Manage Difficult People Challenges with DISCerning Communication


How To Use DISCerning Communication To Deal With Difficult People Challenges

Here is a different strategy for relating to difficult people.

Firstly, appreciate that many difficult situation challenges are really DISCerning Communication issues. The difficulties are largely a clash of behavioural styles.

When we recognize that difficulties are a conflict of behavioural preferences we are able to apply proven strategies to resolve them. However, if we tie the difficult situation challenges to the individual then it is more challenging to find answers.

A Map of Behavioural Preferences  

Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC)

BehaviouralStyleCharacteristics_beyondThe Four_v270514

To get a better sense of how behavioural styles confuse communication we take a few examples from Dominant Style traits.

Others interpret “Direct” as blunt, undiplomatic and insensitive

“Decisive” gets translated as rash and reluctant to conduct proper analysis

“Independent” is viewed as being selfish and not a team player.

What happens when we use DISCerning Communication?

Let Don represent Dominance and Susan represent Steadiness and examine their perspective on “Direct”.

Johnny (colleague) has a problem with body odour. Don’s approach is to place his arm around Johnny’s shoulder and speak directly to the BO challenge advising that this brand of deodorant could solve the problem.

Susan reflects for a long time on how to get the message across to Johnny without hurting his feelings. Finally, she devices some subtle approach to give Johnny a hint.

Susan thinks Don’s approach is insensitive. It will hurt Johnny’s feeling.

Don thinks Susan’s approach takes forever while she devises her diplomacy. In the end, Johnny might even miss the message.

This brings their communication to a difference of approach rather than a personal issue.

We can disagree but it is on the grounds of approach not annoying personal flaws. We open our minds to the possibility that there may be an alternative point of view. There is a tendency to be less emotional in those circumstances.

Let us review an Inducement-Style case

Team members who have a preference for the I-style are often simultaneously the source of great pleasure and immense frustration.

Reliability is the major issue for others.  “But you said you would……” is a recurring phrase.

Here is a radically different perspective that might save you from pulling out more hair.

Our DISCerning Communication skills inform us that a feature of the I-Style is the desire to please. They seek success with and through people.

Given the need to please others, there is a tendency to say “Yes” readily.

There is also their need for interaction.

Let’s use Ivan as an example. You ask him to do you a favour and he says “Sure.” What are Ivan’s realities?

He has a full time job, is President of his Citizens Association, Vice President with responsibilities for Member Issues at his Service Club, enrolled in evening classes…….. Honestly, where would Ivan find the time to carry out your favour?

The bottom line is that people using the I-Style have a tendency to over-commit.  Their desire to please and to connect makes them want to serve. We poke fun at Ivan by noting that when he says “Consider it done”, he instantly considers it as having been done.

How does DISCerning Communication help?

  1. Take care to have Ivan clarify if his response is Yes (meaning I would like to help) or a genuine commitment to completing your task.
  2. Discuss implementation so that the issue is moved from the surface.
  3. Establish deadlines.
  4. Put reminders in place.
  5. Monitor progress.

DISCerning Communication makes a difference.


These principles are also incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People program.

SHRMThe program is accredited by SHRM and offers 16 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications. It involves over 16 facilitator-led, interactive hours of coaching plus 12 months of access to Online Courseware, e-Mail Consultation, Webinars and an exclusive Facebook Community.

Learn more at info[at]

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy.




Where Did The Time Go?

Where DidTheTimeGo_selfcreated


Where Did The Time Go?

That expression is usually rhetorical. But, do you really know where your time is going?

If you are a normal human you can identify with that question. Sometimes we check the time and are struck by how quickly it has passed.

I recommend that you conduct an audit of how you spend your time. That action is one of the most transformational activities that you can undertake.

We hold mental images of who we are and what is important to us. However, it is what we do that defines us. How we spend our time is what gives us our true identity.

This time audit will expose the real YOU.


What is involved?

The requirement is that you track how you use each 24-hour day for 30 days.

The intention is not to place an additional burden on your time. Consequently, avoid using methods that take a lot of time.

It is important that you record events and activities as close as possible to their occurrence. Do not sit at night recording what you recall about the day’s activities.

You will get an amazing bonus from recording who initiates each action. Note down who made the contact or who gave the assignment. Slip in the nature and duration of each activity.

Here is one value of identifying who is involved in your activities – especially those initiated by others:

“Interruptions” are identified as one the major challenges to be overcome by my Time & Task Management participants. In many instances, the principal culprit is a supervisor who considers herself to be super-efficient. Reduce top-down interruptions with this strategy.

Some supervisors are guilty of blurting. Here is an example of blurting in action:

Jane starts her day by going through her incoming mail and To Do List. As she goes through she takes immediate action.

