Can one of you help give me some Guidance on providing DISC based feedback for two situations with one of my directs?

The Direct is a High ‘D’ followed by a high ‘C’ He is an IT Engineer that is a top performer, with high tech skills and low people skills.

Situation 1:
Can you help me describe the outcome here? – This direct often does not support my decisions. Example: When I make a decision his high D pops out and he says something like. "That’s wrong and if you do that then I won’t support that IT system anymore." I’m presuming the specific behavior is “When you tell me you won’t support a system due to a decision I made” – In what terms should I state the outcome so that his high D will care?

Situation 2:
I frequently need information from this same direct so that I can make the best decision. Often when I ask he is condescending and difficult to get the answer from. An example would be “If you’re asking me that question, someone is clearly doing something wrong and the system is going to be all screwed up”

I’m having trouble defining the specific measureable behavior here. I know I’d be wrong to tell him he’s condescending. Can you help me measure this behavior? And again I also need help defining the impact of this behavior in his terms – High ‘D’

More info:
I’m a new manager 90 days in with my team. I’ve been implementing the Trinity per the schedule suggested here at MT. O3’s started first 3 weeks. Feedback implemented 6-8 weeks after that. Getting close to implementing coaching.

Thank you.

mattpalmer's picture

I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions about your scenarios in particular, but I did just listen to an older podcast that is pretty much perfect for this situation: "Improve your feedback with DiSC" --

If you haven't already listened to it, I'd highly recommend it.

RaisingCain's picture


Use his high D momentum against him and redirect it into battle. Tell him which hill you want to take and tell him you’ll support him in taking it. Get his commitment on who will do what by when (don’t leave that out).  In short stop asking questions and start setting objectives. In addition, it sounds to me like you’re confusing your low communication skills (get better by listening to that cast in the link above) with his low “people” skills. I would also argue that if you can’t define the impact of his behavior then there isn’t anything wrong with it…though, I would admit it’s a weak argument, but I would enjoy the discussion.


maura's picture
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There's a cast about murdering the unchosen alternative.  Unfortunately I'm at work so I can't look up the official title, but the gist of it is, help the boss (you, in this case) explore options by giving them data and debating pros and cons BEFORE they make a decision, but once the decision is made, there's no revisiting or second-guessing the paths we didn't take - we all work together to make the chosen path successful. 

It sounds like that theme hits upon both of the situations you outlined.  1, he's not giving you enough data to help you make decisions, and 2, he then tells you whats wrong with your decision.  In the non-MT world, I believe they call that passive aggressive.  You can't give feedback about being "passive agressive", but you can give feedback about his behavior during the decision making process and his behavior once decisions have been made.

 I haven't listened to that cast in a while but I bet there are some clues about feedback in it.

mtietel's picture
Training Badge

 You might try this 3-part cast as well:

I like Maura's cast suggestion as well.

He's verbalizing the tendency for a High-D/High-C to think that they are the smartest person in the room.  Not good (thinking it is fine; verbalizing it isn't...).  I notice you're new to the team; he might be thinking that *he* should have your job.

Personally, I see more High-C behavior - the word "wrong" stands out like it's a neon sign...  High-Cs will fight to the death to prove they're right, regardless of the cost.

1 - "When you don't support my decisions, here's what happens; You won't get included in the decision making process to make sure it gets done the right way."

2 - "When you don't answer my questions here's what happens; I don't get enough information to make the right decision and you're stuck fixing a broken system."

rickmgr's picture

This is all fantastic advice. Thank you.

Mtietel I think your right about it being more C type behavior. The abrasive ness in which it's delivered gets me off track. Your samples are very helpful. I've read the recommended casts and still find myself needing more examples. I'm sure that will ease over time.

Yes it is a non promoted direct situation. I mentored this direct for years and we developed a great friendship and then one day.. Surprise I'm the boss now.

I appreciate the suggestions Thanks

AppleJack's picture
Training Badge

What is your DISC profile? I'm a high D, high C and I've recently realized that High S's completely throw me off. Not only can't I figure out what they are trying to communicate, I have a hard time even recognizing their behavior as high S. Now that I know this, I have some work to do to change my behavior to be able to communicate with them. For me, questions from a high S are often too vague and confusing for me to give them the information they are looking for and my reaction sounds inappropriate because I am very frustrated that their words are not more precise and that I can't just answer the question.

I'm also learning that I deliver feedback better if I leave out the "ands", so I'm trying to give feedback about only one behavior with one result of that behavior. Your examples seem somewhat 'big' to tackle for your first feedback. I would avoid the feedback about your direct telling you that you are wrong for awhile, until you've had more experience delivering feedback and he's had experience hearing it. If you think about a smaller behavior, this may be easier to define the impact of his behavior, as RC says. So maybe the feedback is:

"Can I give you some feedback? When you don't answer the specific question I am asking, I make decisions you don't agree with. Can you do that differently next time?"