At the heart of all we do at Teleos is self-awareness. Without self-awareness, it is difficult to self-manage, understand the emotions of others and skillfully manage relationships. Self-awareness is also important because it gives us choice – choice about how we “do” ourselves in different environments. Tasha Eurich, a leading researcher on self-awareness, outlines the seven pillars of self-awareness in her book, Insight, which is based on her extensive research. One of the key pillars that she asserts is essential to knowing oneself is what she dubs, “patterns” – that is habits of thinking, feeling and behaving that typify our internal processes and how we show up with others. Frameworks that identify our specific temperament or personality can help us to identify our particular patterns. And, one of my very favorite constructs for self-reflection on personal “patterns” is the DISC behavior styles framework which is increasingly being used in organizations today.
The DISC framework is essentially a way of understanding temperament or innate behavior style and disposition. It helps us understand, why, in the exact same situation, two people have two very different behavioral instincts. For example, in a conflict situation, why does one person gear up for battle and another retreat into hiding? DISC helps us to understand different inborn temperaments that impact our “go-to” behaviors. This four temperaments theory has roots in ancient Greece (sanguine, melancholy, choleric, phlegmatic) and was even used in Hippocrates’ medical theories. But, the theory we know and use today was developed by a Harvard Psychologist, William Marston, who was, interestingly, also the creator of the character Wonder Woman.
The DISC theory plots people along two axes, their tendency to orient more towards tasks or towards people and their inclination to be more outgoing or more reserved. From these two axes, the four temperaments or behavior styles emerge, providing a framework that is increasingly being used to promote self-awareness and interpersonal understanding in organizations. Though Myers-Briggs and the Big 5 personality trait model dominate the scholarly research, DISC is quickly taking precedence over these tools in the workplace which I attribute to the following reasons:
Now that I have made the case for DISC as the tool of choice for the modern workforce, stay tuned for my DISC blog series where I will typify each of the styles and provide tips for effectively relating to each one.
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