Me Conflict? Could you flesh that out a little? **

Art’s answer:

There are certain DISC behavioral styles that pose a “Me-Me” conflict, meaning there exists internal incompatibilities between behaviors. The Me-Me conflicts occur when an individual displays behaviors that are at odds with each other, that interfere with intended outcomes or reframe the behavioral dynamics due to the combination of conflicting behaviors.

To illustrate this idea let’s examine some scenarios:

An individual who wants to like people (DISC profile = high I) and looks at others with warmth and emotion, yet has high standards with which she judges things, data, and… people (DISC style = core C). So she wants to be liked and wants to like others, but she holds others to high standards, which may relegate her associates to those with high standards for instance she may date only those who pass her strict checklist of criteria. Here we see the Me-Me conflict in the competition of the core C behavior with the drive of the high I behavior. However, as in the dating example mentioned, the result might not be one behavior preventing the other, but both behaviors combining, hence the C-driven checklist criteria applied to the I-driven dating.

An individual may have a sense or urgency to get immediate results (DISC style = core D) while at the same time desire perfection (DISC profile = high C), which takes time to achieve. They constantly have internal conflict of rushing to complete, which can increase the likelihood of infractions or errors, vs slowing the pace down adequately to perform in an error-free compliant manner. The high D wants results and action now, which is in conflict with the high C behavior of making sure things are done in adherence to the standard of perfection.

One more example, although there are many more Me-Me conflict variations, can be seen with people who look at things, data, and products in an emotional way, yet look at people logically and analytically. The may buy things based on their emotions, yet look at others with skepticism and a “prove it to me” attitude. Changing situational dynamics can reframe the conflict.

Sometimes people are confused by the mention of Me-Me conflicts in part due to the explanation that accompanies the DISC Success Insights Wheel in some reports. The wheel will sometimes have the word “Cross” on it along with arrows pointing to spots on the wheel (see this post for a deeper look at the Success Insights Wheel) this can indicate the potential presence of a Me-Me conflict, because we are seeing three of the four DISC factors above the line with the individual’s core (or most prominent) DISC factor and the factor that is directly across from it on the wheel constituting two of those three factors that are above the line. The confusion can come from the use of the word “opposite” which in the Success Insights Wheel’s explanation is meant to refer to the style which is on the opposite side of the wheel, however this is not actually an opposite of the DISC style: D and S are across from each other on the wheel, as are I and C, but these are not opposite behaviors. The opposite behavior of a high D is not a high S, it is a low D. Likewise the opposite of a high I is a low I, etc. There can be some similarities between a low D and a high S but the behavioral basis is different.

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

DISC Profiles and Stress: The Energy Crisis

Friday, October 15th, 2010

It was a little over a year ago that we discussed five ways leaders who understood DISC profiles could reduce stress amongst their employees. For many companies the climate is even more stress-inducing today: cutbacks have forced companies to ask for even higher levels of productivity from the employees that remain, workers are being asked to take on responsibilities of those who are no longer there – constantly adapting from their natural DISC behavioral style.

Occasionally stepping away from one’s natural DISC behavioral style is usually not a big deal, in fact it is commonplace to see some variance between a person’s natural and adapted DISC profiles. Taking on a new behavior once in a while might actually be a deliberate strategy or a welcome change of pace, but long-term sustained adaptions that push an individual away from their natural DISC style can be trouble.

Maintaining an exaggerated state of adapted behavior takes energy – the person is essentially stepping on the mental gas to keep themselves in a behavioral pattern that doesn’t come naturally. This constant depletion of energy can express itself in numerous ways: irritability, poor morale, aggressiveness, “shutting down”, even physical manifestations – headaches, susceptibility to illness, etc. Unfortunately even with these changes of mood and morale it can still be difficult for an untrained observer to pinpoint causes in manner that provides information for mitigating the stressed behaviors. In the case of high S’s this can be further exacerbated by their reluctance to make waves. The stresses can build and build if the high S provides them no outlet – the situation becomes a powder keg of pent up frustration waiting to explode.

DISC profiles are a great way to see beyond the surface and recognize when there are large gaps between adapted and natural DISC styles. The greater the gap the more energy the individual is expending to reach the adapted behavior. If all four DISC behavior categories are adapting above the line then the person may be feeling forced to be “all things to everybody” – a constant state of crisis. Understanding the DISC profiles gives you a tool to diagnose the situation and take steps tailored to the individual’s causes of stress as indicated by their behavioral profile.

