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Have you ever wondered why you seem to get along with some people more than others or why some people get you and others don’t? You may have read about a Biblical character, supported a candidate, saw an athlete, movie star or television celebrity that you could relate to or just saw a little of yourself in them; mine was Bruce Lee. I’d imitate his moves after watching his movies; but as the saying goes, “There can only be one.” We may try to relate, or bond, with them but the reality is that relationships are more complex than imitation.

Jesus said that the teachings of Moses and the prophets are based on our relationship with God, and each other (Matthew 22:37-40). He recognized that the essence of leadership is about putting principles into action through relationships, not just reading a chapter and verse. Leading like Jesus doesn’t happen by accident. It begins with the intentional and conscious commitment to a life-long journey of self-awareness and then using that self-awareness to adapt to and meet the needs of others (John 13:34). Self-awareness is critical to establishing and maintaining positive relationships. The first step towards self-awareness is self-exploration. Forbes (2020) states:

“Cultivating self-awareness requires an introspective approach, a system and a process to actively and consciously engage in the recognition of ourselves as an individual. This means focusing on all of our being — our beliefs (open or limiting), our physical state of health, our mental state of health, our spiritual state of health and more. It is an acceptance of all the good parts of ourselves and the areas that need improvement.”

Self-exploration requires courage. It isn’t a journey for the sake of knowledge; but the opportunity to apply that knowledge to understand, adapt and improve our relationships with each other and God. In Self-Examination: Asking the Hard Questions, author Joshua Travers explains:

“Self-examination consists of taking an intensely close look at ourselves and comparing what we see to the standard of Jesus Christ. It’s about identifying our faults so that we can change and become more like God. In short, examination is about asking the hard questions.”

If self-awareness requires “asking the hard questions,” what questions do I ask? What system and process can I use to guide me? Fortunately, there is a tool available to guide us through this self-exploration.

The DISC assessments are behavioral self- tools based on the work by emotional and behavioral theory psychologist William Moulton Marston (1928).  According to Marston, people illustrate their emotions using four behavior types: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. Each domain affects how we view and interact with others.

The Biblical DISC® assessment (adapted by Voges and Kempainem, 2001) expands on the Classic DISC model to include a biblical analysis of our behavioral style.  The Biblical DISC® allows us to improve our relationships by:

  1. Knowing our unique behavioral style and strengths as key to effective communication, healthy relationships and organizational success.
  2. Identifying and discussing behavioral tendencies and learning practical ways to create healthy relationships and minimize personality-driven conflict.
  3. Understanding our God-given strengths and how Jesus and biblical people displayed the same characteristics.
  4. Creating “people-smarts” by helping individuals understand the language of DISC to build Jesus-centered personal and professional relationships.

Biblical DISC® uses both research and Biblical truth to help answer why we are so different, what’s so special about those differences, and how accurate self-awareness and an accurate understanding of others will help solve conflict and build strong personal and professional relationships.  Learning about our behavioral styles and examining Biblical characters and how God and Jesus helped these characters adapt their behavior helps lead us to enhanced relationships and increased results.

I can tell you from experience that learning about your behavioral style isn’t easy; adapting your style can be even harder. But if improving your leadership and relationships is your goal, the path of self-awareness is a great place to start.

Once you’ve created good self-awareness, the next step is understanding others’ styles and then adapting to them.  This helps us to truly do as Jesus commands in John 13:34 – “love one another as I have loved you.”  But this journey of loving like Jesus has to start with a good sense of self-understanding.

The Biblical DISC can help you explore yourself and more importantly help you ask God to mold you to lead like Jesus. The lyrics of singer Glenn Yarbrough (1977) may express it best:

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

Challenge:  Take 30 minutes to identify areas or relationships that you would like to explore. Check out the Lead Like Jesus Biblical DISC website. If you think it may be a resource for you, want to learn more or just have some questions contact a LLJ Certified DISC Practitioner to discuss how you may be able to use the instrument to explore, identify, and if needed, make changes to improve your relationships.

**A special thanks to my co-authors, Rich and Barbara Meiss,  for lending their expertise, guidance and God-given talents to ensure that both the spirit and intent of the Biblical Disc were accurately captured in this article.

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