DISC Assessment - How to Dial Down Your Dominance on Your Team

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on November 17, 2022

Characterized by assertive, competitive and confident traits, Drive personalities – also known as Dominance personalities – are always strong characters in team settings. 

Sometimes, a high Drive personality is exactly what a team needs. But other times, it can cause problems.  

If you’re a strong Drive personality, it’s up to you to manage your assertive, take-charge tendencies to make sure you’re helping, not hurting, the team dynamic. That means being self-aware, reflective and disciplined to ensure that everyone has their say and no one in your team is left struggling to feel seen and heard.

Here are five strategies to manage your dominance on your team and create a supportive environment for everyone.

  1. Focus on self-awareness

If you have a high Drive personality, it’s important to understand your core traits and how you usually act in a team. That means it’s time to take a step back and look at the power you hold on your team and the kind of dynamic you support. 

Chances are, you naturally take the lead in meetings and team environments – but are you listening to others or talking over them? Are you one of the few people who talks in meetings? Is it always the same people speaking the most? How do you create space for others?

Many Driven personalities assume that if someone else wanted to speak, they would. The problem is, it’s not always that simple. For someone who is naturally more reserved and softly spoken like a Support type, it can be extremely difficult to speak up in a room full of high Drive people. It can also be pretty intimidating.

If you’re a high Drive character, try to imagine what it’s like to be the other people on your team. To be a better teammate and a better leader, start with self-reflection.

  1. Ask other people to share

If you’re aware that only a few outspoken and Driven people speak up on your team, then it’s up to you to create space for other people to share. As a high Drive personality, you have the power to command a room. That means you’re the best person to shift the team dynamic and create opportunities for everyone to have their say, even the quietest members of the team.

In meetings, you can do this simply by directing questions at certain people. Politely ask them what they think and encourage them to share their perspectives or ideas. You can give them an agenda before the meeting, too, so they have the opportunity to prepare what they want to say. 

These small acts can have an enormous impact, creating a more collaborative and supportive work environment.

  1. Don’t interrupt others

One of the worst traits of high Drive personalities is their tendency to interrupt other people. This is something you could be doing even without realizing it. When you’re brimming with ideas, it’s tough to wait your turn – but to be a better teammate, you need to give everyone time to say their piece. That means no interrupting!

Research shows that interrupting is also a gender-based issue. Men disproportionately interrupt women compared to other men. A study from George Washington University found that men interrupted 33% more often when talking with women. 

Whenever you’re in a team setting, it’s essential that you’re aware of the dynamics in the room – who gets to talk and who gets interrupted. If you notice yourself or other colleagues interrupting people, it’s up to you to take steps to stop it. 

If you know you struggle with interrupting people, try waiting two or three seconds before you speak. If your colleague is speaking, count to two in your head to let them finish before you jump in. This gives them space to pause and finish their thoughts and means you avoid cutting them off.

When you notice other colleagues interrupting people on your team, you can step up and point out the behavior. A polite comment such as “I think Sarah hadn’t finished her point” can call attention to the interruption and encourage your colleague to wait before sharing their thoughts. 

  1. Listen before you speak

Another really effective strategy to combat interruptions and make sure your Driven personality isn’t becoming disruptive is to listen as much as you speak. Sometimes more dominant individuals think they’re listening when really they’re just planning what they’re going to say next.

To practice active listening, make sure you’re paying attention to the speaker and looking at them directly. Show that you’re listening by nodding occasionally and using small comments like “yes” or “mmm” to show you’re engaged. When they’ve finished speaking, you can reflect on what they’ve said with phrases like “What I’m hearing is…” to paraphrase their point and make sure that you and the rest of the group has understood.

If you can set an example for listening and paying attention in a team setting, you can make a big difference to your workplace, while also getting the added benefit of hearing other opinions and perspectives.

  1. Be strict with yourself

Ultimately, the responsibility for dialing down your dominance on your team starts and ends with you. If you have a high Drive personality type, it’s up to you to make sure you’re not shutting out other people. Your highly confident, adaptable and assertive personality can be a hugely positive force in a team if you learn how to use it effectively.

Be strict with yourself and take steps to manage your dominance by ensuring that you’re listening to colleagues, not interrupting, and encouraging other people to share. It’s also up to you to make sure that any equally high Drive personalities on your team do the same.

Managing your Drive on your team

If you’ve taken a DISC assessment and you know you’re a high Drive personality, it’s important that you’re self-aware and emotionally intelligent when you’re in different team settings. You will easily dominate any team, so you need to set up strategies and systems to make sure that everyone on the team feels valued and heard. 

Teams work best when everyone can work together harmoniously and no one dominates the discussion. It’s your responsibility to create that kind of environment.

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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