For a quick understanding of what stresses out people with certain DISC profiles check out our previous observations in The World According to DISC: Stress Someone Out in Style and The World According to DISC: The Low Side of Stress Styles.

Ask the Expert: Match My Profile To A Job?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Art Schoeck was recently asked the following question via our Ask the Expert form:

** Is there a resource or tool that highlights jobs that match my disc profile? How can I learn at which jobs I would excel? **

Art’s answer:

The Career Planning Insights instrument is a wonderful user-friendly tool for identifying those jobs most compatible with one’s behavioral preferences (DISC). It consists of three online questionnaires – the first questionnaire is about you, the second is about your current (or most recent) job, and the third focuses on the job you’d like to have. The purpose is to match the behaviors you naturally exhibit with a job that utilizes those behaviors to optimize top performance.

A sample report can be viewed at: http://www.datadome.com/pdf/profiles/careerplanning.pdf

Also useful for career direction is the Workplace Motivators profile, describing your current motivational preferences (this is not a DISC tool). The purpose is to address your current real needs (passions and priorities) with the rewards (compensaion/benefits, work environment, ‘other’ benefits) offered by a job. For example, a person with a high score for “Utilitarian” (the need for money for its own sake, high priority of return on investment) should not consider most teaching positions as the low salaries all too common in that profession would make it unlikely for the Utilitarian needs to be met. On the other hand, someone with a high score in the area of “Social / Altruistic” might find that teaching satisfies the need to influence others.

View a sample report available at: http://www.datadome.com/pdf/profiles/WorkplaceMotivators.pdf

For more information and links to purchase these reports visit: http://www.datadome.com/productscart_careerinsights.php

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

Ask the Expert: Adapting, Yes, Stressing, Not Necessarily

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Art Schoeck was recently asked the following question via our Ask the Expert form:

** I have a client with significant differences between his natural and adapted styles. I asked him to discuss the stress this was causing him and he was surprised. He said he didn’t feel particularly stressed. He said that he accepts as a given that there are behaviors for work and behaviors for home and that he puts on the façade just as easily as he might put on different style clothing for different situations. Given the large gap between his natural and adapted behaviors, what is your opinion? Is he in denial? **

Art’s answer:

Sounds like he’s being strategic. If he picks up the right signals and is adjusting behavior only when he has to, it might not be for a sustained portion of the day, only bits and pieces. For an example, consider that many successful salespeople encounter clients and prospects with differing styles. They learn to fluidly adapt all day long to an array of different styles knowing that this is beneficial to improved communication, and therefore beneficial to reaching their sales goals. If they know how and when, they are only adapting for small periods. Since this adaptive behavior is intentional and not forced to be maintained for excessively lengthy periods it is not nearly as stressful as one might surmise from an initial comparison of the Natural and Adapted DISC graphs. The best assessment tools have evolved to be highly effective diagnostic aids however they cannot replace the important role a Certified Professional Behavioral Strategist plays in interpreting the results by first discussing and investigating the nuances of an individual’s situation.

What’s your question?

Data Dome’s resident expert is our founder, Art Schoeck. A member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools.

Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we use the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

Ask the Expert: North of the Border, Adapting above the Line

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Art Schoeck was recently asked the following question via our Ask the Expert form:

** I recently completed a DISC assessment that I found to be very insightful; however, on the Success Insights Wheel my Adapted Behavior was “non-placeable.” My Adapted Behavior was just above the line in all categories. Other than telling me that it is “rare,” my assessment administrator didn’t have any further insight. Can you help me understand this? I would love to know why my Adapted Behavior is “non-placeable.” **

Art’s answer:

When all points are above the line, it usually indicates that an individual, at the time of completing the assessment questionnaire, feels a need or desire to act as “everything to everybody”. That is, the individual’s behavior is adapting to an elevated level across all DISC categories. In essence, they are trying to be all of the descriptors around the wheel at the same time. This indicates a lot of pressure and may stem from a temporary situation or role being played. That is why it is “Non-placable”.

This result with adapted marks being all “north of the border” is not as rare as it once was. Many organizations are trying to make do with less people: With fewer employees doing the work of what used to be many more, they are required to cover more ground, and so we are seeing more shift into this adapted behavior of actually trying to be everything to everybody. This is also appearing amongst candidates during the job application process – as the job hunt and economic stresses linger on, some candidates begin to feel desperate and express that via a willingness to adapt behavior in this all things to all people manner. When encountered it is often necessary to apply further diagnostics to better understand the situation and the impact on behavioral style.

