If I have a group of very high D/high C programmers who are starting to irritate each other and complain to me about each other, how is it best to handle them?  I am telling them in the meetings and individually that I will not micro manage their meetings and I expect them to do what is necessary to get the job done effectively.  I said I will help but they need to start by being direct with each other.  Is this right?  It seems to be a high D behavior in being direct and high C in sticking to facts.  Should I do more?


I have a team of 4 very high C programmers in two locations.  Two of them are extremely high D and the other two are strong D but much quieter in general.  In their scrum meetings, the two highD/highC talk over each other, interrupt, argue, etc. a lot.  One will be talking and the other starts...but the first just keeps on talking.  Sometimes, I'll see all four talking at the same time!  In my bigger team meeting, I do not allow this and have effectively gotten them to behave as I require.  Their meetings drive me crazy when I sit in.  BUT...up until this point, all four were raving about how good each other was and how much they liked working with each other.  They are strong performers and do high quality work.

Recently, I added another high D/high C and they got a new project manager in on location.  That leaves 4 on in one location and 2 in the other which is co-located with me.  Previous to this, the ones in the current twosome actually interrupted and dominated more in my opinion.  I don't notice any difference - it's all a bunch of people talking at the same time!  (I'm a 5-5-5-1 so it's not my natural tendency.) 

I sat in on one meeting and the highD/highC of the twosome put the phone on mute and started to complain to me about the other highD/highC - not one of the new people.  I looked at him and told him that he needed to take it off mute and talk to the foursome about the situation.  He said that's your job.  I said that the team needed to set the rules for their meetings.  I had to leave about 15 minutes later and he still hadn't said anything to them.  I plan to reinforce that they need to work out acceptable rules for themselves.

I talked to the project manager and she said it's like being in a room with a pack of alpha male dogs!  They can be hyper performers but when the voices start rising.....

Is this the right approach? 

bug_girl's picture

Question--do you have a read on the project manager's style?  She's right that there is a dominance struggle going on, but her style will make a difference to how it plays out.

All I can tell you is that you (or she) have to stop the group *immediately* if voices start to rise. Once you hit that, it's very difficult to go back and get work done.

This does not sound like fun.

jhack's picture

Does the project manager report to you? 

What is the PM's DISC profile?   

John Hack

MsSunshine's picture

We're currently transitioning from more of a high-C PM to a new one.  We actually picked her because she is also a high-D type.  She's got a lot of high-I traits in there too.  Last week was her first one meetings shadowing the current PM.

No, she doesn't report to me.  She actually reports up through another group so we have to go to the GM to get to a common manager.  She was the PM for another of my teams so we've gotten to know each other.  I'm not worried about how we can work together. seems like the suggestion is that she needs to step in quickly if someone starts dominating or voices rise.  The old PM would let things go with the basis that the team needs to work this out instead of requiring a cop.  Maybe there is a half way point of pointing for letting some go but not too far....

jhack's picture

Are you OK with the behavior of your directs?  

If not, then you have a responsibility to let them know that they need to listen to others, not interrupt, and successfully converse with others.  You can give feedback on thi  It should not be "delegated" to the PM.   

John Hack

Jazzman's picture
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Ms. S: Is it a good idea to select someone based on what their DISC is thought to be?  This seems not to far removed from stating "The perfect PM has a good balance of D and C with a little bit of I mixed in."  It seems unnecessarily limiting as most anyone should be able to do "High D"-like behaviors.

I just thought DISC was about how to effectively communicate, not necessarily a way to classify capability.