3 Ways to Use DISC in Designing a High-Performance Team

3 Ways to Use DISC in Designing a High-Performance Team

When you consider the criteria for a new hire, how much weight do you give to how they are going to behave? While you likely use behavioral interviewing questions, they are subjective – both for the person answering the question and the person asking the question. Because we all have biases, it is important to add objectivity into the selection process.  

Assessing behavioral tendencies doesn’t mean you’re looking for a team of identical robots. That said, if someone’s natural behaviors are aligned with what’s needed for the job, they are more likely to be successful.

Here are three ways you can use the DISC assessment to design a high-performance team.

Understand yourself.

If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know what steps to take or which direction to head in to reach your destination. As a leader and participant in a team, self-awareness is key to designing a team that works well together under your leadership style. As Forbes Council Member, Alex Llorens describes, “Leaders with self-knowledge are better equipped to draw from their personal purpose and strengths—while also accepting their setbacks and blindspots—in order to bring more heart, authenticity and even fun to the business.”

DISC gives you tools for understanding your own behavioral tendencies, as well as your team members’. This knowledge allows you to flex and bend to meet others where they are. You don’t need to break with who you are; you simply need to adapt to ensure that your interactions with others create a connection instead of a barrier. This connection is what establishes a successful, People First team.

Understand your team.

Social awareness is having your antenna up to observe communication cues that may reveal other people’s emotional experiences – the motivations behind their behavior. Because you can never know for certain what is informing someone’s behavior, tools like DISC can give you a common language and a starting place for understanding. 

Behavioral tendencies evaluated in the DISC profile explain how someone:

  • Responds to problems and challenges
  • Influences others to their point of view
  • Responds to the pace of the environment
  • Responds to rules and procedures set by others

By understanding the behavior of your current team, you can better assess what gaps need to be filled by a new candidate, and what type of candidate will mesh well. Instead of listing a generic job description and the minimum job requirements, focus on the organization’s values and culture. You want to attract people whose behaviors reflect your company’s values and support the culture you’ve worked so hard to design.

Diversify your hires.

Some behavioral styles are better suited for certain roles than others.  A decisive and venturesome person will be more successful as a leader than as a back office person focused on process work. Likewise, a solitary, fact-loving person will probably enjoy bookkeeping more than an outgoing, people-oriented person would.  Job matching provides clarity on what styles will match each role.  

Individual roles will likely have a common primary style.  In a leadership team, diversity of behavioral styles adds value.  Leaders with a high sense of urgency are balanced by people wanting to make sure there is enough information to make a decision.  Leaders focused on the task are balanced by those focused on the people aspect of the decision.  

Selection should be an objective process. TTI Success Insights says, “Job matching is the science of carefully defining superior performance for each position and then using objective criteria to determine who is selected.” To that end, your hiring model needs to look at four critical areas where the candidate and the job need to match:

  1. Technical skills and knowledge
  2. How they behave
  3. Why they do what they do
  4. Soft skills

Let’s be clear: no candidate will exactly match all four components, but job matching allows you to examine the candidate from the context of the “ideal,” identify the gaps, and make a  thoughtful decision. If someone lacks a technical skill, you evaluate if it’s a must-have or something the person can be trained on later. 

Skills and systems can be taught, but behavior is much more set in stone. By using the DISC assessment tool to understand yourself, understand those around you, and diversify your hires, you can more efficiently and effectively design a high-performance team.




“Job Matching: The Key to Superior Performance,” TTI Success Insights, blog, March 11, 2011, blog.ttisi.com/job-matching-key-superior-performance 

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.