Idea in short

The DiSC assessment, published by Wiley, is a non-judgmental tool used for discussion of people’s behavioural differences. Many businesses & organisations deliver this test to assess their employees’ personality profiles. In 1928, the psychologist William Moulton Marston proposed the DiSC Personality Model. Marston also built the early version of the lie detector & created the comic book hero Wonder Woman. In this model, Marston focussed on the personalities of ordinary people who were not struggling with mental illness. In his book[1], Emotions of Normal People, Marston describes how people perceive & interact with their environments.

The DiSC model provides consultants tools to better understand themselves & to adapt their behaviours with others. These could be your engagement team, clients, leadership, or other stakeholders. In general, the DiSC model measures a person’s general behavioural style & preferences by looking at four personality traits:

  • Dominance (D)
  • Influence (i)
  • Steadiness (S)
  • Conscientiousness (C)

Dominant (or D Profile Style)

The Dominant personalities combines task orientation & directness. People with a Dominant profile are focused & determined. Accordingly, they focus more on the results rather than the process. They shape the environment, overcome opposition & accomplish results. A person with a D style

  • is motivated by winning, competition & success
  • prioritises accepting challenges, taking action & achieving immediate results
  • is direct, demanding, forceful, strong willed, driven, determined, fast-paced, & self-confident
  • values competency, action, concrete results, personal freedom, & challenges

However, they may limit themselves through their lack of concern for others, impatience & open skepticism.

Communicating with D-Personalities

When communicating with D-style individuals, give them the bottom line. In this case, be brief & focus your discussion narrowly. Avoid making generalisations. Specifically, refrain from repeating yourself. Most important – focus on solutions rather than problems.

Your D score is your decisiveness. It is your directness. More specifically, it is the speed at which you feel comfortable making decisions you have never had to make before. People with a high D score tend to talk fast, because they think fast.They can’t stand it if you’re not getting right to the point. You can tell if you’ve got a high D because they are likely to interrupt you once they see where you’re going with a conversation. They don’t mean to be rude, it’s just how they think. High Ds love checklists. They love to measure productivity by how much they’ve completed. They also respond great to a challenge. A high D is easily noticeable when they appear irritable if interrupted in the middle of a task.

Influence (or I Profile Style)

The Influence is the most outgoing personality. Subsequently, they are the most social among the four personalities. They are enthusiastic, persuasive & are focussed on making connections with others. People with the i style shape their environment by influencing or persuading others. A person with an I style is:

  • convincing, magnetic, enthusiastic, warm, trusting & optimistic
  • action-oriented, collaborative, & enthusiastic
  • motivated by social recognition, group activities, & relationships
  • values coaching & counseling, freedom of expression & democratic relationships

However, they may limit themselves through their fear of losing their influence & being ignored. Some may perceive their impulsiveness, disorganisation & lack of follow through off-putting.

Communicating with i-Personalities

When communicating with i-style individuals, share your experiences. In this case, allow them time to ask questions & talk themselves. Focus on the positives & avoid overloading them with details. Most important, don’t interrupt them. High i’s love when you are interesting, exciting, & entertaining. If you want a high i to hear what you have to say, you need to capture their attention first. The best way to do this is to make yourself interesting to them. High i’s are people persons, they love people more than tasks. Because their biggest fear is not being liked, be sure to build them up & reassure them they are liked & interesting to you.

Usually, high i’s are extroverted & often have short attention spans.  A high i will bounce from one person at a gathering to another & doesn’t have a problem talking about themselves. You know you’ve found a high i if complimenting them, their clothes, or an aspect of their character causes them to light up & show they like you. High i’s are good at making people feel good, & will want to use their talents to do so.

Steadiness (or S Profile Style)

People with the Steadiness personality profile type are the most sympathetic & even-tempered. They combine patience & calm with a more moderate pace. People with the S style place an emphasis on cooperating with others within existing circumstances to carry out the task. A person with an S style:

  • is motivated by cooperation, opportunities to help & sincere appreciation
  • prioritizes giving support, collaborating & maintaining stability
  • is described as calm, patient, predictable, deliberate, stable & consistent
  • values loyalty, helping others & security

However, they may limit themselves by being indecisive, overly accommodating & their tendency to avoid change. Likewise, some fear change, loss of stability, & offending others.

Communicating with S-Personalities

When communicating with the S style individuals, be personal & amiable. In this case, express your interest in them & what you expect from them. Take time to provide clarification & be polite. In any case, avoid being confrontational, overly aggressive or rude. High Ss are some of the most loyal people you will ever find. They love to support others & like to experience the same pace every day. They find comfort in familiarity. A high S is usually very concerned with not being a bother or an annoyance. You can often recognize them by their reluctance to intercede in conversation & their deference to your needs over their own. A high S will absolutely love it if you give ample time for them to prepare for what’s coming.

A high S will make a high priority of ensuring they aren’t bothering you. They tend to be very supportive & will likely make the conversation all about you. They won’t interrupt, & if they are unhappy or irritated, they’ll make great efforts to hide it. A high S is usually extremely loyal, & strives to bring harmony everywhere they go. If you ask a high S what they are doing this summer, they will likely talk about the people or relationships they are excited to develop.

Conscientious (or C Profile Style)

People with the Conscientious personality combine an analytical orientation with attention to detail. They combine the moderate pace with a systematic approach to tasks. People with the C style place an emphasis on working conscientiously within existing circumstances to ensure quality & accuracy. A person with a C style:

  • is motivated by opportunities to gain knowledge, show their expertise, & produce quality work
  • prioritizes ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability, & challenging assumptions
  • is described as careful, cautious, systematic, diplomatic, accurate & tactful
  • values quality & accuracy

However, they may limit themselves by being overcritical, overanalysing & isolating themselves. Furthermore, they may fear criticism & being wrong.

Communicating with C-Personalities

When communicating with a C-style individual, focus on facts & details. In this case, minimise pep talk or emotional language. To a high C, the devil is in the details. They are great at following procedures & establishing protocols. They love spreadsheets, data, & information. When communicating with a high C, start with the details. They want to know all the information. If you withhold details, they will likely question your intelligence & trustworthiness. High Cs tend to warm up the slowest. So, be patient with them.

If you continue to provide value through the details they desire, they’ll like you. Don’t try to win a high C over with your charm or personality. Similar to high Ds, High Cs prefer tasks to people. They are more likely to be interested in your skills & competences rather than your personal relationships or hobbies. You should avoid talking about such things until after they feel comfortable with you. High Cs tend to speak in measured, deliberate statements. You know you’ve found a high C if you find them making a big effort to make sure you know exactly what they are trying to say, or find them giving you much more information than you feel is necessary. In summary, be patient, persistent, & diplomatic.

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1 Emotions of Normal People