They say one should not venture into an open discussion of politics or religion. That said, I will use a recent political reference to set the context for the point I want to share.
It was in the Saturday New York Times, December 8, 2018. The headline reads “As Merkel’s Successor, Her Party Chooses the Moderate ‘Mini-Merkel’.” Germany’s Christian Democratic Union Party had the previous day elected its new leader. She is described as “a moderate centrist with a humble leadership style and wry sense of humor.” In her acceptance speech before convention delegates she reflected on the challenges of her career over the past 18 years or so. “In these 18 years I learned what it means to lead, and that leadership depends more on inner strength than on the strength of your voice.”
I read and reread that quote several times. I ripped the article out of the newspaper, saving it, going back to it from time to time. Inner strength vs. the strength of your voice? One example for “the strength of your voice” is that person in the office with a very dominant behavioral style. They may be bullies or “table pounders”. That’s one leadership style. In my work as an Executive Coach using the DISC behavioral assessment, I’ve come to appreciate that leaders come in all shapes, sizes and styles. DISC is built around four unique behavioral styles – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. We each possess all these dimensions, but one is typically more dominant and defines our style- how we interact with people or in situations.
D measures how you approach problems. A High-D more forceful, jumps in and addresses problems immediately. A Low-D will be more accommodating; thinks things through, asks questions.
I measures how you influence people to your point of view. A High-I more optimistic, excited, persuasive and convincing. If a Low-I, you are more logical, factual, more of a realist.
S measures how you respond to change and pace. A High-S is more steady, thoughtful, methodical. A Low-S is more driving, a multi-tasker, very flexible.
C measures how you respond to rules and procedures set by others. A High-C is more compliant, follows the rules, detail-oriented. A Low-C is more independent, an out-of-the-box thinker.
In the universal language of DISC, there’s no “good” or “bad” style. Being “high” or “low” doesn’t indicate positive or negative traits. Your personal DISC profile indicates your natural and unique behavioral tendencies. Own your style. Understand your style and embrace it. My work as an executive coach is to support clients to understand their style, highlighting both the strengths and opportunities to adapt as situations warrant. In the end, you’ll understand your inner strength and make it work for maximum effectiveness without having to strengthen your voice.