What is leadership? Well, we don’t have that much time in this short lesson. However, I want to share how Wiley defines leadership:
Leadership is a one-to-many relationship directed at moving a group or organization toward desired outcomes.
The natural question that follows is, What is the work of leadership? Research broadly supports the following three aspects of a leader’s work:
- Create a Vision
- Build Alignment (around that vision)
- Champion the Execution (of that vision)
If there were only a way we could accept our DiSC® style AND provide effective leadership. Well, there IS a tool that helps you do that!
Introducing Everything DiSC Work of Leaders®. As you guessed, it uses Everything DiSC® as the engine. However, unlike most Everything DiSC® profiles which analyze the differences between people, Work of Leaders® focuses on understanding how YOUR tendencies influence your effectiveness in specific leadership situations.
My goal here is to increase your understanding of the Work of Leaders® Profile using specific results from an actual assessment.
How does leadership connect to DiSC®? Your DiSC® style influences HOW you approach each of the 3 steps of the Work of Leaders® process, which include: Vision, Alignment, & Execution. Your DiSC® style simply tells you how much energy will be required to do the different aspects of each step.
The research-validated Work of Leaders® application is intended for all leaders and is designed to:
- Help leaders understand their style of leadership
- Give leaders a framework for understanding leadership best practices
- Provide tips and guidance for improving leadership effectiveness
Let’s begin with a look at those eight words (shown above) placed around the model and what they really mean. The eight words are priorities. These priorities are unique to the Work of Leaders® profile. In other words, they are the primary areas where people focus their energy depending on their DiSC® style. They are the instinctive priorities where people – given their DiSC® style – will focus their energy.
Everyone has at least three priorities; some have four to five. Having more is no better or worse than having three. Your Work of Leaders® Profile is unique to you and based on your results. Priorities simply help us understand how our style might be reflected in real-life work scenarios. The important thing to remember is that when things get foggy (such as when stress or uncertainty appears) we seek the priorities associated with our style. We’ll see what the Work of Leaders® Profile tells the participant, and what action plans can result.
Breaking it down further, we see the 3 priorities assigned to each quadrant, respectively. A first look at the model shows the following priorities identified with a primary style:
This approach can at least provide you high-level understanding of priorities associated with the four quadrants before we even know a person’s DiSC® style.
Let’s always consider the basic styles before we dive deeper. Let’s suppose that we have a participant whose name is Michael and an initial review of his Work of Leaders® Profile indicates he’s in the “D” style quadrant. We know from a previous lesson that Michael has an outward activity level (or PACE) along the vertical dimension described as Fast-paced & Outspoken. We also see that he has an agreeableness quotient along the horizontal dimension described as Questioning & Skeptical. When we combine these two dimensions, we identify the “D” style. As a Dominant or Dominance style, we know that Michael’s traits include: Direct, Firm, Strong-willed, Forceful, and Results-oriented. The Work of Leaders® Profile will show us much more. Let’s take a look.
Priorities are where Michael focuses his energy. For example, as we uncover more information about our participant, we see that his D style has the following 3 priorities of Resolute, Commanding, & Pioneering. These priorities are the lenses through which Michael views various situations and interactions. AND, they shape his leadership experience.
Let’s see what the Work of Leaders® Profile tells Michael about his priorities, and what action plans can result.
All the profiles begin with a very good summary of the DiSC® and what the 4 quadrants mean in terms of basic styles. Then the profile provides several paragraphs of helpful information and context unique to Michael’s D style to help him understand the unique nuances in his personal Work of Leaders® Profile report.
Then, the report provides a detailed summary of each of Michael’s 3 priorities. I’m choosing ONE to share as an excerpt for your understanding:
- Being Commanding: Michael, leaders with your D style feel a strong sense of responsibility to get results, and you expect others to share your focus on achievement. At times, your confident and driven style may cause you to come across as somewhat demanding . . .
His report continues with explanation of his Pioneering and Resolute priorities, respectively.
Then we are introduced to the Work of Leaders® Process:
There are 3 steps in the process: Vision, Alignment, and Execution, with 3 drivers for each step and 2 behavioral continua for each driver.
Here is a graphic of the “Crafting a Vision” process step. As you see, the 3 drivers for Vision are: Exploration, Boldness, and Testing Assumptions (with 2 behavioral continua under each driver).
Staying with our Vision excerpt, we begin examination of this process step with a definition: VISION is an IMAGINED FUTURE CONDITION for the organization or team. This section of the Profile includes a full page on examples, importance, and context of Vision.
NOW, we begin to dive into the first driver of Exploration including the two behavioral continua. A deeper, broader explanation is provided on “How Exploration Drives Vision” and “Remaining Open & Prioritizing the Big Picture.”
This is where Michael’s individual results are charted along these 2 scales. Notice Michael’s rating dots on the two continua. In the context of exploration, the behaviors on the right-hand side of these scales are leadership best practices. Any movement toward the right side will help when exploring a vision.
Similar displays are made for the remaining 2 DRIVERS of Boldness and Testing Assumptions, with their respective behavioral continua. And, the report continues for the remaining 2 process steps of Alignment and Execution, each of which also have 3 drivers and 2 behavioral continua.
Playing to your strengths is an important starting point for improving your leadership effectiveness. This section begins to identify Michael’s 3 strongest areas in the processes of Vision, Alignment, & Execution.
For example, Michael’s strongest area in the Vision process step was the driver “Boldness” with the behavioral continua of “Being Adventurous.”
Michael’s other two leadership strengths happened to both be in the Execution process within the Momentum Driver, which contains “being driven” and “initiating action” as behavioral continua.
Knowing your greatest opportunities for improvement is key to completing the picture of effectiveness.
This section begins to identify Michael’s 3 behavioral continua that need attention. For example, Michael’s first area of improvement was Execution > Feedback / Offering Praise.
Since Michael sees himself as less open with praise, perhaps spending more time giving positive feedback and making people feel appreciated. Each summary includes “Tips for Improvement” and “How can you adapt your behavior to become a better leader.” His other two areas of opportunity happened to both be in Alignment; being receptive and being encouraging.
I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of the Work of Leaders® Profile. Whether your needs include Employee Engagement, Conflict Management, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution.
If you’d like a PDF sample of the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® Profile, just let me know your DiSC® style via email at email@example.com. You can also purchase the Work of Leaders® Profile.
As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.
If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website. And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.