In my DiSCovering DiSC® workshop – nearly every skit (or panel discussion) created by various DiSC® styles includes a comic send up of BAD MEETINGS.

  • D’s skewer the dreaded icebreaker that has NO relevance to work tasks or results. ⚡
  • S’s embody the frustration of being silenced and overlooked in a meeting and leaving with no clear instructions on how to proceed. 😶
  • C’s question the introduction of cake and birthday celebrations into a team process that is meant to clarify decision-making. ❓
  • i’s….well as we all know, i’s love meetings. They just don’t necessarily always get to the agenda. 🥳

Bad meetings can be a source of frustration for all the styles. But it IS possible to make meetings more productive and harmonious by designing in a way that meets the needs of various styles on your team.

So how can a leader prepare for meeting with individuals with such diverse styles? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use Catalyst™ to review the various styles in your team and openly discuss team member’s preferences for how the group uses meeting time;
  • Align on the purpose of meetings ahead of time and select processes that help to achieve the purpose – this might include meetings of different types (eg. brainstorm, planning, check-in) or using non-meeting technologies to meet the same goal (eg. Slack, Teams, walkby’s or phone calls);
  • Take turns facilitating meetings so that individuals can practice presenting and adapting to other styles;
  • Regularly solicit feedback from team members to assess how meetings are going and where to make adjustments.
  • When onboarding new members – invite their feedback on existing meeting procedures and consider making necessary changes to create an inclusive environment.

Here’s a Cheat Sheet of what each style prefers in meetings:

1. Dominance (D)

Dominance style team members prefer meetings that are efficient, action-oriented, and focused on results. They want to get to the point quickly and may become impatient with excessive small talk. They value directness and want to know the purpose and goals of the meeting upfront. Allow them to take the lead or present their ideas. Be ready for robust discussions, but keep it structured, as they like to stick to the agenda.

2. Influence (i)

Influence style professionals enjoy lively and social meetings that create space for idea generation and exchange. They thrive on recognition and praise – so taking time to acknowledge contributions and appreciate past successes is particularly appreciated. If the agenda provides time for connection, affirmation and idea generation – they can adapt to a concrete structure. But left to their own devices meetings may go long and evolve into broader discussions beyond the stated agenda.

3. Steadiness (S)

Steadiness-oriented individuals desire meetings that are harmonious, supportive and where everyone’s needs are met. They value a warm and friendly environment where everyone feels heard. Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts, and listen attentively to their concerns. Avoid surprises or sudden changes, and provide clear, step-by-step instructions. Building trust is essential, so focus on relationships and cooperation.

4. Conscientiousness (C)

People with a Conscientiousness style appreciate meetings that are well-organized, detail-oriented and don’t include unnecessary fluff. They seek precision and accuracy, so be prepared and punctual. They prefer to make decisions based on data and facts over opinions and emotions, so they benefit from having data and research provided in advance. Keep the meeting focused on the task at hand, and follow a clear agenda. Encourage their analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Let me know how it goes!

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About the Author: Kate Cockrill

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A little about me... I am a social scientist, facilitator, and professional coach. Through my business: Kate Cockrill Coaching, I support mission driven managers and directors with 1:1 career coaching, leadership coaching, team workshops, and retreat design. My clients include leaders in healthcare, education, research and social innovation.

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