Do You Know What Motivates Your Employees?

If you look around at your team, it’s probably easy to see that each person has a unique personality. They may have altered that personality slightly to fit the current environment, but if you carefully observe their behaviors each day, you’ll begin to see the underlying personality traits that make the person most comfortable. Using the respected DISC behavioral style, you can even improve your results by identifying whether an employee’s style is Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, or Compliance.

One of the most important ways to use DISC is in determining exactly how you can motivate your employees. What works for one team member won’t work for all, so it’s important to understand how each type of employee responds best.


A dominant personality is task-oriented, so it’s important to motivate using direct communication. Don’t micromanage this personality type. One of the best things you can do is describe the end goal and find ways that you both can benefit from reaching that goal. A dominant personality type may passionately disagree with you, but it’s never personal.


This personality type is a people person, often working best when surrounded by people. This team member can be your biggest asset, serving as a motivator to the other people on the project. Try to find ways to get this person excited about what you’re doing. If there is conflict on your team, this personality can also be great at working that out and getting everyone back on track.


Sudden change makes this personality type uncomfortable, so it’s important to communicate in ways that provide assurance. This will be one of your hardest workers, but you’ll need to give these personality types the freedom to work at their own pace. Your motivational efforts need to be steady and consistent. Gentle reminders and well-defined deadlines work better than emergency meetings and last-minute assignments.


A compliant person is very organized and prefers expectations to be clearly outlined. This personality actually thrives on timeframes and action plans, so work this to your advantage. Motivation should be based on reaching those deadlines and following company policies, with everything backed up in writing.

Although catering to individual personality types will require extra work on your part, it will be well worth it when you see your projects moving as planned. As you observe individual behaviors in your team, you’ll gradually develop communication patterns that get far better results than one-size-fits-all communication strategies.

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