At the heart of every meaningful, productive relationship exists TRUST. Building trust with one another is critical to creating an effective team. But clearly these past months have been a trying time for teams. The pandemic has eroded and perhaps even fractured trust. Even in those companies where there was a culture of trust prior to the pandemic, it has likely been damaged.

What we have found is that trust can only happen when team members are willing to be completely vulnerable with one another. And it doesn’t matter if it is face to face or virtual. Being authentic and vulnerable allows for team members to feel that their peers’ intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around each other.

Trust can be built by using the DiSC model. When people understand others preferences and behaviors, there is a greater respect for adapting and working hard at maintaining a better relationship. Focusing on what a person prioritizes and how to best communicate with them is key. Knowing what behaviors to avoid can build a more trusting relationship.

We know that we are hard-wired to trust those who are most like us and distrust those who are different. And at times of high stress, we are more attuned to differences than we are similarities. When we are under stress, it is more difficult to exhibit flexibility and stretch to our under-utilized behaviors.

Here are some ways to practice using the DISC model in everyday work.

  • Teach leaders and managers to use DiSC at the beginning of a meeting Ask team members how they are seeing their own styles this play out in their day to day interactions.
  • Have people do a comparison report with someone of the opposite style (i.e. pair someone with a D style with someone who has an S style or someone who has a C style with someone with an i style) and ask them to focus only on those areas where they are most similar.
  • Do a quick review of DiSC styles and ask team members to talk about what they value in each of the other styles or more specifically in a team member of another style. This helps reduce judging, which is a big trust buster, and increase the ability to value differences.
  • Discuss others who are difficult to work with. It can include other employees, clients and even significant others. It will help them to practice “reading others”. Come up with ways to work more effectively with this person.

Incorporating DiSC into one’s everyday life will help us to not only create a foundational language in one’s work culture but also allow people to see the world from their perspective. By understanding DiSC, we can work more effectively together and thus create a more trusting environment.