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Know and Be Known: Understanding Personalities Improves Communication

3 Minute Read

Have you ever tried to explain something to a team member, and they just don't get it? Or you instantly butt heads with another, no matter the issue?

As a leader, those situations are beyond frustrating—but they're problems that can be fixed. By using the DISC Profile System to ascertain an employee's personality type, you can improve your communication by meeting them at their point of need. Dave believes in the system so strongly that each potential team member takes the test to ensure that their style fits with the job and team they'll join. He also teaches other business leaders about the DISC test at EntreLeadership Master Series.

To start you on your way to understanding the personalities, here's a summary of the four styles and some tips on how to communicate to each one. Remember, your team members never fit into one category only. It's usually a mix, with one being more dominant.

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D—Dominance

Style: They have a hard-driving, result-oriented, take-no-prisoner style. Feelings are put on the back burner—they just want the job done. Decisions are made quickly so they can move on to the next thing.

How to Talk to Them: The quicker, the better. Social chitchat will make their heads explode. Come prepared to your meeting, give them the details, get out of their way, and let them fly. They'll get the job done.

I—Interactive

Style: Dave describes this style of personality as a "party looking for a place to happen." They're impulsive, fun, and they love to be around people. They can be expressive, playful and persuasive, but they can quickly lose focus.

How to Talk to Them: Diving straight into a business conversation with lots of details will bore them to death, and they'll probably stop listening. Make sure they have clear goals with deadlines, so they can keep focused.

S—Steady

Style: The S has never met a feeling they wanted to hurt. They are always concerned with others and avoid confrontation as if it were the Ebola virus. They are loyal, steady and awesome team members.

How to Talk to Them: Start with friendly conversation. If you act hostile or pushy, they'll run the other way, so keep your tone even when dealing with them. When making any changes, give them time to adjust.

C—Compliant

Style: There is an easy way to make a C happy: Give them lots and lots of facts and details. They thrive on them. They know and follow the rules, and they're highly competent and all about business.

How to Talk to Them: Get right down to business with lots of facts and figures. Ask for their opinions and give them time to answer. They're great at developing procedures.

Although it's not a magic bullet that can fix all problems, understanding personality styles is a great way to improve communication, which is a major key to success. As Dave says, creating a culture of communication is the only way you can really create a winning environment.

This article originally appeared in the EntreLeadership Advisor, Dave Ramsey's business and leadership newsletter. Sign up now to get it delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.

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