Speaking to Personality

By Phil Tasci

It’s a common problem. We find ourselves frustrated in our relationships or our careers because we feel unheard, unappreciated and undervalued. That might be the very reason you’ve decided to read this article. You want relationships with fluid and effective communication. You want to feel a connection to a shared purpose and a sense of mutuality.

There is a proven method to help you communicate with the people in your life so that you’ll feel heard, understood, appreciated and taken seriously.

We have all felt it, you speak only to be met with blank stares, distracted eyes, misunderstanding and, worse, disinterest. It makes us feel under-valued and under-appreciated. What’s missing is a fundamental understanding of personalities and how we see each other. Without knowing how to manage personality differences, misunderstandings, confusion or even conflict can arise.

If you understand how different personalities function in your relationships, you will better understand yourself and where others are coming from. You’ll be able to relate in a kinder, more compassionate and more effective ways – in ways that build trust.

I discovered DISC personality profiles when I was assessed a few years ago. It helped me see how we are all sending and receiving communication based on our personality type. DISC is a powerful tool. The key is to understand that no personality profile is a silver-bullet fix to relationship communication woes; it’s just a tool. But it’s a very versatile and valuable tool, a baseline for understanding our differences.

The simplicity of the model is its greatest appeal for me. It categorizes people into one of four personality style quadrants: dominance (D), influence (I), steadiness(S) and conscientiousness (C). They are equal but different and under stress, every personality has its own strengths and liabilities.

Let’s have a look…

  • The “D” style personalities are fast-paced, results-driven and high achieving. They tend to be quite direct, strong-willed and forceful.
  • The “I” styles are outgoing, interactive, engaging, optimistic and enthusiastic. They love being social and collaboration is their middle name.
  • The “S” styles are laid-back and even-tempered. They’re supportive, steady and stable team players and consequentially resistant to change.
  • Last but not least are the “C” style personalities. They have a need for accuracy and doing things right the first time. They are careful, calculating and driven by excellence and accuracy.

Generally speaking, “D” and “I” personalities prefer a fast-paced, changing, constantly moving environment, while “S” and “C” personalities prefer a more cautious and familiar pace. “D” and “C” styles tend to prioritize tasks over people, while “I” and “S” styles tend to prioritize people over tasks. These very differences are often central to conflict in relationships.

Remember, any strength overextended becomes a liability to our personality.

For example:

  • A healthy “D” goes from being direct and visionary to being pushy and insensitive.
  • A healthy “I” moves from being interactive to being disorganized and impulsive.
  • A healthy “S” will be stabilizing, but under stress, they’ll become enabling and rescuing.
  • A healthy “C” goes from being conscientious, detail-oriented and organized to overly critical, rigid and inflexible.

Are bells ringing in your head? Are you relating to any particular style? Maybe you recognize your spouse, kids, friends or colleagues in a particular style. Knowing and understanding the DISC personality styles gives you invaluable insight into how others think and feel, and how to communicate to build trust and connection. After all, we see the world not as it is, but as we are. Let’s pursue deeper connection and better communication.

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