Communicating with a D (Dominance) Personality Style

They Get it Done!

Do you work with a D—someone who tends toward the Dominance style on the Everything DiSC Workplace® model? Or are you a D yourself? Even if you have a secondary style—Di (with influence) or DC (with Conscientiousness) you will likely relate to most of the D style characteristics.

Understanding the motivators, stressors, and behaviors that drive D styles to action will help you leverage the strengths and contributions they bring to your teams and your organization. So, let’s take a closer look at your D-style contributors:

  • Always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities, highly-focused and strong-willed Ds are driven to achieve Results. They are willing to do what it takes to reach their goals. Motivated by the need to make their mark, to have authority over projects and processes, they don’t let obstacles get in their way. They keep things moving forward.

 

  • Action is a high priority for D-style talent, making a fast-paced environment that will keep them fully engaged idealStrict rules and protocols stress them out, and they get bogged down by endless and unproductive meetings and inefficient procedures. They like to hit the ground running, assertively promote their bold ideas, and are ready to make quick decisions.

 

  • Independent-minded D-style types also prioritize Challenge. Straight-talking Ds are often the ones willing to speak up—to address the elephant in the room—when they see potential flaws or inefficiencies. Because controlling outcomes is so important, they frequently take a skeptical and questioning approach to ideas they don’t agree with and can come off as somewhat intimidating.

People with a D style are often highly respected by the organization. With their direct, businesslike approach to opportunities and challenges, they are seen as go-getters who deliver. However, sometimes the D style can be intimidating when communicating with other styles. And an overly strong D type may be more outspoken, more in-your-face than is comfortable for others. Their bottom-line results orientation and need to win also may cause them to come off as impatient and demanding. But this communication style brings a lot of strengths to the team, including an ability to keep others focused on achieving results. They tend to move fast themselves and like to keep projects (and others) moving toward the finish line at a pretty fast clip.

Using the Everything DiSC assessment, you’ll find working with a D-style colleague can be very energizing and, alternately, draining—especially when things get tense or sticky problems need to be solved. Here are some potential communication tips to help you relate most effectively with a D-style:

  • Be prepared and candid in expressing your opinion
  • Get to the point quickly and directly
  • Set and clarify goals and objectives
  • Talk in terms of results, not methods
  • Keep an eye on the end-goal, resolving issues with a focus on the good of the team, not a win for an individual

If you are a different personality style, understanding the priorities and strengths of the D style can help strengthen your working relationships. Take into consideration their key motivators—Results, Action, and Challenge—when working together. If you tend to a D workstyle yourself, being more aware will also help you flex your approach to others in order to ensure you’re bringing your best to team interactions.

Watch a D style in action.

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Gwen Voelpel

Gwen Voelpel has 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring leaders at all levels of organizations. She has an undergraduate degree in communications, a graduate degree in public administration, and has served as an executive leader in several organizations. Gwen is an accredited Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitator and a Certified Master in Training for The Leadership Challenge.

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