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Workers with a dominant or ‘D’ style will thrive in a culture where ‘setting ambitious goals and aggressively pursuing results take precedence over playing it safe,’ the authors say.


Excerpted from Taking Flight: Master the DISC Styles to Transform Your Career, Your Relationships…Your Life by Merrick Rosenberg and Daniel Silvert. Reprinted with permission of FT Press, an imprint of Pearson.

The degree to which people like their jobs is largely a function of the corporate culture in which they work. People spend a significant percentage of their waking lives at work, so matching work environment with style can lead to greater job satisfaction and a more rewarding career. Although no setting will likely satisfy every want or need, there's a lot to be said for understanding the types of environments that bring out our best.

What follows are optimal work environments and general job characteristics that match each style.

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Dominant Style

D's thrive in environments that value big-picture ideas and high levels of accountability for getting things done. Someone high in D energy will thrive in a culture where setting ambitious goals and aggressively pursuing results take precedence over playing it safe. D's prefer settings where candor is considered healthy and constructive conflict is welcomed. An environment that encourages competition can bring out the best in the D's performance.

Although D's often strive for bold strategies that are well executed, they need to be supported by others who will carefully consider the impact of their decisions on the people involved and the organization itself. An environment that supports quick decision-making and a willingness to break new ground will suit D's well.

Interactive Style

Given that I's are enthusiastic, optimistic, and upbeat, they thrive in high-energy, positive work environments. A workplace with low morale can have a particularly devastating effect on an I's job satisfaction. The I's desire to talk and contribute necessitates an atmosphere that encourages group interaction. In addition, I's thrive when empowered with freedom and flexibility. Jobs that require the frequent juggling of responsibilities are well suited to an I's thirst for variety and spontaneity. In fact, multitasking keeps the I's mind active and engaged.

A "command and control" manager will not bring out the best in an I. Likewise, highly structured and formalized settings can seriously stifle an I's talent for motivating others and stimulating innovation.

Supportive Style

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S's are driven by their need for stability. As such, they prefer calm and steady work environments. S's will typically experience significant levels of stress in settings where constant change is the norm.

Seeking harmony in all of their relationships, S's thrive in collaborative workplaces in which people genuinely support each other. S's like to work with those who are sensitive about how workplace changes affect the emotional needs of employees. To an S, a harmonious environment brings out the best in everyone. S's dislike when people are domineering or excessively blunt. An overly candid culture can cause an S to become offended by the words and actions of others and thus lower their overall job satisfaction.

Conscientious Style

C's are detail-oriented and logical and have a relentless need for accuracy. If a culture doesn't reward quality, C's will not be satisfied with their work. As such, they thrive in formalized settings with definable standards and expectations. A highly collaborative, free-flowing, and unstructured workplace would not be optimal for strong C's, as they prefer to work independently and need quiet space to think.

C's also require ample time for analysis before arriving at a concrete conclusion. A fast-paced atmosphere where people spontaneously make decisions based upon intuition and gut feeling would be unsettling and disruptive. C's need to understand the logic behind decisions and therefore will thrive in settings in which managers provide rationale and an abundance of information.

The right style of work environment will supercharge your skills and become a reliable source of vitality in your life. The wrong environment will drain your energy reserves and lead to much stress and conflict for you and your co-workers. So, when looking for a job, remember to consider workplace culture as one of the key criteria to determine if a job or company is right for you. And if you're a manager who helps to create the environment for your staff, try to factor in styles when dealing with each individual.

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