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Team Power: Leveraging on Your Teammates’ Strengths


• We ask career coach Samantha Bloxham to share her tips for workplace collaboration based on the DISC personal profile analysis.


Teamwork makes the dream work, but how can we leverage on each other’s strengths and make teamwork, well, work?

“The first step is to observe how your teammates react to different situations,” says Samantha Bloxham, career coach and partner of Thomas International, a talent assessment platform provider. “DISC – which stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance – is a useful personal assessment tool for that.” People with different profiles have their own preferences and motivations, so read on to understand your teammates better and see what you can do to improve workplace collaboration.

The Assertive One – Dominance (D)

Decisive, driven and inquisitive, your high dominance colleague is the one who isn’t afraid of conflicts and always gets to the point quickly.

What “D”s are great at: Their assertiveness may come across as blunt, but they can help everyone stay on track and push for a quick decision. So, let a high “D” lead a meeting if you don’t want it to drag on.

Communicating with a “D”: Be OK with skipping the niceties, advises Bloxham. “High dominance people aren’t bothered about having loads of details, so just give them the direct information,” she says.

Motivating a “D”: “High ‘D’s like power and authority,” says Bloxham. “They are pioneers who come up with ideas.” So, bring them on the journey with you. “Ask them questions and get them to answer,” she adds. “This way, they’ll believe in it a lot more than if you just tell them the solution.”

The Social One – Influence (I)

Friendly, persuasive and communicative, the high influence person is the social butterfly of the group.

What “I”s are great at: Unsurprisingly, high “I”s excel at networking because they can make everyone feel at home. Some may find them too talkative, but they always manage to lift the team’s spirit.

Communicating with an “I”: It’s all about emotions here. “High ‘I’s like to talk about feelings, which keep them engaged,” says Bloxham. Instead of stating cold, hard facts, ask them how they feel about it, and match their enthusiasm.

Motivating an “I”: Everyone likes praise and recognition, but these people are driven by them. “Always express your appreciation verbally to a high ‘I’ teammate,” says Bloxham. And if you want to encourage them – let’s say, to lead a team presentation – lift them up with why you think they’ll do a great job!

Want more workplace tips?  
Read The Mag’s CAREER stories.

The Quiet One – Steadiness (S)

Kind, helpful and thorough, high steadiness people are great listeners who prioritise accuracy.

What “S”s are great at: High “S”s are very organised and dependable. They may seem slow, but that’s just because they take the time to do their job well. In Bloxham’s words: “They cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”

Communicating with an “S”: Prompt and give them the chance to speak in group discussions. “High ‘D’ and ‘I’ people usually dominate the conversation, while high ‘S’s tend to stay quiet even though they have good ideas,” says Bloxham. “Often if you don’t ask them for their opinions, they will just listen.”

Motivating an “S”: “‘Security’ is the keyword,” she continues. “They like to have the security of knowing what’s happening.” In other words, give them more notice if you anticipate changes, so they have enough time to plan ahead.

The Analytical One – Compliance (C)

Detail-oriented and compliant, the high “C” person plays by the rules and sticks to the facts.

What “C”s are great at: If your high “C” colleague makes a suggestion, you know they’ve thought it through, being the analytical thinkers that they are. They are always there to keep everyone in line with protocol and make sure nothing goes wrong.

Communicating with a “C”: Put everything in writing. “They want to have something to refer to later,” explains Bloxham. “They also need to process information in detail before making a decision, and written communication provides more buffer time.”

Motivating a “C”: “They are motivated by rules,” says Bloxham. “They’ll do something if it’s part of the standard operating procedures.” But if you need extra help from them, be ready to answer a lot of questions and give them reasons – preferably supported by facts and figures – why they must help you.

Do you work in a multi-generational workplace? These expert tips will help you bridge the generation gap and improve teamwork.
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