Self-Awareness for Leaders: How to Use DISC to Guide Your Leadership

Self-awareness for leaders is a superpower. One way to jumpstart your awareness journey is to start with a reputation-based behavioral assessment tool like DISC. 

DISC – a model designed to help you understand and expand your own behavioral preferences and those of others. Successful leaders frameworks like DISC to get a sense of their people’s preferences in communication and behavior, as well as their behavioral strengths and limitations. All people have behavioral preferences and all styles can be exceptional leaders. 

As a leader, once you understand your people’s behavioral preferences and HOW they do what they do best, you can learn how to work with them in a way that produces up leveled results. 

On this episode of the Dream Job Podcast with Danielle Cobo, I shared some practical tools and strategies on topics including…

Why is Self-awareness Important?

  • Numerous studies show that leaders with high levels of self-awareness are more effective leaders. 
  • Why is this the case, and why is self-awareness such an important part of leadership success?
  • Self-awareness is having a good understanding of your innermost beliefs, behaviors, and emotions.
  • According to Jen, the first step to developing higher levels of self-awareness is understanding your behavioral types and sources of energy.
  • Understanding your behavior can help you know what you want from certain roles, so you can put yourself in situations where you can thrive.
  • Your team needs you at your best and the easiest way to become good at what you do is to ensure your role aligns with who you are.
  • If you are an introvert but are forced to be in the field meeting people, you are going to be burnt out. 
  • As a leader with a busy life, career, or business, it’s evident that you try to give your best in everything – and this can leave you feeling drained. 
  • After a busy day interacting with people with all types of energies, do you give yourself time to recharge? 
  • What are your thoughts about self-care? It’s not selfish or indulgent that you want to take the day off or spend an evening snuggled up in a big, cozy blanket.
  • You’re important, too. So give yourself permission to decompress and recharge. 

Using the DISC Behavioral Assessment to Guide Your Leadership

  • When working in fast-moving, high-growth teams it can be a challenge to set the work aside and get a better understanding of your colleagues and teammates. 
  • By carving out time to connect and leveraging tools like DISC, teams can get to know one another, better understand and name (not judge or label!) the preferences of folks around them.
  • When we create a common language that is shared within a team, it becomes easier to have hard conversations that get in the way of results. 

Once we know the traits and behaviors of others it’s easier to understand HOW a team member prefers to get their work done and where it might be quite different than your own. Imagine you’re delegating a task to a person who does their work by deeply understanding the process and details and that is not at all your style. In the delegation, you’re able to plan ahead and equip this person with all of the data and detailed information that will help them have their questions answered and move on with confidence. 

Using a tool like DISC allows us to adapt beyond our own behavioral preferences. 

For example, If your preferences are to enthusiastically and easily trust that things are “all going to work out in the end” and you’re working with someone whose strength is employing a more conservative, more logic-based decision-making approach, it may be helpful to A. Understand this person’s preferences and then B. Be able to meet each other halfway. That person might want more time with information before making decisions, you might want to say yes because of a personal recommendation you received from a colleague, or they might want to go deep on the available data and understand every detail before they trust that the “right” decision is being made – all of that is ok! And awesome!  

Knowing this about them (and you!) allows you to anticipate, acknowledge, and, where possible, meet them with empathy or an adapted approach.  


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The Modern Manager | Seattle Leadership Coach | Emotions at Work 26 Jul 2023 Interview: Communicate for Good | Self Care | Leadership 23 Jun 2023 Maximizing Leadership Potential: Exploring the Leadership Circle Profile 360® 21 Jun 2023