The DiSC Work of Leaders® Model and Other Leadership Models

Leadership In FocusThe Speed Of Business Is Increasing 

The speed of business seems to get faster and faster. 
Because of this, it is all too easy to focus on the here and now and to forget the systematic issues within a business that actually are at the heart of long term success.    Leadership development is one of the areas that often could do with a lot more attention.  The impact of having great leaders is a critical element to any company’s success and spans across an entire organization, including employee well-being, improved engagement, employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.

Companies face an increasing number of challenges today such as globalization, competition, continuous innovation, new technology and leadership gaps at all levels.  But the bottom line of any organization will be massively improved with a strong emphasis on leadership development.  Luckily, awareness of this is being raised and there are now various models of leadership development that are getting increasingly popular.  Let’s take a look at some of these.

The Everything DiSC Work of Leaders ProfileThe Everything DiSC Work of Leaders Model

The Everything DiSC Work of Leaders Profile provides a simple, yet powerful three-step process that lays out a realistic framework to guide the leader to get results immediately. This program develops self-awareness in key areas that will help them achieve better results as a leader and makes leadership accessible to anyone with the desire to be a better leader. The personalized profile focuses on developing preferred behaviors that are based on leadership best practices. An overview of DiSC and narrative about the leader’s DiSC style are provided, giving sufficient foundation for an understanding of how their natural tendencies influence their leadership skills. Some behaviors are preferred over others in a given situation and the Work of Leaders program focuses on understanding how natural tendencies influence effectiveness in specific situations.

The Work of Leaders leadership model is based and focused on the concepts of crafting a vision, building alignment around that vision, and bringing it to life by championing execution—Vision, Alignment and Execution. The program concepts are relevant to leaders at all levels from senior executives, front-line supervisors and high potentials.

The Stewardship Model 

The main dedication of a leader should be to others, society at large and communities, including their teams.  This is known as stewardship, and it advocates services rather than self-interest.  This type of model prepares the next generation of leaders as well.  As a steward-style leader, people want to develop sustainable organizations and also have the necessary skills to do so.

“Steward leaders are those who are motivated by justice and dignity and who can see the bigger picture.  Their emphasis is on delivering results with others – and they are skilled in bringing networks and resources together in pursuit of a common aim.”  Developing Next Generation Leaders for a Sustainable Future – The Stewardship Model

Being a steward is not something that can be taught simply by reading a book.  It is something that has to be fully adopted and is classified as a soft skill.  This means that managers have to engage in experiential learning, applying the lessons they learn to their businesses, making them fully relevant.  It is about thinking outside of the box and being fully proactive, even if this means taking risks.

Dunham and Pierce’s Leadership Process Model

Another model has been provided by Dunham and Pierce, who believe the approach to leadership should be intelligent and focus on the long term.  Their ideas are based on the fact that every decision has a consequence, the old cause and effect theory.  Their model focuses on four key factors.

“The model shows the way in which the leader, the followers, and the context combine to affect the outcomes.  It also shows how outcomes feed back to affect the leader, the followers, and the context.” 
Dunham and Pierce’s Leadership Process Model – Taking an Intelligent, Long-Term Approach to Leadership

The first key element is the leader, who is the one who takes charge.  Next, there are the followers, who take directions from the leader in order to perform tasks.  The third factor is the context, describing the situation in which any job is done.  Finally, there is outcome, which describes the result of the complete process, to which the leader must respond, which is then once again filtered down to their followers and so on.

Additionally, the model clearly shows that leadership is ongoing and dynamic rather than stagnant.  This means that they must learn to be flexible to be able to adapt to different contexts and outcomes.  Furthermore, they must always invest in the relationship to connect better with their followers.

The Competency-Based Model 

One of the popular models in place today is the competency-based model.  Interestingly, it is one that is starting to come in disrepute, with some experts stating that this is a model that sets others up for failure.

“Any organization that over weights the importance of technical competency fails to recognize the considerable and often-untapped value contained in the whole of the person.  It’s the cumulative power of a person’s soft skills, the sum of the parts if you will, that creates real value.”  The Most Common Leadership Model – And Why It’s Broken

What experts are suggesting now, therefore, is that the competency-based model should include soft skills as well.  No longer should it be about testable skills that can be picked up in a standard classroom environment for which people end up with certificates and degrees.  All great leaders require soft skills to connect better with those that they lead and to help them interact with others.  These competencies should include such things as empathy, patience, communication skills and a range of other skills as well.  High-impact leaders are those individuals who make a difference, not just by getting results, but also by building relationships.

NASA’s Leadership Model

NASA has been at the forefront of development since it was first started.  They are an agency like no other, and one that values each of its employees as much as the next one.  There is a famous story of a NASA janitor telling the President that as part of his role he helped put a man on the moon.  NASA leaders understand that their agency is more than the sum of its various parts, and that each person has tremendous value.  They have also developed a leadership development model that other companies are now looking towards to implement themselves.

“The NASA Leadership Model consists of five “models”, one for each of five leadership roles.” 
NASA’s Leadership Model

The first model is discipline competencies, the second is managing information & knowledge, the third is business acumen, the fourth leading people and the final discipline competency.  NASA then recognizes that there are different leaders within the organization: the influence leader, team leader, 1st line supervisor, manager and executive.  Each of these managers then has specifics within those five elements that relate to their individual role.  This way, the right competencies are applied to the right people, and there is an equally strong focus on soft skills.

In Conclusion

These are just some of the models for leadership development that exist today.  Choosing the right model depends entirely on the organization.  However, there are some golden threads that pull them all together, which is a monitoring of existing skills, improving necessary skills, flexibility, adaptability to change and soft skills.

What matters most, however, is that businesses start to see the importance of leadership development in terms of the future of the company.  Too often, businesses have knee-jerk reactions in order to solve an immediate problem, but investing in leadership and management development now will prevent problems that require knee-jerk reactions in the future.  Leadership development should be high on the agenda for any business or organization, in other words.


Co-owner/Co-founder of Intesi! Resources. Educated as an architect I transitioned to technology during my career in architecture. Intesi! Resources was founded in 2004 and my focus is everything Web/eCommerce related from the design and development of our site to all the marketing activities involved. I also provide significant support for our clients on all our products and how they are used to deliver assessment-driven learning solutions that develop self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

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  1. Pingback: Leadership Traits and Qualities (Part 1 of 2) | DiSC Profile Blog

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