Item 3 requires John to do something. Jane summons John.

Item 5 involves John. Jane contacts John. And the process continues.

While Jane is being seemingly efficient, she is making it difficult for John to manage his time effectively. Organizations suffer badly from poor TIME TEAMWORK.

We must function as teams and the focus should be on how the team uses its time and not just the individual.

The time audit is the perfect antidote to blurting.

John might not have the luxury of telling Jane that she is negatively impacting his productivity. However, he could refer to this article and its recommended time audit exercise.

He can share from the audit the frequency, duration and content of his contact with Jane. He could translate that into dollars using his rate of pay x 2.

If Jane is a worthy team leader, the information should make compelling reading. The parties could then agree to meet at specified times during the day. Any issue that arises in between meetings will be held until the next session. Jane’s blurting would have been moderated.

Of course, Jane does not have the monopoly on interruptions. John’s time audit will identify the interactions that he has on a regular basis. He can then determine if that is the most effective use of his time and make the necessary adjustment.

True You

The Time Audit adds another dimension to self-discovery. It will highlight whether your professed commitments are supported by concrete action. It points to habits good and bad that have entered into your reality.

I strongly urge that you complete this 30-day, 24-hour audit of how you spend your time. Who, what, how often and how much are all laid out for your review and decision-making.

As an added incentive for men, John can also use the audit to highlight to his wife the absence of certain activities. Wives will point to the need for more quality time together.

BOMDAS followers we are at Addition: Brackets|Of|Multiplication|Division|Addition|Subtraction.

Access the series here: Enter in search: Outlook Trevor E S Smith

Register now for the SHRM accredited 3-D Leader Certification course. November 6 & 7. Kingston/face-to-face.

The next cohort of the ICF/SHRM accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award will be January 2016.

E-mail: info[at]

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.


A 3-Step Plan To Increase Your Influence


Here is a sure fire way to increase your influence in any sphere of operation.

Read more…


Tough Minds For Tough Times

Tough Minds For Tough Times


Tough Times





Someone brought into focus the idea that a major flaw in our make-up is the tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions there is a strong temptation and tendency for us to choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering with glee.

Yet James would have us turn our world upside down:

James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This issue took over my thoughts when I saw someone on TV going across a narrow bridge with no guard rails over a deep gorge. A fall would lead unquestionably to death. I found myself thinking that I could not do that. I could not walk across – I would be too scared.

That prompted a swift chastisement of my mind for that kind of negative thinking and inspired the view that we have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to run wild without firm control.

James 3 vs  3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. The bit there is what we call today a bridle.

I think we underestimate the power that we walk around with at the top of our bodies. We lose sight of how trainable our minds are. I actually did some research on breaking in a horse. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain the trust of your horse. Having a personal relationship with your horse is imperative in building trust with him, leading to training later on. Spend time with your horse everyday, starting with just being near him.

Our minds have been dominated by the impostor self that Christ has told us to deny. In same way that you can’t just throw a saddle on a wild stallion, we need to approach this mind taming process systematically.

The first stage then would be to spend time truly discovering on a daily basis what is going on in your mind. Get to really know who you are – mentally. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. Horses are powerful and you need to be careful around them.

Well, you are about to change the behaviour of a mind that has been carefully groomed by forces that will not easily see their investment go to waste. If you get over-confident and careless during the exercise you could experience a backlash.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  1. Take it one step at a time.Breaking a horse is a slow process. You have to fully make each step a habit before moving on to the next step.

As we go about regaining control of our minds and bringing them under subjection we should start with micro-steps.

Your rational true self decides that you should get up and go and exercise.  Impostor self pulls the cover back over your head.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about not conforming to the world. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

You know that you are falling behind in reading the Bible in a year but every part of said body suddenly starts hurting you and your eyes are now burning like fire. Clearly, there is no option but to go to bed and hope you feel better the next day.

Read what Paul says we need to do about bodies who think they have a mind of their own:

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. 26 That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

We have allowed ourselves to grow soft and we need to toughen up in order to get ready for the challenges that life throws at us.

We have to track down every “can’t be bothered”; every “I don’t feel like it”; every “it is too much trouble”; all “it’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Turn bright searchlights on “I know this not so right but…”

Some of our minds are galloping downhill like a runaway stage coach.  We have to rein them in before it is eternally too late.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Like with the training of the horse you should not move on until the new habit is formed.

As you go through the process of looking into thoughts, words and deeds identify things that you would be better off without. Aspire to be a better person.

Did you catch yourself envying someone?

