Case study: transforming teamwork and team understanding with DISC
In this blog, we will explore how DISC can be used to improve teamwork and develop a deeper understanding of one another.
The client is a long-established animal welfare charity based in London. The newly appointed CEO of the charity wanted to bring the leadership team together for two days of teamworking and professional development. The primary purpose of this activity was to provide the leadership team with a baseline understanding of the role and responsibilities as a line manager. The secondary purpose was to bring the leadership team to strengthen their working relationship, and to develop a greater understanding of each other and how to work better as a team. It was decided that for the team building element, a psychometric assessment would be useful to help the leadership team develop their self-awareness and understanding of their colleagues.
Following a review of other assessments and practitioners available, Meliora Learning and Development was engaged by the charity to deliver the DISC psychometric assessments and the follow-up team building workshop.
To fully understand the charity’s needs and the overall aim for the leadership development days, we attended a briefing session with the client where they were able to share their vision, and we were able to fully understand their requirements.
Through listening to the client and reflecting on their needs, it became clear that the standard DISC workshop for managers would not produce the result required. The focus needed to be on team building and raising the leadership teams’ awareness of each other’s strengths, value to the team, and recognising where conflict could arise. Based on this, MLD designed a workshop whereby participants could ‘educate’ their colleagues on their preferred style, spend time exploring and appreciating similarities and differences, and plan how they can use this insight to work together more effectively as a leadership team and with their direct reports.
Through joint communication from the CEO and Meliora Learning and Development, participants were given some pre-reading and instructions explaining how to complete the assessment. It was imperative that we reassured the participants that the assessment was not a test, and the results were not a judgement or a label we were giving to them. Once the assessments were completed, they were printed and made ready to give to the participants on the day of the workshop.
The workshop was well received by the participants. There were lightbulb moments, and the DISC behavioural styles were bought to life through the activities they completed. One of the key factors that made the workshop a success was the decision to give the DISC reports to the participants on the day. We usually distribute the reports ahead of a workshop however the CEO wanted to give them out on the day. I have to admit that this worked really well as it created some excitement after what had already been a long day of training. Distributing the reports shortly before the workshop got people talking and created a buzz that continued through the reast of the workshop.
Following the workshop, participants were asked to complete a feedback questionnaire. Many of the respondents stated that they found the workshop helpful in understanding themselves in the context of work and their colleagues.
At Meliora Learning and Development, we are aware of the debate around the benefit of psychometric assessments. However, it is our belief that often they are positioned incorrectly with the participant, or are used in negative ways (e.g., to exclude or make sweeping generalisations about people). We always position them as providing information and insight; we never label or judge and appreciate that we are all complex, multi-faceted beings with strengths and areas for development.