(Republished Post) After last week’s post touched on DISC and communication, I heard feedback that it would be helpful to have some more detail about the differences between each style. This was one of the first posts I did on this blog a long time ago. Hope you find it interesting. – Bryce
Welcome to part 3 of “How Applying Behavior and Motivator Assessments Can Improve Your Life.” In the previous posts we introduced some of the answers our assessments deliver and why most assessments fail.
Today we are going to take a quick look into one of the assessments we use. If you haven’t done so, download a sample assessment here to follow along with.
A Crash Course on DISC
The DISC assessment uses a grid system, breaking down behaviors into four styles.
- Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
- Influence – relating to social situations and communication
- Steadiness – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
- Compliance – relating to structure and organization
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The quadrants can be represented likewise.
- D & C: Above the line share task-focused aspects
- S & I: Below the line share people-focused aspects
- C &S: On the left share represent introverted and implementing personalities
- D & I: On the right represent extroverted and innovating personalities
Every person shares different levels of the four styles in DISC and that’s what makes this such a great system. Where exactly you map out is just as unique as you are.
So, to give you a better understanding of what each style might look like, I’ll share a few of the behaviors, as well as well-known people who fall into that style.
- Ability to tackle tough problems dealing with many issues
- Forward-looking, aggressive and competitive
- Ability to work in an environment that has variety and change
- Initiates activity and sets a pace to achieve desired results
Emotion: Anger/Short Fuse
Drive: Fast, always somewhere to get to in a hurry
Gesture: A lot of hand movement when talking, big gestures
Read: Cliff notes, executive book summaries
Stress Relief: Physical activity, preferably of a competitive nature
Talk on the phone: Little chitchat. To the point, results.
Judges others by: Their ability for getting the task done quickly
Influences other by: Force of character, persistence
Fears: Losing control
- Barbara Walters – When any celebrity agrees to do an interview with Barbara Walters, one thing is certain—the tough questions will get asked. Barbara Walters is unafraid of asking the hard personal questions. Her directness has taken her to the peak of her industry. Most celebrities consider it a career milestone to be invited on a Barbara Walters’ special.
- Michael Jordan – What mountain of challenges has Michael Jordan not conquered in basketball? In an issue of Time Magazine, the press covered Michael Jordan’s early retirement. Jordan said, “When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it’s time to step down.” When Jordan was no longer challenged in the sport, he walked away. High D personalities love and need challenge to keep them engaged. Jordan walked away from basketball because he had met or exceeded all that basketball could offer him.
- Mr. Smithers on The Simpsons – Even our television characters fall into these categories. Mr. Smithers’ shorter fuse, constant eye on his power plant’s results, being in a hurry, taking big risks, competing in challenges, and impatience put him in the category of a High D. Of course, being a high D doesn’t make you a villain; High D’s make up a lot of corporate leaders and take on immense work loads.
- Very optimistic with a positive sense of humor
- Places focus on people and high trust in relationships
- Develops friendships quickly, enjoys networking
- Uses consensus approach to decision-making
Drive: Visual, looking around, radio on
Gesture: A lot of big gestures and facial expressions when talking
Read: Fiction, self-improvement books
Stress Relief: Interaction with people
Talk on the phone: Long conversations, A great deal of tone variation in voice
Judges others by: Their warmth
Influences other by: Friendliness and interpersonal skills
Fears: Not being liked enough
- Robin Williams – An expressive, outgoing, incredibly funny man with a thousand faces and voices. Robin Williams delights audiences all over the world. Outgoing and social, Robin Williams has no trouble blending in with any crowd. An expert at improvising, many of his roles are loosely defined allowing him the opportunity to ad-lib, which he does very well – as do all High I’s.
- Former President Bill Clinton – Verbally persuasive, optimistic, friendly and trusting, President Clinton, as leader of the United State, attempted to be very persuasive in his efforts to direct the country. He is clearly an extrovert, unafraid to show high emotion or express his concern. Even his foes state that he clearly cares about people, even if they disagree with his agenda. Since his presidency, he continues to give his time to charities and needs of others – i.e. raising money for the Haiti earth-quake disaster.
