May 24, 2018 | 4
Minute Read

DISC Uncovered: 5 Reasons Why High-Ds Waste Time

man with gold watch dressed upAccording to the DISC behavioral-styles model, there are four components to a person’s behavior. Those are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness or Compliance. Just about everyone has one style that ranks higher than the others, making it their predominant style.

Those in the Dominance category are defined by taking charge and moving with a purpose. Known for impatience, High-Ds prefer being straight to the point and can occasionally come across as being blunt. Their natural drive propels high-Ds to get involved with many different tasks at once. High-Ds who get overextended in this fashion are likely to fall into the trap of wasting time being involved in too many projects at the same time. The five reasons that follow document the reasons high-Ds waste time and the solutions to overcoming this non-productive habit.


     1.   Lack of a Written Plan

A plan can be as official as an overall business plan, complete with mission, goals, objectives, task requirements and utilization of resources. Or, it can be as simple as writing down daily priorities or weekly goals. Many Ds don’t make the time to create a plan and, as a result, can get disorganized rather quickly.

Causes for not writing a plan include their orientation for action; they want things done now, and don’t want to slow down to construct a plan. Or, their priorities change and what was important thirty minutes ago now takes a backseat to a newfound priority. Some high-Ds take pride in not having a plan, relying on their instincts for accomplishing things. Others like to “go with the flow” and not be hindered by having to write out a daily agenda.

The way to overcome this issue lies in a few simple exercises. Writing down personal and job-related goals, and giving each of these goals a priority, will help create a plan. As an extension of that, writing down a long-term plan based on a person’s values will help create the reason for ensuring completion of these tasks. Replacing constant change with “change-by- design” will help keep a high-D productive rather than working hard on a hamster wheel accomplishing very little.


     2.   Poor Delegation

Poor delegation usually means the inability to discriminate between tasks needing your time and attention and those others are capable of accomplishing. Some high-Ds struggle to give up control, believing if something is to be done right, they better be the ones to do it. Whether that’s a distrust of others abilities or an over-inflated confidence in their own, it hinders them from delegating to their own detriment.

While some high-Ds don’t understand the talents of those around them, others fear the talents of teammates. They don’t want to be shown up. Finally, some high-Ds don’t want to overload others, instead putting an unbalanced load on their own shoulders. While the reasons for non-delegation can be vast, they all put unnecessary stress on the leader who could otherwise be focusing on more important tasks.

Solutions to poor delegation include training and mentoring others and developing a support team. If you as a leader don’t feel others can do something as well as you can, then train them to be just like you. Once they acquire your ability, let them help you get things done. People want to help but they need to be given opportunity if they are ever going to grow within your organization.

While you may have to sacrifice some time today to train others, it becomes an investment in your future. Today’s training will result in tomorrow’s productivity.


     3.   Crisis Management

Crisis management is defined as a management style that is consistently driven by uncontrolled external issues as the preferred method of managing. This style allows crises to precipitate rather than anticipating them and being proactive. In a nutshell, it means a leader is reactionary instead of anticipatory.

Lack of planning is a huge cause of crisis management. Any good leader needs to anticipate things before they surface, to have a plan to overcome obstacles as they appear. It’s no different than driving on the road. You need to have the foresight to anticipate an outcome before it happens so you can be prepared to deal with it.

Some bosses place unrealistic time requirements on people, creating an environment filled with stress. Sure, you want your staff to work hard but you want them to work productively. Give them a reasonable workload with reasonable expectations.

There are those who are always looking for problems to solve, even when there aren’t any. The more a person looks, the more they find. As “problems” are uncovered, the stress level rises in the office.  

Having a well defined operational plan helps to eliminate a lot of stress. Having key “go to” people that are good under pressure will take pressure off the leader. Getting advice from others in the office can help solve problems because different minds approach things from unique perspectives. Finally, delegating authority and responsibility will help create more of a team dynamic and distribute the workload more equitably.

  1.    Firefighting

Firefighting is often defined as being pulled away from priority tasks to answer questions, offer solutions, delegate or solve problem-related minor issues. These issues usually “flare up” quickly and are “put out” just as quickly.

Leaders with high-D personalities are notorious for making quick decisions. Lacking adequate time and information, decisions made on the fly may not be as sound as those made with a little more thought and background information.

Some leaders don’t have standard operating procedures in place and they lack the ability or the desire to delegate. Others prioritize the wrong things.

For a “firefighting” high-D, the best plan is to establish a plan as well as operational procedures for tasks and potential obstacles. Creating objectives will also give some direction and guidance to those having to complete the tasks, freeing the leader from having to undertake more work.

  1.    Snap Decisions

Snap decisions are those decisions that are made too quickly without having all the necessary information. With urgency preventing them from having all the information, jumping into a project too quickly can come with repercussions.

Impatience dominates in the mind of a high-D. They want it done now, or even yesterday. Waiting for more information does not sit well with the high-D; it’s against their nature to slow down. Similarly, the driven D often tries to take on too much, too soon. This person loves to be on the go and in the middle of the action, but often times finds themselves lost in the weeds when they take on more than they can handle. Failing to plan and lacking goals exacerbates this chaotic state.

Asking for input from others will provide different points of view. Establishing a protocol for making decisions before certain decisions have to be made is helpful in establishing a workflow reducing stress. Establishing standard operating procedures and back up plans for potential problems will address these issues before they become problems.


The high-D is full of energy, desire and ambition. With that comes big ideas and a fast-pace. But for every good attribute that comes from these behaviors, the propensity for reactionary responses rises, as does the likelihood of making mistakes and poor decisions.

While a high-D leader will often make a solitary decision and stick with it, it never hurts to get perspective from others to ensure they don’t see something the leader may have missed. While not everything is better when done by committee or team, many times things can be improved with multiple inputs. For a high-D to be successful over the long term, they would be wise to balance their speed, urgency and never-ending drive with a little reflection now and then to ensure they stay on track, delegate properly and involve the talents of their team.

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Dave Clark