Highlighting Stress in the Workplace
Stress is a prevalent and costly problem in today’s workplace and this is just another case that we have come across through one of our Extended DISC consultants.
Bill is a highly skilled motor engineer with a university degree. He has spent many years tutoring at a well known technical institute and is widely respected by his peers.
For obvious reasons we cannot disclose where he is located, but some 12 months ago he decided
that he would apply for a managerial position with a large new car franchise as the remuneration offered was significantly higher than he was earning and he felt that it was time for a change from his academic role.
The CEO of the motor vehicle dealership was impressed with Bill’s academic knowledge and employed him without conducting any behavioural style analysis and without considering how he would fit into the team he would be leading.
The failure to consider Bill’s behavioural style proved to be a vital omission.
Bill took up the new role on 1st January 2010 as the CEO had decided that the quiet time the firm normally experienced during the first couple of weeks in January would give Bill a chance to become familiar with the firm’s systems. His job description was prepared by the CEO during the first week and his main responsibilities involved managing a branch of the company which employed 10 motor mechanics, a small administration staff and 15 sales staff.
The role required a “hands on” involvement being available to help assist in supporting the service department and becoming actively involved in the sales process. The firm had (and still has) a strict budgetry control system which was heavily focused on a sales budget. The budget was, despite difficult trading conditions, considered to be realistic and acheivable.
It had been decided that Bill and the CEO would meet after three months and review the branch’s performance. Unfortunately, despite a lot of hard work and very long hours, Bill had been unable to meet sales targets and the atmosphere at the branch had become uncomfortable with a basic breakdown in communication between management and staff.
Both the CEO and Bill wanted the management role to work and for this reason the CEO then decided to contact a consultant and this is where our involvement began. The advisor was an accredited Extended DISC consultant and he was engaged to provide the CEO on a workable solution to the challenges involved at the branch.
The very first step the consultant took was to obtain Personal Analysis Reports for the entire staff of thirty-two people and he also decided to obtain a report from the CEO as well. Bill’s Profiles are shown above and the very significant movement from his natural behavioural style to his adjusted style is immediately obvious. Several of the staff’s Profiles exhibited stress, insecurity and frustration.
Bill has felt the need to suppress his natural CS style and focus on his D characteristics. This is of course a clear indication of the stress that he was currently experiencing.
The other interesting point in this situation is that the CEO, (whose Profile is below) did not identify the fact that Bill’s management style was bound to be quite different from his during the interview process because he did not realise that the style Bill conveyed at his interview was that of a D style although this was only a small percentage of his unconscious behavioural style.
He obviously decided that the CEO would want a strong manager and this is the impression he left with the CEO; - a typical situation in the recruitment process. The CEO was therefore left with the clear impression that he was a direct, decisive, competitive individual quite capable of managing a group of servicemen and salesmen. He also felt that he would have no difficulty in communicating with him. It will be noted that the CEO shared Bill’s C traits but his D characteristics were much stronger than Bill’s.
Bill had no experience in management and his approach was to become demanding and blunt rather than diplomatic, systematic and conservative which would clearly fit his natural behavioural style as a CS person. This was influenced in no small way by the natural style of the CEO whose adjusted style was focused heavily on his D traits.
The change in Bill’s style caused him very real stress but just as importantly, the team at the branch saw him as difficult to communicate with and the stress was affecting his relationship with them. His effectiveness was diminished because of his stress.
Bill was clearly in the wrong job. The cost to the firm in replacing Bill, and his loss not only in self-esteem but in loss of income if he was to move on was something nieiher party wished to face, but clearly the situation could not continue.
Fortunately this case had a happy outcome. The CEO, recognising now the difference in Bill’s style and understanding from the consultant what the change in his behavioural style meant it created a new position within the organisation, giving him the role of trainer and technical advisor for the group, assisting each service department as a consultant and trainer. No longer did he have to take a dominant role, and the advisory role suited his style. It is fortunate that the company had seven separate locations otherwise the company would not have had a position for him.
The company now uses Extended DISC for all recruitment situations and for retention and motivation of all staff and we are told that they are advocates of the Extended DISC system.
At the risk of repetition, it is worth remembering that an independent study conducted on CEOs, by Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Mellon in the US, found that long-term job success depends 75 percent on people skills and only 25 percent on technical knowledge. Another study done by Harvard University had even more startling results - 85 percent of jobs and promotions happened because of the candidate’s attitude and only 15 percent due to the facts and figures he packed under his belt