In a workplace scenario, if an individual’s Success Insights Wheel showed adaptive behavior that was above the line on all categories, a worthwhile next step would be to review the behavioral job description to determine if the subject and the supervisor agree on the role the individual should be playing and the commensurate behavioral expectations. This would involve a customized and personal interaction facilitated by a Certified Professional Behavioral Strategist.

What’s your question?

Data Dome founder and member of TTI’s prestigious International Faculty, Art Schoeck, often receives questions through our Ask the Expert form. We try to answer questions here on this blog that are representative of common questions regarding DISC and other assessment tools. Do you have a question about DISC? If so please submit it via the Ask the Expert form. Although it may not be possible to answer every question individually, we will be using the “Ask the Expert” category of this blog to answer the DISC-related questions most important to our readers.

The World According to DISC: Taxing Behaviors

Friday, April 9th, 2010

It’s that time of year – we’re just a few days away from April 15th, let’s have a little fun and take a look at how our classic DISC behavioral profiles are handling tax season:

The High D – Just called the accountant, doesn’t understand why she can’t drop everything to work on his filing RIGHT NOW. Gave his receipts to an assistant with orders to organize them and deliver them to the accountant.

The High I – Is chatting with all the friends made at their CPA’s office. It’s the third trip there because of forgetting to bring receipts and 1099 forms.

The High S – Finished filing last month like they always do. Was very upset two years ago when their trusted tax accountant retired and they had to start with someone new. Will take a vacation this year with their return just like they have for the last ten years in a row.

The High C – Hasn’t missed a deduction in 20 years. Always files the long form. Thinks popular tax software cuts too many corners. Receipts are neatly filed and cross-indexed by alphabet, date, and project code.

We hope you enjoyed this lighthearted look at how various behaviors measured by DISC might be expressed during tax season. Hopefully you’re all set for Thursday, and as they say… Many happy returns!

The World According to DISC: The Low Side of Stress Styles

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Sometimes around the office we find that people are “reaching their limit” or “at the breaking point”, but we don’t know why or how things got so out of control. Understanding the impact of various situations and how they relate to differing behavioral styles can help you to better understand your coworkers and perhaps recognize and avoid repeating patterns that in the past were inadvertently causing stress levels to rise.

Previously, as part of our “World According to DISC” series we discussed ways in which one can “stress out” a classic High D, High I, High S and High C (The World According to DISC™: How We Stress Someone Out in Style). But what if someone’s most telling category is one in which they score significantly low instead of high?

How to stress out a Low D:
Tell them that they have to “step up and take the reins”. Put them in charge of a team. Let them know that everyone is counting on them to the lead the way.

How to stress out a Low I:
Ask them to cheer up a co-worker or plan an office party. Give them a big enthusiastic pep talk. Give them projects that involve lots of team interaction. Ask them to drum up enthusiasm for a new initiative among the staff.

How to stress out a Low S:
Force them to work a highly repetitive task. Ask them to work a rigid checklist of activity. Make them wait for extended periods. Demand multiple layers of process and approval for very action.

How to stress out a Low C:
Put them on a quality initiative. Tell them that every fact must be rigorously checked and documented. Ask them to provide detailed annotations. Request that they adhere strictly to the facts and avoid injecting opinion.

Behave Responsibly
We certainly don’t advocate setting out to “stress out” your coworkers, but what we hope is that you will find these examples helpful in recognizing that sometimes, without meaning to, we can say or suggest the wrong thing in the wrong way and end up adding significantly to our coworker’s stress levels.

DISC profiles are powerful allies in learning how to adjust your communication and management style to meet the needs of your employees. Without taking the time to learn the styles and how best to communicate to each, it is too easy to find yourself bringing anxiety and stress when you thought you were bringing solutions.

Five Ways to Lead the Way to Less Stress

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Real leadership inspires voluntary commitment, not just grudging compliance. Here are a few tips for dealing with stress behaviors.

  1. Identify and be aware of your own stress behaviors. Don’t contribute to the problem.
  2. Acknowledge the stress behavior. We all have rough days – give the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Avoid “pushing the behavioral style buttons” of a person exhibiting stress behavior (see above).
  4. Adapt your own behavioral style to that of others, with behaviors that meet the needs of those you lead. Don’t lead like you would want to be led. Lead like they want to be led.
  5. Identify elements in the work environment that can be adjusted to minimize style-based stress sources.
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