DISC Master Dave Pill wrote an article for those in lockdown who are getting to the stage where they are annoyed because their partner is BLINKING too loud!
All joking aside though, as some of you already know, I had the opportunity to work in the Leisure Industry for a good many years, specifically the UK Holiday sector which, I thought was going to be a wonderful environment, full of happy people enjoying family time together and forging life-long happy memories.
I am happy to report that this was the case for a majority of the holidaymakers I came into contact with.
I witnessed how families enjoyed each others company, played together, had fun together and generally had a great time ….. with the odd ‘telling off’ here and there, sometimes directed at the kids.
Sadly though, the happy, family time together was the not everyone’s experience of being together for a week or sometimes two. Some people were just not used to spending an extended amount of time together and regular arguments would ensue as tension mounted.
I was reminded of my Holiday Park experiences recently (both the good and challenging) during this time of lockdown. This is a time when we are forced to stay together, urged to stay at home, allowed out only for short periods of time for specific purposes and whilst some are thriving with this, for many, for a variety of reasons it is at best difficult if not worse.
With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to share some of the knowledge I have amassed over the last two and a half decades about DISC and by so doing, I hope that many of you will be able to use some of this information to build, maintain and enjoy better relationships, especially in the coming weeks and possibly months.
For those who don’t know, DISC is a personality profiling tool and once taught can give you a set of strategies and knowledge to help understand what makes people ’tick’, to understand why people act and react in certain ways, many of which may be the opposite to the way you might react. I think the majority of us would say that people are different however, once you know about DISC, you soon come to realise that in most cases people are predictably different.
To help you successfully navigate not just the current lockdown period but hopefully, your ongoing inter-personal relationships too here is my mini - DISC guide to getting along.
The best place to begin is with an illustration of the DISC Behavioural Model. This is a simple model that is intended to give you a quick snapshot of your primary DISC preference.
The DISC Behavioural Model
With the understanding that everyone is a unique blend of all four segments, I would like you to just take a moment and reflect on these questions:
1. Generally speaking, most of the time, would you consider being a more OUTGOING person OR a more RESERVED (reflective) person?
Understanding that in certain environments it will depend but for the sake of this little exercise if you had to pick just one, which would it be?
Then ask yourself:
2. Generally speaking, most of the time, would you consider your priority is generally, more towards TASK or PEOPLE?
Once again, understanding that in certain environments it will depend, but once more, for the sake of this exercise if you had to pick just one, which would it be?
Again, remembering that you are a unique blend of all four of the above types within the model.
This result only identifies/suggests your most dominant ‘preference
If you selected:
OUTGOING & TASK this would indicate you have a ‘D’ preferenceOUTGOING & People this would indicate you have an ‘I’ preferenceRESERVED & People this would indicate you have an ‘S’ preferenceRESERVED & TASK this would indicate you have a ‘C’ preference
Generally the styles ‘present’ in a certain manner typically:
The D preference
Because they are outgoing and task focussed, they prefer to cut to the chase, get to the point, move a little quicker and get this done.
A successful, day for them is getting results.
In relationships, the people element can fall by the wayside at the expense of getting things moving.
The I preference
Because they are outgoing and people focussed, they can get easily distracted, are often overly optimistic and fun-seeking.
In relationships, the task element can fall by the wayside at the expense of having fun.
Jobs can get started and not completed which can cause frustration.
The S Preference
Because they are reserved and people focussed they do not necessarily feel the need to be the centre of attention and often seek to support others and provide stability.
In relationships, they may not say what’s on their mind which can be frustrating for the more outgoing types.
S types will try hard to avoid conflict and seek a ‘win-win’ where they can but will step up if they feel a vulnerable person or a family member is being unfairly ‘attacked’ Do not mistake kindness for weakness.
The C preference
Because they are reserved and task focussed they can come across and a bit clinical or ‘cool’ where people are concerned.
They like to reflect and consider what they are going to say making every effort to ensure they are accurate/correct with any statement made.
They frequently evaluate others as they speak and logic and order are usually their bywords.
They can become frustrated with others if they do not match their expectations and others can be frustrated by them if they are overly critical and picky.
Remember those who surround you during lockdown may have the same needs as you which can be great but if they have different needs this could be more of a challenge and you may wish to consider the following:
There is every chance you may be feeling like a caged lion in lockdown, prowling up and down and looking for something to ‘pounce’ on, a challenge to feed the inner desire you have to get things done.
This is great if you are with other people who share the same pace and priority.
If not, tension could be around the corner. With this in mind, if you feel trouble is brewing, rather than attack the issue, you may wish to consider adapting your pace by slowing down a little. Take time to converse (and listen), acknowledge the feelings of others more often, maybe use softer tones if people are more reserved and possibly be more encouraging if those around you are fun-loving and people orientated.
The truth is, so often, by making these modifications to your preferred style, you actually get better results and ultimately achieve more.
As Jim Carrey’s character in the film ‘The Mask’ said “P. A. R. T….…Y? Because I GOTTA! “
Life in lockdown can be frustrating if you don’t have your usual social outlets.
If the answer lies outside of your immediate environment maybe have a social Skype, a Zoom full of zeal or a fun face time - you can still socialise but also need to realise, there are times when not everything has to be or should be fun.
At these times, you may need to adapt your urge to ‘pull the pin out’, slow down and channel your abundant energy and enthusiasm to getting things done, ignoring distractions and completing your tasks - even the ones that are just not fun at all. Talk less and do more is the order of the day now and then. Of course, once tasks are done, there has to be a celebration!
Even though peace and harmony and ensuring everyone else is happy is the order of the day, there are going to be times when to achieve this, you may need to speak up and possibly speed up.
This is especially true If you are surrounded by more outgoing/faster-paced types. At these times it can be hard to get a word in if you remain in the background but the thing is, your silence can be misread as you being unenthusiastic, unhappy, not ‘on board’ and reluctant.
In addition, I’m sure there will be times when to avoid conflict or confrontation you may stay silent and internalise your feelings. The problem here is…. if you don’t speak up, this can make a small issue much bigger which can, in turn, lead to more serious problems later on.
Your dedication to the happiness of others is commendable and so valuable but please remember to consider your own needs too and make time for yourself.
What’s wrong with some people? Why can’t they be more orderly, logical and take pride in what they do?
During lockdown you are probably already in the groove and have your day planned out and timed to perfection from sunrise to sunset so, why is that not the case for everyone else - Don’t they care?
The truth is, not everyone does care ….well, maybe not to the extent you might!
Sometimes with certain people, ‘good’ is good enough and if you are surrounded by more outgoing/faster-paced types you may find that they are happy to have less structure, to go with the flow and have a more laid back approach to lockdown life. If you are with people who are wired in a similar way to you then great but if not this can be very frustrating for all concerned.
If you find this to be the case, and tension is mounting, for the sake of relationship you may wish to ‘pick your battles’, even though you may think everything is important try not be overly critical of too many things. When it is appropriate to do so, try reducing your expectations of others and let some things slide. Who knows, by doing this, you may find the stress levels reduce too.
If you would like to bring peace and harmony to your lockdown life you may find that learning the language of DISC can help.
It’s not about changing who you are forevermore, it’s about modifying your own wiring’ from time to manage your relationships with others who may have different preferences.
Those modifications may take the shape of speeding up or slowing down, focusing more on fact and logic or feelings and fun. DISC can help you build a ‘relationship bridge’ and if you are aware the bridge exists, you can choose to walk over it….or maybe even meet halfway?
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