Santa and His Elves: DISC in the North Pole

Santa's elves are as diverse as any group. How will the Dominant, Influence, Steady and Compliant personalities play out in Santa's Workshop?

Happy Santa with Christmas gifts - isolated over a white backgroundWorkplaces operate like teams: during busy periods, everyone must come together to help complete projects on time. Success happens due to the mix of skills, abilities, and personalities all working toward common goals. To illustrate DISC personalities and how they affect workplace productivity, let's look at a holiday-themed analogy. Imagine that Santa's elves are busy working to create all the toys for children all over the world. It's a race against the clock and they're hurrying to finish.

Santa's workshop is full of elves working day and night to complete the toy production. Some of those elves are social butterflies who love Christmas time because they get to see all their friends from all over the North Pole - since even Santa has to bring on seasonal workers to meet production goals! Some of these elves are efficient worker bees who feel an adrenaline rush every time they hit their production numbers - and who sometimes struggle to motivate the socially-oriented elves to contribute their fair share of work. Meet the DISC personalities of the North Pole.

Ian: the Influence I-style elf

Elf I-styleIan embodies the Influence personality within DISC.

He's a gifted storyteller who sometimes gets distracted from his main tasks of wrapping presents because he's sharing a great story about his family vacation - this year Ian took his family to Disney! The holidays are Ian's favorite season of the year because he always loves throwing a big party for friends and relatives and he feels happy to see Santa's workshop filled with so many fun potential new friends. 

His outgoing nature can show Ian down, however. He's always chatting up new elves he meets in Santa's break room, and he can get so caught up in the stories he tells that he gets distracted from his main task. Wrapping presents is the best Christmas task for Ian, as he struggles with the detail analysis necessary to run the holiday toy reports, and he can express himself by choosing his favorite wrapping paper for every gift. 

Task repetition is not Ian's strong suit, especially if he's left alone with a pile of presents to wrap. Ian needs a social outlet to distract him from the repetitive nature of the task and alleviate boredom. 

Ian doesn't want to be a nuisance to the others and he would hate to disappoint the task-oriented elves. He just can't help his social nature. To capitalize on Ian's strengths, the other elves can give him group-oriented tasks, like present-wrapping, and place him in mentor positions where he can share all his wisdom with new workers. 

Dana: the dominant D-style elf

Elf D-styleDominant Dana shares Ian's outgoing personality, but she's a numbers girl at heart with a drive to overachieve. Dana is highly competitive and relaxes from her job managing the toy lists by playing on the elf basketball team. While she's not the fastest one on the court, she's is the most competitive and the undisputed free throw champ. 

Work hard, play hard could be her motto as Dana is always busy. When she's not busy, Dana can fall into a slump. A basketball injury a couple years back sent her into a depression as she actually had to sit on the sidelines for the holiday production season while Sally managed the toy production. 

What makes Dana feel good is getting things done. She sees her role in the workshop as being in charge and making things get done; toys for children don't get made by themselves. Dana knows the pressure is riding on her and sometimes wishes the other elves understood that, because they they might work harder - especially Ian!

Dana can get irritated when elves approach her with an emotional issue. It's difficult for her to understand how other elves can't put their emotions to the side and focus on the work first - they've got a major deadline to meet! 

Carlo: the compliant C-style elf

Elf C-styleCarlo is the Compliant elf. While he's a capable and conscientious worker, the holiday season is not his favorite time of year. All the strangers, noise, and congestion in Santa's Workshop stress him out. He prefers to perfect existing toys over being on the toy production line with other elves. This year he's happily helping Dana with the reporting and statistics side of production, and he's grateful for the quiet and chance to focus the solitary work brings. 

Like Dana, Carlo is a task-oriented elf. Where Dana is focused on getting toys built and into Santa's toy sack, Carlo prefers to slow down and analyze the situation. He thrives within clearly defined rules and regulations, and likes to do things by the book. He's naturally reserved and benefits from a familiar work environment where he can work with routine and structure. His task-orientation and detail-orientation means that he likes more time to meet deadlines, but the work he does usually reach high standards.

Since deadlines can stress this Compliant elf, Carlo does best when he has time to focus and work by himself, especially on tasks that are not time sensitive. Carlo is always thinking about ways to make toys safer and better. In the off season he's been experimenting with ideas for improving toys and this year one of his toys is scheduled to be on the production line. Carlo's so proud of this achievement, but you wouldn't know it from his reserved demeanor and desire not to be in the spotlight! However...he is considering delaying production because he has some ideas for more improvement.

Sally the steady s-tyle elf

Elf S-styleSally embodies the Steady personality type. She is amiable, but reserved. She likes being around her fellow elves, but she doesn't need to be the center of attention. She prefers her smaller circle of elf friends. Sally takes care of all the other elves and you're likely to find her spending her evenings in the kitchen making holiday cookies for the break room. She knows that a little chocolate help everyone keep their motivation up during a busy period. 

Sally can be confrontation avoidant, so she often escapes to the kitchen whenever tension flares on the production floor. While she doesn't like arguments (which are rare in Santa's Workshop), she is always the first to offer help when someone needs a little assistance getting tasks done. This year Sally's leading the stuffed animal workshop. The leadership role is a challenge for her, due to her reserved personality, but she's proven capable of managing and in fact, her cohort is among the closest in Santa's Workshop. 

Santa's a very astute boss

By placing each of these elves in a role where they can contribute their strengths, Santa's built a capable team that can get the job done so that every child wakes up to toys on Christmas morning. What DISC type could he be to make such wise choices? Would you consider Santa a blend of Influence and Steady traits? He seems to be less task-oriented (that's why he's got a crew of elves!) and loves getting to meet all the children. This year, the Santa tracker will help keep social Santa on track so he can visit everyone's home on Christmas eve. After the demands of the busy holiday season, Santa looks forward to recharging with Mrs Claus and a few close friends in the North Pole. Happy holidays!

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