How well do you know your employees?
Depending on how many you have, you probably have a pretty good grip on their skill sets and work ethic. Based on comments they’ve made during their tenure with your firm, you may also know what kind of music they like, whether they’re into sports and what hobbies they engage in outside the office.
But do you know what kind of environment will assist in getting the most production out of them? Do you know if they accomplish more when they’re alone and working offsite or whether team interaction in an office setting brings out the best in them? Do you know to which type of management structure they respond well?
It’s not easy to learn all these nuances of your employees’ personalities and work preferences merely through casual conversation. In most companies, employers throw people together and hope for the best, making changes along the way when things do not flow smoothly.
But if you want to determine how to get the most out of your employees – every one of whom is different from others in a myriad of ways – you might want to try utilizing a very informative and very fun behavior assessment tool the next time you have them all together in one place.
At a recent quarterly meeting with nearly every employee gathered in one conference room, we used DISC, which centers on four different behavior traits (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness). It is commonly used to help people get to know themselves and their behavior patterns better, as well as learning how to better deal with interpersonal situations.
In advance of the meeting, each employee answered a series of questions. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are designed to allow people to see how they are naturally inclined when it comes to individual behavior and their roles in group dynamics. Each person is then assigned one of the four letters that best describes them, with many having a secondary letter.
Those who have “D” as their first letter are usually very direct, strong-willed, results-oriented people, while those with “C” tend to be analytical, systematic and private. An “I” is likely to be outgoing, high-spirited and optimistic, while an “S” is usually even-tempered, accommodating and humble. Those with two letters will have characteristics of both quadrants of the circle. Nearly every employee was impressed by how accurate their assessment was, both for themselves and for co-workers.
As leaders, we learned a number of valuable things about our employees through the DISC assessment program, but more importantly, they learned things about themselves and each other that will help them be more productive, both individually and in group settings.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.