Whether you feel like you’re giving one hundred percent to your job or struggling to get your footing at work, mistakes happen. But what if you’re forever making poor decisions that impact your overall work performance? What if you feel like you’re always distracted, overwhelmed with data, stuck in analysis paralysis, not getting the input you need or something else is happening that’s detrimental to good decision-making? What then?
The good news is that consistently good decision-making is a habit that can be learned like any other habit. The first step is to identify what you’re doing wrong and why. That’s where your DISC type comes in.
Haven’t taken the DISC yet? Take our free assessment here.
How your DISC type determines your work style
Your DISC assessment results give you a primary type — Drive, Influence, Support or Clarity. Most of us are one of those types or a combination of two types, giving 12 different DISC styles in total which you can read about here.
Each DISC type and subtype has its strengths, blind spots, habits and motivations which can both help and hinder decision-making. Leaning into your strengths generally allows you to make the best decisions. But you may be self-sabotaging if you allow yourself to be influenced by your blind spots without thinking through the consequences.
For example, someone with my DISC type, Support, might be so focused on maintaining a harmonious team environment that they side with the majority opinion even though they know it's a bad idea. Support types could make poor decisions because they’re too accepting of others, thus placing trust in those they shouldn’t trust or keeping quiet when they should be adding their voice.
To outmaneuver poor decision-making, you first need to know the traps that you could be falling into based on your DISC type. Here are some common reasons why you may be making poor decisions, plus some tips to help you achieve a better balance.
Drive: Mistakes happen when you move too fast
If you have a Drive DISC type, you focus on tasks and getting things done. You like to be in control and have a perpetual forward motion that can cause you to act before all the information has come in. Results matter to you most, so you also can be quite competitive. While this quick-acting style often works in your favor, you can make bad decisions when you:
- Don’t listen to others and miss important information.
- Argue with higher-ups, which can be grounds for insubordination.
- Decide it’s okay to ignore routines and rules in favor of your own "better" way of doing things, which can get you a write-up.
- Take too many risks without considering all the angles or planning ahead.
- Are critical of – and thus ignore – your more cautious or slow-moving co-workers.
- Refuse to admit you made a mistake
How to make your Drive work for you, not against you:
- Consult others before taking big risks.
- Actively seek out other perspectives to get a sense-check on ideas and uncover other approaches that may work better for the team.
- Instead of ignoring the rules, take time to reflect on why they exist. Discuss areas where you think efficiencies can be made with your boss before implementing them.
- Acknowledge your mistakes. It isn’t easy, but it will earn you respect.
Influence: Poor decisions arise from too much networking and not enough doing
Influence types are outgoing, persuasive and people-oriented. Your primary drive is to connect with others around you and influence them to succeed. Relationships are everything to you — you love being the person on the team everyone comes to for an injection of ideas, enthusiasm and confidence. Where you struggle is in following through on your many plans and projects. Influence people can make poor decisions when you:
- Focus more on creating good relationships than getting the work done.
- Fail to enforce rules as a leader or manager.
- Take on too many projects at once, so none of them gets done right or on time, which has consequences for other members of the team.
- Allow yourself to be distracted by shiny new ideas, instead of staying focused on what matters most.
- Create drama for the sake of “shaking things up.”
- Try too hard to persuade co-workers with opposite opinions that they are wrong.
How to make your Influence work for you, not against you:
- Enforce the rules, even when it hurts.
- Learn to balance networking and work. Learn to say "no" if you already have too much on your plate and commit to following through.
- Be aware of how your enthusiasm affects those around you. While it’s great to keep things lively, know when it’s time to be serious.
- Be open to compromise and other opinions. When you try too hard to prove your point, it can create an unhealthy environment. Not everyone will share your perspective.
- Accept that no news is good news. Don’t instigate drama when there isn’t a problem.
Support: Poor decisions are born from not speaking up
Support DISC types are reliable, helpful and patient. Your strength is in making sure everyone is on board and working together. The caveat is that you can get stuck in analysis paralysis, or fail to make decisions at all because you’re waiting for feedback from others or are worried about the impact a decision may have on others. You can make bad decisions when you:
- Put your team’s needs ahead of the project’s objectives.
- Take too long to make a decision, which annoys others on the team.
- Refuse to accept or adapt to workplace changes (even good ones).
- Let your fear of taking risks keep you from pursuing good opportunities (such as applying for a promotion you deserve).
- Are too meek and fail to stand up for yourself, so others take advantage or your valuable opinions go unheard.
How to make your Support work for you, not against you:
- Accept that quick decisions have their place. You can’t always wait weeks to decide.
- When good but risky opportunities arrive, get support and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to take a leap.
- Practice speaking up in a group and don’t be afraid to hold your ground, even if it means disagreeing with the majority.
- Be mindful of how your desire to please impacts the outcome. You don’t always have to say yes – your team will respect you for politely disagreeing when necessary.
- Be clear on your personal boundaries. Some people will try to use your kindness to their advantage and that can cause you to make decisions you don’t feel good about or take on more work than you realistically can handle.
- Talk to your closest coworkers for support against unfair treatment. It’s okay to say something is wrong.
Clarity: Poor decisions come from being stuck in your head
Clarity DISC types are conscientious, detail-focused and spend a lot of time analyzing information. You prize structure and have a system for everything, so when you do your work, you have it down to a systematic, detail-oriented routine. While you strive for high quality in your career, you can make poor decisions when you:
- Are too inflexible in your plans.
- Ignore a better approach because you insist your way is best.
- Stay in your comfort zone at all costs, even when given an excellent opportunity to stretch yourself.
- Look at the details instead of what the big picture calls for and thus miss the whole point.
- Struggle to communicate with co-workers or bosses when you’re uncomfortable with something.
- Avoid networking, even when it could advance your personal development and your career.
How to make your Clarity work for you, not against you:
- Practice spontaneity in your methods and stay open to trying different approaches that might be more efficient.
- Don’t box yourself in. Your comfort zone is there to be broken once and a while.
- Remember all details add up to a big picture. Examine the end goal and the main point first and let the details branch out from there.
- Speak out when you feel uncomfortable. Go to your boss or HR if you need to address a workplace problem. Don’t feel trapped and unable to speak up.
- Try to network once and a while. You hate it, but remember it can help your career.
Succeeding at work with your DISC in mind
Everyone makes poor decisions at work, but how you learn from them matters. Analyzing and understanding your DISC type can help you identify your workplace behaviors and what drives you to succeed, as well as what drives you to underperform. Think about how you can make changes to avoid repeating mistakes, and don’t be afraid to ask for a sense check or create a support system among those around you. With patience and a better understanding of yourself, you can make consistently better decisions in the workplace.