What is DiSC?
We’ve all been exposed to aptitude tests, personality quizzes, and various other predictive tools that tell us things about ourselves that we often already know. Similarly, DiSC profiling will outline our typical personality traits through a series of questions, but goes several steps further to identify the strengths, limitations, motivators, and stressors within our personality style. DiSC will also help understand how others perceive our style and tendencies, which goes a long way in terms of self-awareness and effective self-management, particularly when working in a team. Finally, exposure to the various other DiSC styles provides insight as to why others do as they do, and to appreciate the qualities each style brings to the table.
Although each DiSC style is distinctive from the others, it is important to note that no one style is better than the other -- All offer equal value, albeit in different forms. The ultimate goal is to improve empathy and communication in working relationships in order to leverage off of the group’s individual strengths for the most functional team possible.
So, what are the DiSC profiles (in a nutshell)?
Those with the Dominance style are most often results-oriented and competitive, and so they tend to push hard for what they want. They can be perceived as blunt and direct, have a clear vision of the direction they’re headed in, and so tend to make decisions quickly.
Influencers typically show a high level of energy and positivity. Influencers enjoy working with and motivating others through their optimism and enthusiasm, but may become distracted by a new, exciting idea before a previous project has come to fruition.
The Steadiness style is typically exemplified by patience, diplomacy, and attentiveness to others, which fosters harmony in a group. Often referred to as “salt of the earth” types, the S profile is supportive and inclusive of their peers, accommodating and cooperative.
Those who tend to the C style are analytical, detail-oriented, and methodical. Conscientious style individuals are thoughtful and careful, value accuracy and precision, and are typically skeptical of information presented to them if not already proven correct.
The descriptions above are meant to be a very high level, generalized introduction to the four main DiSC styles. It is important to note that everyone is a combination of all four DiSC styles, albeit usually with a stronger inclination to one profile over the others. In other words, not all “tendencies” are true for all individuals inclined towards a particular profile. For example, someone who is assessed as a Dominant profile may prove to be routinely patient and accommodating in certain contexts or environments (typically S traits), and vice versa.
Further DiSC analysis delves into identifying the motivators and stressors typical of each style, which can help team members gear their communication with each other in a more effective way. A deeper understanding of the values and tendencies of others can lead to better leverage of individuals’ strengths for an overall more cohesive and functional team.
Erica Smith, CPA, DiSC Certified Facilitator, Senior Management Consultant at Morris Interactive