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As human beings, we often wear our hearts on our sleeves because we share an innate need to be connected to those around us. Each of us has common characteristics and behaviors that affect our tendencies; however, conflict between these characteristics can wreak havoc on the way we communicate and how effectively we work together in a team environment.

I have been studying the DISC Assessment for 20 years, and among all the behavioral assessment tools available, it is my favorite. DISC keeps it simple, sweet and to the point. With a little effort, you can begin to put yourself in your teammate’s shoes and improve the way you interact with them.

The Golden Rule teaches us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The problem with this rule is that not everyone is like you. DISC teaches us the Platinum Rule, which is “do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” In other words, treat others the way they want to be treated. This is the ultimate way to communicate and respect each other’s needs and differences.

The first letter in DISC—D—represents the dominant or driver behavioral style, which is outgoing and task-oriented. The second—I—represents the inspiring or influencer style, which is outgoing and people-oriented, often the life of the party. S stands for the supportive style, which is reserved and people-oriented, often excellent team players. C is the cautious or calculator style, which is reserved and task-oriented, often analytical.

On real estate teams, it’s not uncommon for the team leader to be a strong D type, because that is just what Ds do—they want to be the boss. The strong D needs Ss and Cs to support and create the systems and process that help them achieve their goals. A common problem is that Ds often have the tendency to become “seagull managers” (I’ll let you use your imagination as to what that means). Few things kill team morale more quickly than a nasty seagull manager!

Building team camaraderie using DISC starts with a commitment to really get to know your teammates, and a willingness to apply the Platinum Rule. DISC invites us to pay attention to phrases they use when happy or under stress, how they walk or talk, how their desk is (or isn’t) organized. For example, a high C might have very little on their desk unless it facilitates greater efficiency in doing their job. There will not be anything personal on display. Those who are labeled I, on the other hand, will have their workspace decorated like it’s a party.

Study your own report so you understand more about your own communication style and behavioral tendencies. The more you understand why you do (or don’t do) what you do, the better you will become at understanding members of your team. As a group, you should all be aware of each member’s DISC type and take the time to truly understand them. Genuine connection begins with feeling heard, understood and valued in an organization. Commit to using DISC as communication and management tool, and you will build camaraderie that can turn into a lifetime of loyalty and service.

Sarah Michelle Bliss, coach, author, speaker and real estate trainer with Workman Success Systems, has been in the real estate industry since 1995 and is an original founder at RE/MAX Professionals, where she has been a part of the Nate Martinez Team since 1997. Bliss is currently the director of Agent Development for RE/MAX Professionals in Glendale, Ariz. Over the past 20 years, Bliss has taught locally and nationally, and coached and influenced her peers through team management, agent development and training. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.

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