High Performing Teams, Effective Communication, and All That

High Performing Teams, Effective Communication, and All That

by Dr. Jan Lüdert

Developing high performing teams is tied to effective communication. Have you ever wondered how your communication style affects your productivity? The School of Applied Leadership has used an assessment tool – called DiSC – that has improved our ability to communicate more effectively.

DiSC assessments are used in business, higher education, and government institutions to help teams work more seamlessly. As part of the assessment you rate a range of behavioral statements (e.g., “Getting results is one of my top priorities” or “I like to be involved in group projects”). The DiSC model was initially developed by psychologist William M. Marston in his 1928 book, “Emotions of Normal People.” Since then, assessments have been fine-tuned drawing on Marston’s seminal work. Today’s DiSC assessment distinguishes four styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

Raising Self-Awareness and Identifying Shared Values

DiSC, like other self-assessments, offers you a way to gain deeper self-awareness. It allows teams to understand each other’s needs, motives and preferences and, as such, supports recognizing individual strengths and limitations when working together. Assessment tool’s clarify how a team can coalesce around shared projects by bringing out each other’s potential. It can also be used to create team’s by bringing together individuals who complement each other (e.g. pairing those who express enthusiasm with those who ensure accuracy).

Self-assessments – like DiSC – also contribute to building a set of shared values. Because values are a guide for interaction, group members who share similar values are more likely to agree about group actions, directions, and outcomes. In fact, DiSC helped us to appreciate nuances of our everyday actions that we typically (and unconsciously) exhibit; like crafting emails a certain way, engaging in problem-solving activities, or – and more broadly – whether we put an emphasis on action/results, interaction/collaboration or stability/steadiness.

Our experience with DiSC is backed by leadership research. In a Harvard Business Review article on the value of self-assessments Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Dave Winsborough  found that teams whose members are self-aware, open-minded and emotionally intelligent address (inevitable) conflict better and find new ways to improve performance.

Find Your DiSC Style, Lead Yourself and Inspire Others

There are various free DiSC self-assessments available online. Find out what DiSC style you most closely align with here. If you are interested in leading high performing teams, you can also explore City University of Seattle’s graduate leadership programs on the CityU website. You may also wish to have our Certified DiSC facilitator conduct a workshop for you – contact Greg Price at gpmba@cityu.edu We’re all about the finish!