- Bart Simpson – Sticking with the Simpsons theme, Bart Simpson follows the styles of a High I. He is always looking for attention, he’s into comics, has a strong sense of humor. Even his prank calls show his I personality. He can easily start a conversation with someone he’s never met. He is very persuasive around others, getting people to do all kinds of things they wouldn’t do normally.
- Ability to present self in a calm and controlled manner, using the ability to concentrate as a means to listen and learn
- Ability to stay with a task that provides meaningful contribution to the organization
- A team member who can be open, patient and tolerant of differences
- Enjoys praising others
Drive: Relaxed Pace, no hurry
Gesture: Will gesture with hands, but not large sweeping gestures
Read: People stories, fiction and non-fiction
Stress Relief: Rest, hot baths
Talk on the phone: Warm conversationalist, friendly and concerned
Judges others by: Their consistency
Influences other by: Serving others
Fears: Not being appreciated and the unknown
- Laura Bush – First Lady Laura Bush is gentle, calm, relaxed, with a deep concern for others. She has close ties to the family and seems always willing to help others. She endears the hearts of America to her causes and she added a distinction to her office while serving office as First Lady. America respects and loves the gentle, calm, stability of Laura Bush.
- Rodney Rogers – This professional basketball player is a classic example of a High S. He won the NBA 6th Man of the Year award. As a true S, he was able to observe from the bench what was happening on the floor, then transferred the knowledge to perform as a high level contributor, once substituted into the game. But as a starter, he never made as great a contribution because he couldn’t see what his role was…he needed the time to observe and learn, then implement—to be effective.
- Marge Simpson – Again, the Simpson family is full of high DISC styles. Marge is a great example of a High Steadiness profile because she is hesitant to take risks, sticks to the rules, and unwinds at the spa. In addition she is relaxed and patient despite all the chaos around her. She deals with conflict well and nurtures her family.
- A promoter of quality systems
- A good sense of urgency balanced with maintaining high standards
- Organized, even in relationships. Appreciates company of people with similar ideas, likes being organized and quality-conscience
- Sensitive to change in the social and work environment
Drive: Careful, follow rules
Gesture: Very reserved, little or no gestures
Read: Non fiction, technical journals
Stress Relief: Alone time
Talk on the phone: Little chit chat, to the point. May be short or long
Judges others by: Who they know, prestige and accomplishments
Influences other by: Strategy in good relations
Fears: Having to trade quality for good relationships
- Courtney Cox – She is the actress who played Monica Geller on Friends . As the character Monica, Courtney Cox portrayed the classic example of a High C. Monica was always concerned with neatness and got very upset when things were moved from their normal position.
- Former Vice President Al Gore – Al Gore has an analytical approach. He laid out the facts and figures of government waste, focusing on systems and procedures of how things are handled (or mishandled). Whether one agrees with his thinking or not, Gore is well thought out and analytical in his approach to the environment as well as government. Time Magazine gave an account of Gore’s success in a debate with Ross Perot over NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).Gore was urged by his advisors to play to his strengths to be “wooden,” not animated. Typical of a High C, he spent many hours studying alone He analyzed all of Perot’s claims, looking for flaws. Next he had a group of aides fire questions at him for over two hours and then held a mock debate. Gore took control of tactics and strategy. Gore told his team that he wanted to hammer Perot with facts. On all accounts, V.P. Al “Wooden” Gore won the debate.
- Lisa Simpson – The last of the Simpson crew in this example, Lisa demonstrates a high Compliance style beautifully. She carries all the key strengths of a High C; she strives for high grades and doing well in competitions, she appreciates being around other smart people, she’s organized, she doesn’t embrace constant change. When she reads it’s always nonfiction and at a high level. She enjoys time alone and looks up to others who have accomplished something in their life.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what a DISC Assessment shares about you. Of course, this is only four of the higher levels of each style. Everyone typically has a blend from all four, but understanding what style you fit and the styles of others around you can have a great impact on how you can best communicate together, get along, reach goals and more.
What style did you find fit you the closest? What did you learn?