If you’re a D-Style leader, here’s what your team is really thinking

May 15, 2023
Image by Antoni Shkraba production from Pexels

Let’s talk about the assumptions that can get managers in trouble.

In the DiSC model, “D” or dominant style managers are direct, firm, and strong-willed.

Here are some common ones that D-style managers sometimes make:

  • I’m the manager—people need to adapt to me
  • Praise should be used very sparingly
  • I don’t need to be tactful if I’m being honest
  • I can’t show weakness or vulnerability
  • People are getting paid—they don’t need morale building
  • I’m the best suited to make most decisions
  • It’s fine to use a little intimidation to get things done
  • People who need emotional support are expecting coddling
  • I should be the one in control
  • If we get results, that’s what matters
  • Everyone should be as driven as I am
  • I’m the manager—it’s ok if I lose my temper
  • I can’t slow down

These assumptions can have unintended consequences for their team, including people thinking:

  • We’re burned out
  • We don’t dare challenge the boss
  • We don’t take risks to innovate
  • We waste energy covering our butts
  • We hide our mistakes
  • We don’t trust the organization

If this is you, acknowledging your D-style communication traits will help you recognize that not everyone shares your sense of urgency.
Appreciate the value of empathy in leadership. By understanding other perspectives, you may find that you can often get better results in the end by showing compassion in the moment.


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