Those of you who are familiar with the DiSC model of human behavior know that DiSC is an acronym for four types of human behavior.
And that each behavioral style reacts differently depending on the situation. Understanding the four styles is imperative to confronting conflict in a conscious and effective way, a way that will bring a positive resolution, and work toward enhancing how individuals in your congregation relate to, and work with, one another.
Let’s take a look at those DiSC styles, how each style responds to conflict, and how you, as a leader in your church, can be conscious (and conscientious) in your response to each behavioral style.
D stands for Dominance. You can probably bring to mind those in your congregation who are high D’s pretty quickly! They tend to be a bit demanding, even to the point of becoming aggressive and forceful. They know that their position is right, refuse to bend and will fight for victory!
You appreciate the assertiveness of your D’s and their push for results, but they’re often the cause of that thinning hair and aspirin addiction (see Four Ways to Ease Conflict!)
But, don’t despair! You can work effectively with Dominant congregants. Just make sure that you:
1) Be brief, to the point, and clear on rules and expectations. D’s are independent workers; respect that and use it to your congregation’s advantage!
2) They like to be initiators. Let them initiate when possible.
3) Respect their need for autonomy. Don’t expect your D’s to be overly sensitive to others in your group. It’s not in their nature. They’re not your social butterflies!
Your D’s ARE results-oriented, so make sure they know the ropes, then see what happens!
i means Influence. You know your i’s because they like to be acknowledged for everything they do! That’s because i’s are assertive like D’s, but their goal is not so much to win in the end, but to be noticed and appreciated for what they do. In conflict, the i’s want to be heard, In their efforts to that end, they may get emotional. In fact, they might even surprise you by verbally attacking others.
When approaching your i folks, be sure to:
1) Be informal, relaxed and sociable. Unlike D’s, i’s like to be around others. They appreciate you taking the time to listen. Be light-hearted and humorous!
2) Write down details. They’ll need this to stay on track of what YOUR goal for the congregation is!
3) i’s are vulnerable to rejection, even if it’s simply a perceived rejection. Make sure to give them public recognition for their efforts.
Steadiness is the way for the S behavioral style. S’s focus on feelings and their goal is harmony in the group. They avoid confrontation and want others to be cooperative and agreeable but when conflict inevitably occurs, they tend to surrender while simmering beneath the surface. Very occasionally, they will boil over!
When working with those in the S behavioral comfort zone:
1) Be systematic and consistent with your guidance. S’s have difficulty with deadlines and prioritizing.
2) The S style is resistant to change. Let them adapt slowly, but do let them know how things will be done.
3) S’s, like I’s, do want to be appreciated. Don’t forget to let them know how important they are to you and your congregation!
Those high in Conscientiousness, are justice-oriented. C’s value accuracy and control. In their conscientious use of logic and facts, they tend to forget the contributions of others who might be more emotionally-oriented, and get defensive and resistant if confronted. They want justice. Or to put it plainly, they want to be right!
For C’s, you’ll need to:
1) Be clear on expectations and deadlines. They appreciate your respect and will respond with loyalty.
2) Make sure you value their high standards and attention to detail.
3) Like your D’s, C’s don’t need a lot of socializing. They want to get down to business and appreciate emotionally reserved directions.
Making a truly conscious effort to manage conflict by using these simple steps will help you and your congregation work more effectively, successfully, and peacefully, together!
Now don’t forget, everyone has a little bit of each behavioral style within them. But knowing which style is dominant in an individual can make a real difference in how your congregation works together. That’s where prayer comes in. Ask God to guide and direct your thoughts and intuition.
But if you get it wrong, give me a holler and let’s see what we can figure out together! You might also like to get yourself a coach, join a supportive group with built-in accountability and start creating a breakthrough in your congregational culture. If that’s the case, then the DiSC and Discipleship Group Coaching Program could be just right for you!
Blessings on the journey, my friend!
P.S. DiSC is registered trademark of Inscape Publishing/Wiley.