By Tiffany Peeler, VP of Sales & Operations, Proactive Dealer Solutions
I’m betting no one gets up in the morning thinking: “Who can I irk today?” Yet, we all do it. We go about our working day annoying or irritating others with our behaviors without even being aware that we’re doing it. You can smooth conflict and bring harmony back into your dealership using the DISC® assessment, a simple but effective communication model.
DISC has been around since the 1940s. It’s a personal assessment tool used by more than a million people every year to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace. It’s often referred to as a “common language” people can use to better understand themselves and those they work with – and use this knowledge to reduce conflict.
Why write about it now? The stakes have never been higher for dealership teams to better communicate with each other. The labor shortage means you can’t afford to lose a good employee because of a personality conflict. At the same time, the lack of new vehicles and pressure to source used vehicles has left everyone on edge. And do I even have to mention this seemingly never-ending pandemic? It’s a perfect recipe for tempers to bubble over.
Knowing your own DISC style and those of your colleagues can help you better communicate, reduce workplace stress, improve team synergy, and get things done more efficiently and effectively. There are four styles that comprise the DISC model, individually, we’re a mixture of these four styles. No one style is better than another and all of us adapt and flex our styles when the situation calls for it, however, one or two styles are usually dominant and more natural for you:
Dominant Style: D styles are reactive, extroverted and task-focused. People who are high-Ds like to lead others and tend to be competitive. They speak their minds, get straight to the point, and charge headfirst into everything they do. Think of that coworker who sends one-word emails and you always think he’s mad at you. He’s not. It’s just how he communicates. High Ds aren’t trying to be rude; they just want to get to the point. Full disclosure: I am a dominant type. I have to keep in mind that some people may perceive me as aggressive, and to adjust my style when working with other types.
Interactive Personality – I styles are reactive, extroverted and people-focused. They enjoy socializing and working collaboratively with others. They like to have fun, are creative, and inspire those around them. Because high Is love to constantly communicate and talk, other styles can find them off-putting because they have so much energy. When you receive an email from a high I, it’s probably wordy, littered with flowery language, and somewhat disorganized. This isn’t because they don’t know what to say, it’s because they want to say everything!
Stable Personality –S styles are reflective, introverted and people-focused. They are always willing to help, seen as accommodating in the workplace, and detail-oriented. High Ss notice what needs to be done and tend to quietly take care of things without the need for recognition. If you’re in a meeting with someone who is an S style, don’t confuse their soft-spoken approach with agreement. A high S listens more than they talk and shys away from conflict. It’s important to ask questions and slow down to best align with them.
Conscientious Personality – C styles are reflective, introverted and task-focused. They are logical and process-driven in their approach to problems. C’s are meticulous and thorough, with a focus on accuracy and procedures. They want the facts and the documents supporting the facts, which is also why they tend to ask A LOT of questions in meetings and write detailed emails. I’ll admit, communicating with this type is a challenge for my dominant, get-it-done personality. But I’ve learned to come prepared and armed with details. Modifying my approach results in more productive meetings and easier communication.
Overall, your ability to influence people goes up astronomically when you flex your approach to meet the needs of others. If someone needs lots of details, you know to provide them with lots of details. Or, if relationships are important to someone, you can make an effort to build rapport before jumping into the work. The behaviors and actions of others are neutral until we add value to them. You don’t need to make major modifications to who you are and behave inauthentically. Adapting behaviors does not change who you are, nor your desired goal. It simply changes how you go about communicating so you are more likely to achieve your goal AND maintain good relationships.
About the Author
Tiffany Peeler is the VP of Sales & Operations for Proactive Dealer Solutions. She leads the sales and fulfillment teams with a laser focus on delivering industry-leading solutions to improve upon the customer experience and dealership profitability.