I wrote WillDuke a PM to kick this discussion off:


I wonder how you go about working with people with High D (and high C) behaviours? my profile is 2-5-6-4. I often find if someone has High D and perhaps high C, I have a lot more difficulty in building an effective relationship with them. If they are High D and I, I can deal with because they have the 'people' aspect to their behaviour.

Your profile is most similar to mine (especially the D=2!) and I'm interested to share notes. [/quote]

[quote="WillDuke"]I know what you mean about working with a high DC. I've certainly had my share of difficulty there as well. I remind myself of a couple things.

1. Respect is key. Their is no "right" way to be.
2. They don't mean it. It's just a communication style.
3. They don't take it personally when you say it either.
4. Don't pussyfoot around.

There are times when I envy the DC personality. They can sure can produce a truckload of work in a hurry.

I was talking to a high D the other day. In the middle of my sentence he turned away from me and walked away. He wasn't being rude, he just had what he wanted and was moving on. Amazing.

It's not natural for me to be as direct with a DC as they want. But I can do it. If I know it's coming up in advance I prep myself. I figure I've got 10-15 seconds to deliver the bulk of my message. M&M call it BLUF - Bottom Line Up Front. I've adopted this into my life. I tell all my directs, especially that high S, that they need to practice it. Very effective.

They work hard. They can really produce. But they can wreak havoc on your team if you let them. For the most part they know that they are the way the are. They're willing to make adjustments to their interpersonal skills but they need to be reminded why that's important.

The long and short in my experience, and I'm no pro, is that a DC is a terrific person to have on your team. Are you having any specific issues? I'd be happy to offer what I can. Though for specifics the boards will help as there are some DCs on there to give their take on things. If you want to go that route, feel free to quote anything I've said here.

So, I'm wondering if others would like to chip in on the discussion. Specifically, my situation is that I have a high-D/C individual with whom I am a peer and I feel (note the word [i]feel[/i]) that trust is low and the relationship is not as effective as it could be. He probably doesn't notice. My profile is 2-5-6-4.

I am the product and project manager, he is the hardware design manager. I don't have any direct reports. The hardware design group reports to him.

My observation of his behaviour:
[*]On occasions I start talking before he's quite finished (yes, I know, and I'm working on it!) He has said "Let me finish!" or "Shush!" - That's a hard thing for a high-S to get over :-)
[*]He often points out (publicly, by CC'ing everyone) errors in detail in my communications
[*]When I ask for some information from him or to arrange a meeting with him for example, he'll ask did ask you to do this?
[*]When I ask him for progress updates, he responds "tell me exactly what you want to know." If I knew what I wanted to know, I wouldn't have to ask. I'm looking for exceptions, and notable achievements but unless I ask closed questions, he declines to respond in any useful way.

I've tried to be objective about the behaviour but..... any ideas, comments? Especially from anyone with high-D/C (what do you expect?) and low-D - how do you deal with this situation?

Apologies for the long post.

How can I begin to improve the effectiveness of this relationship? (I should note that this is one relationship out of 29 others in the organisation that are fine.

jhack's picture


The hardest part is "getting over it." He's already forgotten what's still eating at you.

You know not to interrupt.

When he points out errors: get over it. And, don't make that error again.

If he asks "did ask you to do this?" just answer Yes or No. Move on. He's asking because he wants to know. So just tell him. And tell him the goal of the meeting.

Since you are the project manager, you know "who needs to do what by when." What the High D expects is that you ask "are you done with X, and will you be done with Y at time T?" "Are there any issues that would prevent you from finishing Z by Wednesday at 4pm?" Be specific in your project status updates.

And a few other things you might do:

Make sure he knows all the things he (and his team) must finish, by when. And let him know you'll be following up.

Listen attentively. Let him know that you respect his opinion (you'll have to figure that out - maybe ask his advice, depends on details).

Find out what he thinks (not feels!) are the roadblocks for his team's performance, and figure out ways to overcome them. He'll appreciate your getting things done. He may not thank you for it.

Most of all, do what you say you're going to do. Be effective. He may never gush over it, but it will be noted.


BJ_Marshall's picture


Remember: Communication is all about the listener. You know he's a high-D, so talk to him in that way to get the best results.

I recommend the Be Effective with DISC Cheat Sheet: [url][/url] sheet.


Chelle's picture

Hey Peter!

It's great that you ask this question at this time, I'm having the same problem, only reverse. I'm a high C/D trying my best to work with a high S. Unfortunately for her, she's in an environment full of high C's and some C/D, and has similar conflicts with almost everyone. My manager also happens to be high C/D (I get along with her effortlessly), and is having the same difficulties with this person.

I don't have a solution for you, but I can tell you that high C/D people don't mean to be rude, they just don't view the workplace as a social situation, and don't have the time or desire to chit chat - they just want to get work done. I am guilty of this, but I also have MT/M&M to show me the error of my ways. It's really not easy for us! Naturally, for high C/D, it's NOT about people. My S = 4, so I think that helps soften me a bit :) I envy and admire high S and I for the people aspect. This is my great challenge.

It probably has nothing to do with trust, he's probably not emotionally invested enough for trust - or a lack thereof. He does notice a difference in the way you work, he just doesn't know why you work the way you do. Unfortunately, he may think that you are ineffective. He's [u]WRONG[/u]. You are way more effective in more important areas (people) than he will ever be able to be. He probably thinks his way is the only way. He's [u]very[/u] wrong.

Now, from my perspective, when you're working with this person: When you need to convey or ask for info, Will said it, a short email with BLUF is best. As long as a request is in context, I don't need to know [u]why[/u] the info is required, and I don't want to receive a long email with back story and history with the question hidden somewhere in the text. I just need to know what you need and when you need it. If I need more info, I'll ask for it - but I generally don't need more info (it's funny, this drives my co-worker nuts!).

If it helps you to frame your questions, think of Who does What When. His job is to make sure some spec is written up, you want to know when it will be finished. "What is the status of the specs for ABC." This may sound abrupt to you, but if I could think of a way of saying it with even fewer words, I would. In your last bullet, he is telling you what he needs from you - "tell me exactly what you want to know."

Before I knew about DISC, this co-worker and I had an argument (much to my everlasting embarrassment) because I needed to know specific values that replaced old values in a spreadsheet - PQR is now BCD. All she had to do was fill in the spreadsheet with the new values that she created. Instead, she wanted to have a 1 hour meeting to discuss! :shock: This was unnecessary to me, I just needed to know what PQR is now!! I recoiled. This may be the reaction you're getting.

I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that since we are the ones who are aware of the DISC model, we are the ones with the responsibility to make it right. My co-workers are not open to yet another battery of tests, so introducing DISC will have to wait until I know it better and can show off this magic. ;)

The most important thing here is that you want to make things better. You don't need him to know what you're doing for that. If you're OK with this, and being the one who has to do what it takes to get what you need, you'll get what you need!

Sorry for the length. If this has been any help at all, good! I'm determined to work through my situation and be effective with my S, too, so I may be asking you (and other high Ss) the flip side!

Peter.westley's picture

Hi All,

You've all been very helpful with your thoughts on this. The big thing for me is to be reminded that it's not about me!

It's about satisfying the needs of the other person, which are after all the drivers behind their behaviour.

.. and of course as if to test me, he's just asked the question again (in an email): "Who asked you to do this?"

Well, no-one asked me to do it. It's called initiative and it's what I'm paid for. But I suspect [i]that[/i] answer is not going to help.

I just have to answer the question and believe tht he doesn't [b]mean[/b] anything by it.