Is selfishness lurking within? What about jealousy? Maybe arrogance, unjustified levels of stubbornness. Are you guilty of being disrespectful when you are holding the handle?

This exercise in saddling, taming and reining in our minds is a great opportunity for spring cleaning.

But training is not only about bad habits.

We can also aspire to develop our minds in new, positive directions. We can expand our horizons.

What about working to develop a spirit of bravery… consider the early church

Or your capacity to deal with major challenges – Job

Or to offer wise counsel – Major prophets

Or to show compassion – Joseph

With God’s guidance we can bend our minds to be what we want them to be. Let us stop settling for less than we can be.

Let’s take this to another level. Show jumpers don’t just turn up at the show ground and expect to get through the course without penalty. Horse and rider spend hours in preparation.

We cannot expect to clear life’s obstacle course without adequate preparation. We have to get our minds ready for the challenges that we will face in life.

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

James took care to show us what is possible for us.

James 5: 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

It all comes down to the bridling of our minds to get them to do what they need to do. Rein in our minds and life can take on new meaning. Let us toughen our minds as we prepare for tough times.

Decide right here right now to work on one mind building project. Over the next 60 days you are going to have a new habit manifest itself in your life.

Transformation projects work more effectively when you declare them to at least one person who will hold you accountable.

Work on any area of your life. In fact, it might be best not to take on too challenging a task initially. Start out with something that you can ace and build on that success.

  1. Never get angry is the next step in breaking in the horse.

The suggestion is that yelling and beating the horse pushes back the trust and bonding that you have been working to develop.

One huge challenge in moving to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst of anger directed at ourselves resonates at the subconscious level and actually has the opposite effect of what we desire. What stands out is that we are clumsy or careless or stupid. Not that we could be a little more attentive, careful or thoughtful.

A calm yet firm and consistent prodding in the right direction will get best results.

Remember that you are the champion of taking special care on stairs.

Or the empowering question version: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry sometimes also has the effect in causing us to abort the process. We give up frustration because we can’t deal with the constant annoyance. Taming the beast requires patience and long-suffering. Make progress slowly but steadily. Only never quit!

  1. Reward successes. Giving the horse positive reinforcement is very important in bringing about the desired change.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults and berating them about their shortcomings.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

If the horse goes off track, using the rein and applying pressure with the knee can help them to correct course.

Similarly, if you missed out on completing a task you could reinforce the need for compliance by cutting out your favourite cable show and doing it then.

Tough times requires tough minds.

Let us stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Let us work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

If you have not put on Christ in baptism that is an excellent project. Make that decision now and we will work to bring your project to completion.








Why I Fake It….



He Does Not Listen


Embarrassment Exposed!

Nobody likes to experience embarrassment. Yet, it seems to be part of the reality for most of us.

Embarrassment impacts some people more than others. Some individuals with self-esteem challenges actually curtail interaction with others so as to avoid experiencing embarrassment.

One common error with respect to embarrassment is the notion that someone can embarrass you. We say to our children, “Don’t embarrass me in public!”

The reality is that embarrassment takes place when what is revealed is not in keeping with the image we try to or want to present.

The child’s unruly behavior causes us to choose to be embarrassed because we would like to portray the image of a parent who is able to properly discipline our children. If that were to be true then the episode would not be occurring or would it?

If we accept the reality that our kid behaves in this socially unacceptable way in private and in public then we are faced with another reality. If further, we accept that we are at our wits end working to correct this behavioral issue, then we are better served by seeking help than by being embarrassed. Being embarrassed reflects a sense of “Oh, no! I have been found out.” It produces a sense of shame.

There is a subtle difference between accepting the need for corrective action and being embarrassed – feeling ashamed.

For example, one parent will use the temper tantrum display to reinforce their commitment to getting help if necessary to correct the behavioral challenge.

The parent who chooses the route of embarrassment, either puts on a sheepish grin and beats a hasty retreat or enters into a stern attempt at discipline that is more designed to save face than to achieve any sustainable behavior modification in the child.

When our reality is not what we want others to know, we feel embarrassed. If we are comfortable with “what is” then we feel no discomfort when it is exposed. This relates to our financial situation being shown to be less stable than we would like others to know. Or, our actions being out of step with the value system that we claim to live by.

For example, the professing Christian who is caught in a blatant lie often chooses to be embarrassed. A more useful response would be to recognize the failing and to pray for guidance in avoiding future occurrences.

The so-called “expert” whose competence is found wanting can choose to be embarrassed or can view the incident as a wake-up call to go and get the requisite training.

The next time you feel embarrassed, spend a moment in reflection to identify what reality has been exposed that is not in sync with the image that you would like to portray. Make a commitment to correct the situation.