Jennifer Goldman, Project Management Office manager
During the Management Development Program (MDP) this past year, the Talent Development department guided us through many lessons utilizing the Everything DiSC Workplace assessment tool. We gained valuable insight on understanding our personal styles and the perspectives of others and learned how to utilize this tool to improve teamwork, communication and productivity at UCO. This was a second opportunity for me to complete this assessment, and I thought my results would be different; however, my outcome was consistent resulting in the Si profile.
The program helped us understand our DiSC styles and what our styles say about us. Some of us with the Si profile are naturally patient and accommodating. We prefer a calm and harmonious environment, do our best to provide consistency and are good at drawing out opinions and helping the group reach consensus. We are approachable and can create a warm, safe environment, offer diplomacy and compromise, deliver reliable results and listen patiently to others.
Having awareness and a better understanding of how our personal styles relate to other profiles offer us a different perspective on how we interact with others. Varied cultures and viewpoints provide perspectives that others may not have thought about, and we discussed the importance of encouraging and engaging in conversations to listen and learn. Awareness supports us through our struggles when working without clear guidelines, giving people negative feedback or working in a chaotic environment. Having awareness of our DiSC styles and the styles of others helps us adapt our techniques to build better relationships with our teams.
We explored how our work style is also influenced by other factors such as life experiences, education and maturity. Our class was comprised of a variety of styles, and we participated in activities that helped us understand the perspective of others and why they might be responding a particular way. During one of our class exercises, we were asked to move to an area of the room identified with certain criteria that we felt our style fit us most. I am an Si but ended up in the C group. This reinforced what we were learning that all styles are equally valuable and everyone has a blend of all four styles. This happened a second time for me when one of our guest speakers was doing a coaching exercise with us and referred to me as a C style. In addition, lessons from this exercise align with what my former UCO graduate professors taught me, which is to be a transformational leader and adapt my techniques to meet the needs of my staff or students depending on where they are in their maturity growth.
New students or employees need us to trust them and provide more direction; whereas, a seasoned professional thrives more when we stay engaged for awareness, trust them to do their job and intervene when necessary. Furthermore, ensuring others have ownership in their outcomes develops positive results. This is applicable to the DiSC model in that we must remember to understand the other person’s perspective and adjust our techniques to meet them where they are.
The following quote summarizes our year in the Management Development Program. Liz Brenner quoted, “Always be the person you want to work for.” Having awareness of each of our own unique DiSC styles provides us with various perspectives guiding us to adapt our techniques to be the person we would want to work for, build positive relationships and progress each other forward in support of the university’s mission.
Interested in learning more about DiSC? Reach out to Fran Petties, director of Talent Development.