Diving deeper into DISC is a smart strategy for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and understanding of others in the workplace.
Let’s look at the I of DISC, Influence, and the pros and cons of high I scores (Direct communicators) and low I scores (Reflective communicators).
What is Influence?
This factor measures how someone handles people and contacts.
What Does High I (Outgoing) Mean?
Outgoing communicators are people-oriented, optimistic, and enthusiastic. They are creative problem solvers and are skilled at negotiating conflict. They want action and intention upfront and tend to strongly believe in their own ideas and dreams. This big picture thinking gives them a unique perspective but can also get in their way.
What Are the Pros of a High I Score?
There’s a reason why high Is are called Promoters! They are incredibly effective at communicating their points of view and can persuade others to see new perspectives. They have the ability to look at the whole problem and can be very conscientious.
Their warm and friendly demeanors mean they have lots of personal contacts and a tendency to make friends wherever they go. To an Outgoing communicator, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet!
What Are the Cons of a High I Score?
While Outgoing communicators see themselves as outgoing and optimistic, that optimism can be viewed negatively by others. Under pressure and stress, others can view high Is as self-promoting and unrealistic.
In more extreme situations, others can interpret their talkativeness as poor listening skills. These perceptions will lead to others not taking Outgoing communicators seriously, undermining their professionalism.
Solution: Invest Extra Attention
If you’re a high I, you can channel your people skills in a productive direction by investing extra attention into active listening. Focus your love of conversation and getting to know others into really diving into their needs and concerns— your attention combined with your fast-thinking and problem solving will make you an unstoppable force in the workplace!
What Does Low I (Reserved) Mean?
Reserved communicators are restrained, controlled, and reflective. They may be concerned with the thoughts and feelings of others but that might not always be apparent in their communication. They prefer to be socially discreet and can struggle to engage with styles very different from their own behavioral style.
What are the Pros of a Low I?
Reserved communicators are logical, precise, and straightforward. Not one to beat around the bush, a Reserved communicator will try to influence people using facts and figures instead of emotion or storytelling, which can make them very valuable on teams of visionaries— someone needs to pay attention to practical details, and low Is are going to ask the hard questions.
Reserved communicators are also very aware of their surroundings, even when in conversation. This alertness and understanding of their environment helps them notice problems before they develop and can help avoid conflict down the road if they communicate about their observations.
What are the Cons of a Low I?
You might have noticed that the benefits of low Is still hinges on successful communication. Reserved communicators aren’t happy about that fact because they rely on others to create engagement and pull a group together. Their tendency to hang back and let others drive forward can cause problems if they have helpful insight but choose not to share.
Low Is can also have high levels of skepticism when it comes to others with higher levels of enthusiasm. A particularly chatty or informal approach can turn them off and entirely disengage them. They also might lean on sarcasm during uncomfortable situations which can lead to conflict and misunderstandings.
Solution: Focus on the Follow Up
As a low I, you’re going to need to step outside of your comfort zone to be successful, but that doesn’t mean you need to force yourself into full extroversion! Your keen eye for detail and ability to break down larger projects is very valuable.
If you’re uncomfortable speaking up in a larger setting, utilize an email afterward to clarify directions and the next steps of a project. Your slower-paced peers will be thankful you spoke up, and you get to speak up on your terms!
Reserved communicators are most comfortable in tight-knit groups, so following up with the people you connect with and strengthening your relationships will pay off in the long run, even if it might be uncomfortable at the moment.
Understanding Influence to Move Forward
Whether you’re a High I or a Low I, the way you influence others will affect every interaction you have. Learning more about your style and the opposite of your style will help you communicate better with others and understand yourself better as well!