Confidence or Arrogance? The D Style

I think most people have at least one person in their lives who they could say with relative certainty, “Oh yeah, they’re a D style” just based on their level of confidence, and the fact that they are more likely to be forceful, direct, strong-willed, assertive, and results-oriented. The D style is the go-getter, the person who believes strongly in their own ideas and wants to run with it without being challenged by others. Like everyone else, they are motivated by some core needs or values: a need to be strong and powerful, a need for control, to have a big impact, to be ‘on top’, a need to win, and a need for progress. Those needs tell you a lot about a D style person. They do not want to be held back by anything or challenged on their authority and ideas. They want to be successful and show everyone what they are capable of, but more than anything, they need to prove it to themselves.

Like all the styles, D’s have driving assumptions. Unconscious thoughts we assume to be true. The main one for the D style is “I should always be doing something.” Efficiency is their main objective, but that desire to be efficient often translates into a lack of empathy for others. Driving through, not making time for others’ ideas, concerns, or taking the time to understand other people’s perspective. It is not efficient, and is therefore not something that people with the D style typically exhibit naturally. They tend to just be direct and get to the point. While this need for efficiency and to achieve results can be beneficial when it comes to setting goals, it can cause conflict with other team members who do not understand or see a D’s vision.

Further, when it comes to these driving assumptions, for all of us, not just those with the D style, they can cause all of us to carry erroneous ideas about ourselves. For the D style, it may be that they believe “I am valuable because I achieve results” or because “I accomplished something no one else could.” These assumptions are harmful because they cause people to think their value comes from the results they get, rather than from who they are and the value they inherently have. It also causes people with the D style to come across as cold, arrogant, and perhaps even pushy or rude.

Interestingly, the D style is viewed as the most confident of all the styles. In fact, the five things the D style are best at are: 1. Showing confidence, 2. Taking charge, 3. Stretching boundaries, 4. Setting high expectations and, 5. Focusing on results. However, where they struggle is also telling: 1. Showing diplomacy, 2. Showing modesty, 3. Creating a positive environment, 4. Staying open to input and, 5. Maintaining composure. In an effort to achieve results and to be true to their core values, often, they end up alienating people, and creating unhealthy conflict. Most often, those with the D style find that because they are more willing to push for what they want, when an argument occurs, they are usually able to win because the other styles would rather capitulate than continue to fight, even if they believe they are right. While this may seem like a victory for the competitive-minded D who likes to win, it isn’t really a win for anyone, particularly when other ideas and perspectives are being shut out, and the path the D style has taken isn’t really the right one.

As with any idea, the more input and perspective given, the better chance of success and creating an objective that everyone can not only agree on, but be a part of achieving. For the D style, taking a step back, really listening to others instead of bypassing their perspective in the name of efficiency, and considering the feelings of others can help create a positive work environment, reduce the negative conflict in favour of productive conflict, and ensure that those positive traits they exhibit, which we appreciate them for, do not become the things that drive teams apart, away from the D’s core values, and the team’s goals.

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