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How the use of DISC Assessments Avoided the Loss of Valuable Staff Members

This is not the first case study that demonstrates the important contribution behavioural style analysis can make to effective management.

Jim was a conscientious employee who had been with the company for over ten years. During this time he had been promoted to head of his department and was responsible for the management of a team of eight people. He reported to the company’s general manager.

In July 2013, a new general manager was appointed to the organisation as the original GM that Jim had worked with during the ten plus years he had been with the company, retired. Soon after the new appointment, Jim realised that the new GM had a different management style which to him appeared to be abrasive and he found it difficult to communicate effectively with him.

Fortunately, Jim had a very good relationship with one of the company directors, who had in fact been instrumental in employing him originally. Jim’s father was a close friend of the director concerned. So at a social occasion he simply mentioned to the director that he was having communication difficulties with the new GM, and didn’t want to make an issue of the situation. He did however mention that he and a couple of other managers were thinking about resigning.

For stable long-term employees to consider resignation was a major concern to the director, so he contacted one of our affiliate consultants and instructed him to identify the reasons for the unhappy state of affairs.

The first thing the consultant did was to conduct an Open 360 process involving the GM and departmental managers, - six in total. The outcome surprised the consultant as the feedback sent mixed messages.

For this reason, he then obtained behavioural style reports on the GM and the department managers, and this provided the answer he was looking for. The Profiles of the GM are shown below and typically, the three departmental managers who had no communication difficulties with the GM had behavioural styles that were similar and therefore compatible. Their styles were DI and DS.

The three managers who were experiencing problems had styles similar to Jim, whose Profiles are shown below.

Clearly Jim’s perceived need to adjust his style (Profile I) was significantly different from his natural unconscious behavioural style. He felt a clear need to be much more cautious (and in fact to a degree, helpless) in his work role and even his team felt that he had become introverted.

The other two departmental managers that were having communication difficulties with the new GM didn’t show quite the dramatic change between Profile I and Profile II, in their reports. Their Profile II styles were SI and IC, and although there was a movement from SI to SC and from IC to SC in their reports, the trend was similar. All three managers were clearly feeling the need to become more careful, compliant, and even a little withdrawn.

The interesting outcome of all this was that the GM realised he had to adjust his style when working with the three concerned managers. He studied their reports and focused on their “motivators”, better understanding their clear natural strengths and of course their demotivators and development areas.

The “climate” in the company improved quite dramatically and the consultant who provided the background for this article has a very happy customer!