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Building a Competent and Motivated Team

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

How to Motivate-Manage using DiSC.

Once you have obtained the benefits of the KnowledgeWorkx DiSC Accreditation, and have learned how to speed-read people, and use the DiSC profiles of your own team, a powerful combination is when you combine that with a well-known management theory that has to do with how willing and how able employees are.

  • Competent and Willing: They have the experience and know how to get the job done, and they want to do it.

  • Competent but not Willing: This person might lack motivation, might not be interested, or might not enjoy working for a certain person or with a specific person. There could be a slew of external factors that influence their motivation and willingness.

  • Willing, but not Able: Highly motivated and would love to put their shoulders under the task, but don't know how.

  • Neither Willing nor Able: People that lack the competence, willingness, motivation, and drive to see things through.

All four of these categories are a reality for employees. Even the last one, low willingness and low ability, is unfortunately common when people are placed in jobs where they shouldn't be or have been promoted out of their competence. Initially, these people might still be motivated, but eventually, if they do not know how to do a job, then their willingness will quickly decrease. A fifth option is a combination of any of the top three three.

For each of these situations there is a specific management theory and practice:

  • High Willingness and High Ability – Empower them. It is a joy for leaders to spend time with employees who love their job and who are competent and experienced. But from an investment point of view, those people are not the ones you should spend the bulk of your time with.

  • Low Willingness but High Ability – Support them. You have a person who is very competent, but lacks the motivation, the drive to complete the task, you need to come alongside them to motivate them, and to help them rediscover their motivation.

  • High Willingness and Low Ability – Be directly involved. By coming alongside them with guidance as to how to complete tasks. you capitalize on their willingness, and you support them so that their ability will grow. And as their ability grows, their willingness will be sustained.

If someone has intermediate willingness, intermediate ability, you can use a combination of these three approaches.

Motivate-Manage + DiSC Makes These Strategies Succeed

You could take a blanket approach to applying these three strategies of Empower, Be Supportive, and Be Directly Involved in the task to the individual, but DISC teaches us that there are fifteen classical profiles; i.e., different types of behavioral styles that people use. The true power motivate-management arises when you are able to combine the willingness-ability grid with the DiSC Profile for a grid of 16 sophisticated, tailored Motivate-Manage strategies.

When you start applying these strategies, it takes you through a rich discovery process and teaches you how to really come alongside your employees. A foundational principle behind this process is the belief that, while a team always exists to help the leader get a job done to a certain extent, what is more true is that leaders are there to help the team get the job done.

Leaders should be able to come alongside their teams in a motivate-manage style and help employees to be their best, because if employees are their best, and contributing in the best possible way, the leader will accomplish his or her objectives.

Beyond Motivate-Manage & DiSC: Team Dimensions, Time Mastery, and More

Investing into your team in a tailored, situational leadership style that combines DiSC profiles with the Willingness/Ability grid is extremely powerful, and we haven't even started talking about the benefits of integrating these two tools with the Team Dimensions profile, another of the three powerful Inscape Publishing tools that we integrate into our DiSC, Team Dimensions, & Time Mastery Accreditation.

If you want to learn to use DiSC to use the benefits of motivate-manage you read about in this article, you can start with our next accreditation, where we have three days set aside to journey together through discovering and applying these tools. To register now, click here.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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