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DISC and leadership

Part of your job as a manager, team lead, director, team leader or other type of leader is to give direction to the talents and qualities of your team members. The better you are at doing this as a manager, the more successful your team will ultimately be. Each manager usually does this in the way that seems or suits him or her best. Yet there is often a similarity in the way leaders manage their team if you look at it from the DISC-theory. Dominant, managers with a red style have similarities in terms of leadership, as do managers with a yellow, green or blue behavioural style. Below you can read some characteristics of leaders per DISC style that characterise their way of managing. Read through them and see what you as a leader might recognise in them…. Perhaps there are clues in them that you can reflect on and benefit from.

DISC styles red yellow green blue

Red leaders

  • Are goal- and result-oriented
  • Are assertive and not afraid to take decisions
  • Shake things up and keep their people alert
  • Give their opinion, solicited and unsolicited. They do not shy away from confrontation
  • Dare to set ambitious goals and go for them

But also…

  • Do they sometimes come across as too confident to the team; sometimes even a bit arrogant
  • Often have a fast pace that not everyone can keep up with
  • Can get easily irritated or angry
  • Can scare others off by their direct way of communicating
  • Have difficulty with people who think and act slowly

Yellow leaders

  • Are enthusiastic and know how to win a team over to their ideas very well
  • Give everyone in the team the opportunity to contribute ideas
  • Aim to achieve results together
  • Value a good atmosphere, fun and humour
  • Have a positive mindset; the glass is more often half full than half empty

But also…

  • Can sometimes present ideas better than they really are
  • Can sometimes favour team members with whom they have a good connection
  • Are sometimes too optimistic about the feasibility of their ideas
  • Are inclined to give only general or incomplete instructions
  • Do not always listen well and may therefore miss certain signals

Green leaders

  • Often take a subservient attitude towards the team
  • Are excellent listeners who quickly identify needs of the team
  • Often know better than anyone the person behind the employee
  • Know how to calm and reassure others
  • Carefully consider the feelings of others

But also…

  • Do they find dealing with change quite difficult
  • Tend not to be visible to the rest of the organisation
  • Often postpone taking necessary, drastic measures
  • Often find it difficult to challenge team members on attitudes and behaviour
  • Avoid confrontation in order to maintain harmony

Blue leaders

  • Goes for delivering the highest quality
  • Makes decisions after very careful and thorough consideration
  • Are clear in what is expected from everyone in the team
  • Works from clear rules, standards and guidelines
  • Are highly structured and organised

But also…

  • Will not be quick to ‘sell’ their ideas but present them factually
  • Often have little regard for the emotions of others
  • Sometimes appear aloof and cool to the team
  • Have a tendency to set the quality standard too high
  • Can be too critical of others

More on leadership styles and DISC

For leaders, it is important to match his or her behavioural style to the DISC style of the other person he or she is leading. This ensures positive collaboration. Want to read more?