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Great leadership is about learning to connect with your team! Mastery Series: Sharon Lawton


Have you ever wondered how you can become a better leader within your team? Are you looking for new tools to motivate more effectively and decrease conflict in the workplace? TCA Trainer Sharon Lawton argues that the answer lies in better communication, using the powerful behavioural model of DISC.


When I worked in a large learning, development and training centre for a London Insurance Company many years ago, I used to consider myself “good with people”. Still, there were some colleagues and delegates that, at the time, I felt were a bit cold, rude, or frankly just odd!  

No matter how I tried, I didn’t seem to be able to “click” with them. Looking back, I now realise that I just didn’t understand the world’s oldest “People Puzzle”.     


In 2011 I trained with Bev James in DISC Personality Profiling and it completely changed my life and how I interacted with people.    

As a DISC trainer, I’ve had the privilege of being able to share this knowledge and insight into understanding people, understanding ourselves and modifying our own preferences in communication and behaviour to suit and/or manage others.  

For those of you new to DISC, let me tell you a little more.   


DISC is a model of human behaviour initially identified by Dr William Marston. It is a powerful tool that helps identify motivational drivers, preferred environments, goal setting preferences, decision-making strategies, communication styles and personal strengths and challenges.  


DISC is an acronym for the 4 basic parts of our personality  

D – Dominant  

I – Influencing  

S – Supportive/Steady  

C – Conscientious  


Personally, I find human behaviour fascinating. What I’ve learned in my time of being a coach and a DISC trainer is that people are different, but people are predictably different.  

When we look for predictable patterns of behaviour, they are there and I have found knowledge of DISC to be such a powerful tool for myself and the clients that I work with.   


Here’s why I include DISC in all my team building and leadership development training and coaching:    

  1. Research suggests that staff are more engaged with their team, their colleagues and their organisation when the leader is connected to and shows genuine concern for the staff.   

I have found that the senior leaders and managers, in particular, I’ve worked with find this tool to be invaluable for staff motivation and engagement because it increases their understanding of:   

  • The strengths of their team members and also the strength of their team as a whole 
  • Possible change areas for the team and individuals in the team 
  • Individual staff motivation and development needs 
  • Communication preferences of each member of their team 
  • Fears – things their staff instinctively move away from or avoid 
  • Decision-making processes and things that influence the decision-making process 
  • And much, much more!

        2. Knowing what DISC style or combination of styles their team has enhances communication skills and has a direct impact on the way leaders interact with their staff and achieve success.   

        3. It is an excellent personal and business development tool.   

In addition to identifying staff preferences, it’s a great tool to understand the way clients and customers like to be approached, impacting ultimately on the bottom line. 

        4. All these behaviours, motivators and fears are so ingrained in us we can’t help but react to them.   

        5. Once you understand all of this you can start to work on real communication in your team and your personal relationships.    

Understanding these patterns will enable stronger relationships that will help you grow your team, hire the right people and match people’s strengths to an area of service best suited for their strengths.   

        6. Our DISC style will also affect how we make management decisions and how we react under stress as a leader.  

This can be particularly helpful in our personal development as we can then consciously modify our approach, especially in team meetings and briefings.  


Clients of mine often ask, “How do I motivate my team more effectively?”    

After sharing DISC with them, many used the tool to bring new teams together during a time of major organisational change and helping existing staff manage change better.  

I also worked with the senior leadership team of a big academy school where misunderstandings between colleagues with different personality preferences had led to conflict in the workplace.     

The headteacher was also totally baffled to his colleague’s inability to see his point of view!    

Delivering a team-building training day for this school and supporting the leadership team to understand their own and their staff’s preferences was a game-changer for all concerned.    

The staff were able to understand what was happening wasn’t personal and led to a greater appreciation and understanding of others in the team. The leadership team were able to ensure that they were able to fully support all the staff members to move forward with a different perspective and greater emotional intelligence. They were also able to focus on the strengths within the team to develop staff more effectively than before!  


One client of mine, who is the lead agency for a large number of Family Centres in Hertfordshire, started by investing in DISC team training for their senior leadership team. They ended up being so impressed with the power of DISC that they are now using it to profile all their new employees.    

Each team leader has also had the benefit of DISC Team Building Training with me so that the DISC ethos and message is threaded through the culture of the company from top to bottom.    

The DISC profile is used during performance management meetings and target setting. They have seen the retention of their staff increase, a reduction in staff conflict and an ability to use it effectively in succession planning.  

It might be tempting to assume that the best kind of leader is one particular personality type, but the truth is that the best leaders come in all different types of personality preferences and styles.  

To become the best leader you can be for your organisation or to develop your leadership team or personal leadership style, knowledge of DISC can help you identify the natural strengths of the personality styles.     


For me, I believe DISC also develops the two best traits any leader can have: 

  1. self-awareness;   
  2. and the ability to modify personal behaviour to manage the situation, the teams' needs or the style of communication and secondly real knowledge of that leaders’ team.  



If you are interested in organising a team development workshop for your organisation, we can arrange this for you. Simply email our Business Solutions team at business@the-coaching-academy.com so we can help you select the right solution for your company. 



If you would like to implement the power of DISC in your own personal and professional relationships and unlock the people puzzle, join us for our first Virtual DISC Workshop! Click here to find out more.