Some employers use behavioural styles to promote self-awareness in the workplace – our preferred ways of working, what comes naturally to us, and how we can adapt. They should never be used in the selection process, but they can help us understand our value in the workplace, or in a team. Therefore, you might find it useful to know more about your behavioural style when considering your career options. What are your natural qualities, and to what extent are you comfortable adapting your behaviour? This can help you understand the types of roles you are best suited to.
It would be unethical for an employer to know your behavioural style and use that alone to decide whether to give you a role. This is because our behavioural styles are not fixed. We all have a natural home base where we are most comfortable, but we can choose to adapt our style when required. So when thinking about the pros and cons associated with each style, don’t treat these as labels. You can also learn to identify other styles and adapt your behaviour to get the most out of your interactions with others.
DiSC have a framework to understand behavioural styles where each style is given a colour. You can find other similar iterations of this framework online too. You might find you are a mix of more than one style. Think of it as a colour wheel – perhaps you are predominantly red but close to yellow, or share some blue and green qualities. Let’s look at what each of the colours signify.
If you have a red behavioural style, you are likely to be confident and comfortable as a leader. Reds get things done and make sure others do too! They can also be competitive and are driven for success. They’re more likely to tell it like it is and they’re not afraid to get straight to the point.
- Pros: enjoy taking control, direct, results focused
- Cons: can come across as bossy and blunt
People with blue behavioural styles are logical and excellent problem solvers. While reds might delegate the work, blues will complete it with remarkable attention to detail. If you’re blue, you’re dutiful, disciplined and likely have great organisational skills.
- Pros: analytical skills, focused, extremely committed
- Cons: can be inflexible and resistant to change
Green behavioural styles are conscientious and people-focused. They prioritise harmony over rules and make decisions that consider other people’s feelings. Greens are conflict-averse and strive to ensure everyone in the team feels respected and supported.
- Pros: interpersonal skills, empathetic, supportive
- Cons: can be ‘people pleasers’ and avoid conflict instead of resolving it
Those with yellow behavioural styles are aptly sunny, bringing fun and excitement to the team. They behave in ways which are spontaneous, free-spirited and they love to point out the positives. Yellows are social creatures who enjoy building relationships.
- Pros: networking skills, charismatic, thinks outside the box
- Cons: can be easily distracted and have difficulty focusing
What’s in it for me?
It can be empowering to recognise what we are naturally suited to, and make career choices around this knowledge. We can also choose to adapt our behaviour when working with others – and hopefully they will adapt theirs too! With this in mind, consider just how much adaptation you could manage in a day-to-day job. For example, I don’t consider myself very analytical and couldn’t look at data all day, but I could do it once in a blue moon.
It’s important to remember that these different behavioural styles are not incompatible with each other. They each have their own value that allows a team to cover all bases. For example, a successful group project will most likely need a combination of more than one behavioural styles. And remember this doesn’t have to mean four individual people, because our behavioural styles are not set in stone – we can adapt and ‘lean into’ other areas when called upon.
Knowing what we are naturally good at, and where we sit comfortably, can help us understand the roles we are best suited to. Adapting our behavioural style can help us integrate in a team, while observing others can help us understand the vast range of behavioural styles and how they benefit the workplace. Finding a job is a two-way process – you should suit the job and the job should suit you too!
Thanks to Debbie Pye for her insights and feedback on this blog.