DISC’s Role in Providing Pushback to Toxic Behavior

Oct 30, 2015 | Categories: workplace culture, behaviors

Understanding Observable Behavior Can Strengthen Workplace Relationships

Forget bullies — the workplace can be home to difficult, passive-aggressive or plain toxic personalities that are akin to swimming with rabid sharks.

The effects of a stressful or egocentric environment brought on by one or several bad apples hinders performance and productivity.

Worse yet, it can impact overall team cohesion, leading top performers to pack up and leave the company.

Toxic behavior in the workplace can be found in all DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance) behavior styles, and can manifest in a number of obvious and hidden ways. Some common toxic behaviors include:


  1. Taking everything too personally
  2. Possessing a victim’s mentality
  3. Having an inability to manage emotions
  4. Showing a lack of empathy or being outright cruel
  5. Hiding the truth from colleagues


These actions can be powerful to plague a team and drive top performers away.

Through DISC, we have the unique opportunity to not only learn about our own behavioral style, but also recognize and understand what makes other people act the way they do.

Understanding behavior styles allows us to tailor our communication approach. For example, if we know someone is taking something personal, a look at their DISC profile might reveal their colleagues might need to take a softer approach.

Bottom line: DISC can be the starting point to understanding each other better, resolve conflicts and foster collaboration – even if that behavior is seemingly toxic. What might be viewed as toxic behavior by one team member could actually be an opportunity to tailor your communication to their style.

Teams work best together when barriers like toxic behavior are minimized, and they understand each others’ differences and how they can best work together to achieve team goals.

 download a free ebook on understanding behavioral styles through DISC

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Zach Colick

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