BLUF: A colleague who strikes me as a high S has asked for some advice on how to improve her relationship with her boss who is clearly a high D.  Any tips I can pass on?

A colleague has got a new boss who is a high D. She is finding it difficult adjusting to working with him as she says she feels he does not listen to her.  She wants to explain to her new boss that she finds it difficult working with him.  Some of her stakeholders have also commented to her that he is brusque, impatient and forceful.  This instantly sounds to me like a D-S conflict.  I know her boss - he's D through and through and I find him refreshingly focused.   

I plan to sit down with her and explain the DISC model as a way of thinking about interactions so she can start to think about modifying her behaviour to engage more successfully with him.  She would like to explain to him how his style makes her feel. Using the DISC model I can help her think about how better to explain that (a high D might not care about how she feels if she gets the job done) but I'm not convinced a direct suggesting to a boss that he needs to act differently is a good course of action.  Thoughts?


jrb3's picture
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Point her to the podcasts explaining the DISC model, as part of peer-coaching on being more effective in dealing with how her boss operates.  I think they're available in full in the "free membership" here.  The links were given in another thread around here somewhere, going back into early 2008 I think.  Search-box here "the D in disc" might do it.

If you find him "refreshingly direct", she could start by working out how she interacts well with you even when you're task-focused.

A direct suggesting a boss he needs to act differently is going to be even less successful than a spouse suggesting the other spouse act differently.  Not only won't it work, quite often the direct won't work either. :-|

-- Joseph

donm's picture
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I'm a high I. I have a colleague who is a high D. He is actually the prototype model for all D's in existence. I want to tell stories (like this one). He wants me to get to the point and let him work.

Recently, we had an interaction. He warned me about a problem. My entire answer, going totally against my nature, was "Got it." The DISC model is about how one interacts/communicates to eliminate friction. Your high-S friend wants to avoid conflict (by definition), so it is up to her to change her way of interacting. Go for short, direct answers, and follow through with what she says. That should avoid 90% of most problems.

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

Because she's an S (or a C) "she wants to explain".  Your best advice would be to tell her that a High D will be bored with that conversation pretty quickly.  And you're right - asking the boss to change is the exact wrong course of action.  

Just tell her that she needs to get over her need to explain.  Tell her to make recommendations up front and if the boss wants more detail he'll ask for it.

Tell her he's not being rude by being brief, and she can now get away with being equally concise with him.   He won't mind at all.   Think of all the time she'll have now that she doesn't need to spend time explaining stuff to him!

I'm a high S.  In one of my first management meetings with my High D exec, I started to explain the reason why I was doing something.  He turned to me and said "When are you going to stop making excuses?"   I wasn't making excuses at all, just providing detail and rationale.  He didn't interpret it that way.   Thankfully I learned the lesson right then and changed my approach.  And I'm positive he wouldn't have remembered saying that 2 days later.   But as I high S I admit it hurt my feelings, and your friend will probably feel the same way.   She just needs to understand that she'll get better results if she doesn't take it personally and frames things in the way that will get the High D boss on side.







miketickle's picture

Advice dispensed and I gave her some manager tools info on the DISC model. She explained to her boss that sometimes when they are in meetings he can appear to not consider the people aspects.  He admitted to being blunt. So now they are both explicitly aware of the difference in style.  I have suggested see try to be "less S" rather then "more d".  Hopefully MT will get a new listener out of it :-)


Cheers for the guidance.



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