The DISC is a popular and effective personality-profiling tool commonly used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. The letters stand for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Some people are high in some areas and lower in others but most of us are a varied blend of strengths and weaknesses across the quadrants. For example, if you’re high “D”, you’re assertive; high “I”, you’re a networker; high “S”, you’re dependable; high “C”, you’re organized.
However, there is a special DISC profile in which every leader must be high all four areas. That is your leadership character profile. Here, the DISC terminology stands for Discernment, Impact, Strength and Contentment. You need to score significantly in all of these areas to truly be a leader.
High “D”: To pass the litmus test of truth, you must have a keen sense of discernment. Some refer to this as your gut instinct or intuition, a heightened ability to sort the wheat from the chaff, even a spiritual gift. It is most certainly all of the above. If you don’t have it, you will make decisions based on distortions, emotions, ego, and even outright lies.
High “I”: How do you measure your impact as a leader? Do you leave an organization with more leaders than when you started? Or is it the proverbial, “When the cat’s away the mice do play”? Do you only make an impact with your physical presence? Or can the effects of your leadership on the organization be felt and referenced for years to come. No one is indispensible. They key is how long your impact is felt after you leave the building, or this planet.
High “S”: You have to be strong to have the character of a leader. You have to be strong enough to deal with the fact that all people are flawed and that we simply do not have the ability NOT to let each other down. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll learn not to put your expectations in people. You’ve got to put it toward the vision, the purpose, and the mission. It’s lonely at the top. You’ve got to be resiliently strong of character to handle that and be ready to pay the price of leadership of character.
High “C”: You must be content with the journey, not with the status quo. The leader always has to be inspiring the people toward a common collective goal, while at the same time bringing out the best in all of them. It’s easy to get discouraged with the day in and day out of never-ending personnel challenges and business problems. However the leader can never display this emotion to the team. Responsibility will make you miserable if you’re not ready for it. Real leaders enjoy the trials and tribulations that go with the territory. As my father used to say, “You can be miserable-miserable, or happy-miserable.”
Your personality is one thing. You can be strong in some areas and not in others. Not so with your character. A leader must assess highly in all four areas of the DISC profile, not just one or two. Your strengths, not your weaknesses, are what define you as a leader. So put yourself to the test and determine if you are cultivating your discernment, impact, strength, and contentment with the journey!