Behaviour Style Analysis: Stop Trying To Herd Cats!

Creating a harmonious workplace with different personalities is tough. Here’s how behavioural style analysis can help.

Stop herding cats with behaviour style analysis

Does it ever feel like leading your team is a bit like, well, herding cats? On one hand you’ve got John, who talks so much you wonder how he ever get things done (but he does). Then you’ve got Mary, who barely says a peep, but is hands-down the most efficient person in the office. Alex is a free spirit and unpredictable, with a short attention span. Jo always seems to be away or sick.

How on earth are you meant to lead, manage, and motivate so many different people – and different personality types?

Leading a team can be a rewarding experience but it can also bring difficulties that can be hard to overcome. We’re talking serious personality clashes and dysfunctional environments, rather than the pronunciation of the word ‘tomato’. Think: infighting; arguments; backstabbing; people not doing their jobs. At some point, most leaders experience this tougher side of people management. While this can take its toll on you personally, it can also negatively impact your business in terms of:


  • Low productivity, performance or motivation.
  • Poor communication, both internally and externally.
  •  High absenteeism or staff turnover.
  • Unhappy customers, who may well turn to your competitors.

The blame for this woeful list of problems is often squarely attributed to the employee or to having made a bad hiring decision. Most business leaders don’t reflect on how their own leadership style might indirectly contribute to the challenges within their business. This is a mistake!

The key to revolutionising your leadership

The key to revolutionising your leadership lies in gaining a greater understanding of not just your leadership style, but also in better understanding the behavioural style of your employees. And then consider how the two might work together for the good of your people, your business, and your bottom line.

The best way to gain such understanding is through the use of assessment tools that analyse and evaluate personality styles, behavioural styles, and how they impact on communication and teamwork. There are a number of tools available, but some are simply too complex to be of much use on a daily basis – especially when you’re under pressure.

I personally use and highly recommend Extended DISC: it’s powerful, effective, but also simple to use and understand. It doesn’t qualify people as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or give a pass or fail, but it reveals a person’s natural behavioural style. I’ve been using Extended DISC with my clients for many years, and they’ve seen consistently brilliant results from it, from recruitment, through to team communications, and motivation. All the things that are absolutely essential when you’re a leader.

How can Extended DISC help you as a leader?

Extended DISC has one overriding objective:

To make every employee more valuable and more productive and to create an effective and efficient team environment.

Let’s see how Extended DISC works in practice, by taking a look at the different behavioural styles.

Meet the four Extended DISC behavioural styles

Extended DISC shows a respondent’s natural behavioural style under four categories:

  • D – Dominant
  •  I – Influential
  •  S – Steady
  •  C – Compliant

People are rarely just one style, but often have one style that is stronger than the others.

Here’s an example of the different behavioural styles in the workplace:

D-style leaders: Make fast decisions; be results driven; look on their people as another resource; set demanding goals; and expect others to listen and follow.

S-Style leaders: Put a higher emphasis on maintaining routines, trust and loyalty; will value experience and knowledge; and will lead through a gradual evolution of goals.

A D-Style leader will often find an S-Style employee infuriating because of their preference for stability over change; their more reserved behavioural style; and their strong sense of fairness and justice. For these reasons, an S-style employee may find working for a D-Style leader difficult.

A person required to work outside their natural behavioural style will expend more energy to do so – something that takes its toll over time.

Your employee, who appears to you to lack motivation and be giving a poor performance, may in fact have become demotivated by having to work to your way of leading without any reciprocal understanding of what they might need to give their best.

Using Extended DISC for people management

Individuals who are better understood can be better motivated and managed towards an improved job performance.

This in turn strengthens organisational culture and results in less staff turnover and absenteeism.

Furthermore, rather than just improving communication, the understanding of an employee’s natural behavioural style can also help you utilise your employees on tasks to which they are naturally best suited. Not trying to put square pegs into round holes will be a happier experience for both you, as a leader, as well as for the employee.

And it’s not just about leaders having these insights into their team’s behavioural style: the Extended DISC profiles are shared within a team, and effective communication methods are workshopped.

By having a better understanding of each other, differences that once seemed abrasive or difficult, can now be worked around and avoided.

Next step: Want to get the most out of your workforce?

If you would like to understand your own behavioural style; the behavioural styles of your employees; and start the journey towards making every employee more valuable, more productive – and create an effective and efficient team – please get in touch.

I would love to help you revolutionise your leadership, like I’ve helped other clients with their teams.

“We’ve been using HR profiling for close to 20 years, and use it religiously for every single
hire. But Jason’s experience with Extended DISC means we can also use that information after a recruitment programme is in place, so we’re getting more value out of those assessments through Jason’s experience of working with Extended DISC.”

– Aaron Sampson, General Manager, Hot Spring Spas

Learn more about Extended DISC.