Keeping employees engaged is key to retention. Employees who work in an atmosphere where their needs are met are empowered to do their best work. One effective way to create a motivating environment conducive to productivity is by paying attention to your employees’ styles.

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“The manager needs to look at the employee… as a person to be understood,” writes Nigel Nicholson, professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, who has studied business organizations and advised entrepreneurs for over three decades. He also states, “To motivate an employee to work toward your goals, you need to take a judolike approach: Find the person’s locus of energy and leverage it to achieve your ends.”

The Everything DiSC assessment is an effective tool that will help you gain insight into your employees’ individual styles and their locus of energy. There are four basic styles: D, i, S, and C; and each style is unique in how they are motivated.

DiSC Styles and What Motivates and Demotivates Them

D style

Employees with the D style have a high drive for success or achievement. They love a competitive setting, working with difficult tasks, and being given the freedom to take the initiative in solving problems. They like a fast-paced environment, working independently, and being recognized for their efforts.

What Motivates the D style

The D personality values acknowledgment. Acknowledge the value they bring to the organization, and recognize and reward their efforts directly. Give them more responsibility and allow them to work independently. Create a work environment that fosters healthy competition among teams or employees and assists them in setting challenging goals. Because details bore them, it is critical to explain the big picture of new projects without going into details.

What Demotivates the D Style

To create a motivating environment for employees with the D style, avoid the things that will undermine your efforts. D’s dislike:

  • Repetitive tasks
  • Being micromanaged
  • Having to explain project details to others
  • Losing their authority

i Style

Employees with the i style thrive in environments that are fun, vibrant, and bustling with energy. They respond well to collaboration with others. They also thrive in an environment that is filled with positive emotions like encouragement and recognition. They also enjoy variety and fast-paced projects.

What Motivates the i Style

Because they enjoy working with others, give them room to create teams and collaborate with others. Allow them to mingle and build relationships. Be generous with your praise for their efforts and acknowledge them publicly. Make the repetitive work they must do a minor component of the overall process if it is necessary.

What Demotivates the i Style

To create a motivating environment for employees with the i style, avoid the things that will undermine your efforts. For example, they dislike:

  • Working independently
  • Working on tasks that are slow-paced or repetitive
  • Not receiving praise or acknowledgment of their efforts and contributions
  • A working setting that encourages criticism and conflicts

S Style

The S personality thrives in a relaxed, organized setting. They also enjoy working in a collaborative environment. They are excellent listeners and prefer to work at a moderate pace that is not rushed or deadline-driven.

What Motivates the S Style

Because collaboration and working as a team are important, let them know how their contributions impact the organization. Give them praise, but they don’t put them in the limelight. Give them the “big picture” and the rationale behind their assigned tasks, and allow them time to deliver the best results. If there are changes, inform them well in advance. Provide them with timely feedback and let them know you trust that they will deliver results.

What Demotivates the S Style

To create a motivating environment for employees with the S style, avoid the things that will undermine your efforts. For example, they dislike:

  • Being forced to make quick decisions
  • Changing course abruptly
  • Being in the limelight
  • Being in a chaotic situation

C Style

Employees with the C style love environments where they will have ample time to analyze ideas because they want to produce flawless results. Their desire to churn out excellent output makes them work at a steady pace and exercise caution when performing tasks. They are perfectionists, and they prefer to take an objective view of a situation, gather all the details, and consider all the viable alternatives before making decisions. Additionally, because they want to be the best at what they do, they often challenge assumptions to ensure accuracy.

What Motivates the C Style

Employees with the C style prefer to work alone rather than in groups. Make your instructions to them as clear and specific as possible. Listen to their perspectives on the tasks they are performing and give them the time they need to do complete their tasks accurately. Ask them to be responsible for establishing work standards. Praise them for their dedication to excellence by providing specific examples of their work.

What Demotivates the C Style

To create a motivating environment for employees with the C style, avoid the things that will undermine your efforts. For example, they dislike:

  • Being given vague instructions
  • Being told to overlook mistakes or having to make snap decisions with incomplete data
  • Not having the time needed to complete the task accurately
  • Dealing with intense emotional outbursts

Motivating your employees: The Bottom line

Motivating your employees will create the environment that they need to succeed. It will also project you as a supportive manager they enjoy working with.

Do you want to learn more about motivating your employees based on their individual styles? The Everything DiSC Management profile will help you learn more about your management style as well as equip you with the insights you need to motivate your employees based on their individual styles.