Thursday, October 30, 2014

Motivating Employees - Part 4 - The Dominance-Style Employee

As we wrap up Motivation Month at Industrial Solutions, I want to talk about ways to motivate the D-style employees in your organization and on your team.  As a D-style myself, I suppose I could claim that I saved the best for last, but that really is not the case. Each style brings with it a set of strengths and particular challenges, and the D-style is no different. For instance, one of my colleagues recently indicated they would not particularly enjoy being part of a team that is "High-D", but on the other hand, they would love a lot of D-style employees on the team they were managing. As we look at the D personality style, I think you might see why someone could come to this conclusion.

Motivating a D-style employee is really not the issue, preventing them from becoming frustrated and de-motivated is the larger concern.  Persons with the D-style tend to prioritize getting immediate Results, taking Action, and Challenging others and themselves. These team members want to see things get done and are often forceful in their attempts to ensure the organization is driving toward their goals. Authority and power are often motivators for them and you will often see them focusing on success and winning. The D-style tends to be competitive and self-confident. In order to motivate your D-style employees, give them room to navigate and authority to direct. They want to be part of decision making activities and will like when the organization makes a decision and begins to implement. These employees will appreciate goal-oriented communication and welcome ways to measure progress. As such, you will not often need to add motivational efforts to get these employees to take action and push themselves and the organization forward.

On the other hand, D-style team members can become impatient when decisions are not made quickly. They can become disappointed at the time it can take an organization or individuals to come to the same conclusions they do. They may complain about the organization being "all talk and no action". They can get frustrated with a lot of social interaction, as this is often a challenge, or limitation, for people with the D-style. These team members often take charge and if they are prevented from leading, or are not included in decisions, they can feel as if they are not part of the team.

Sometimes, D-style employees can be considered a bit too decisive and you should encourage their decision-making, but help them not to run too far ahead of the rest of the group. They can become impatient at a more thoughtful approach, as they are used to being able to rally support around their ideas and attract followers. If your organization tends to be more people-minded and less action-oriented, you may be able to benefit from your D-style employees, but you will also have to help them adjust to a more deliberate approach in your business.

If your organization tends to be more affirming or inclusive, this also may create challenges for your D-style team members. Helping them to learn the value of collaboration, sharing with them your values regarding caring for employees, and allowing them to participate in determining ways to show others appreciation and respect can help the D-style grow and learn to appreciate these other priorities.

Organizations are not always led by people with the D-style, but often times D-style individuals are leaders within their organizations. Their natural take-charge approach can be a huge benefit to your organization. Your D-style teammates will push your organization to achieve the goals you have set and you can use their drive and determination to accomplish great things.

I hope during this series you have gained a bit more understanding about the four primary personality styles as defined by the DiSC Personality Profiles.  If you'd like to use DiSC assessment with your team, or participate in one of our "Building Great Teams @Work" Workshops, contact me at 630-403-8326 or send an email to  You can also get more information at my website:!healthy-organizations/c1j0t.


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