Ever wonder what your behavior says about your leadership style? One assessment tool that can help you find out is DiSC.
The DiSC model of behavior was first outlined by psychologist William Mouton Marston in his 1928 book, "Emotions of Normal People." According to discprofile.com, Marston's theory stated that behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into types (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, Compliance), based on a person's perceptions of self in relation to his or her environment. Understanding your primary behavioral trait, he believed, would help you understand and manage your experiences and relationships with others.
In the decades that followed, several assessments using Marston's theories were developed, which eventually led to the modern DiSC assessment and its current types or styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.
Today, the DiSC assessment is most frequently used in business and government organizations to help teams work more effectively together. Respondents rate a series of behavior-related statements (e.g., "Getting results is one of my top priorities" or "I like to be involved in group projects") based on how strongly they agree or disagree with each. [Looking for the Best Job for Your Personality? Start Here]
Why it works
Like other personality or behavior-assessment tools, DiSC works by helping you become more self-aware. This will help you recognize and acknowledge the strengths and shortcomings of not only yourself, but your team.
"Assessment tools ... can indicate whether the group is likely to bond or fracture by examining qualities that predict both success and failure," Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Dave Winsborough wrote in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article. "For example, we know that teams with members who are open-minded and emotionally intelligent leverage conflict to improve performance, whereas neurotic and closed-minded teams fall apart in the face of disagreement."
Chamorro-Premuzic and Winsborough also noted that teams perform better when their members share values, and assessment tools can help identify the values that are expressed through your everyday behavior.
"Teams whose values cohere identify more strongly as a group and display greater levels of innovation," the authors wrote. "Because values are a guide for behavioral choices, group members who share similar values are more likely to agree about group actions, and vice versa."
Finding your DiSC style
Which DiSC style are you most closely aligned with? Discprofile offers an outline and overview of each.
A person with a Dominance (D) style wants to shape his or her environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results. He or she values confidence and focuses on the bottom line.
Traits: Blunt/direct; forceful; strong-willed; driven; fast-paced; self-confident
Behaviors: Sees the big picture; accepts challenges; gets straight to the point
Leadership styles: Commanding; resolute; pioneering
Needs to work on: Patience; sensitivity; looking at details; allowing for deliberation
Learn more about the Dominance style.
Someone with an Influence (i) style aims to shape his or her environment by influencing or persuading others. This person values openness, friendship and building relationships.
Traits: Enthusiastic; optimistic; convincing; warm; trusting
Behaviors: Likes to collaborate; dislikes being ignored; fears loss of influence/disapproval
Leadership styles: Energizing; pioneering; affirming
Needs to work on: Complete follow-through; speaking directly and candidly; researching all the facts
Learn more about the Influence style.
A person with a Steadiness (S) style wants to work with others within existing circumstances to carry out tasks. He or she values cooperation, sincerity and dependability.
Traits: Humble; calm; patient; deliberate; consistent; accommodating
Behaviors: Provides supportive actions; doesn't like to be rushed; tends to avoid change
Leadership styles: Inclusive; humble; affirming
Needs to work on: Adapting to change; multitasking, confronting others
Learn more about the Steadiness style.
As the name implies, someone with a Conscientiousness (C) style wants to work conscientiously within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy. This person values expertise, competency and objective reasoning.
Traits: Independent; analytical; careful/cautious; systematic; diplomatic; tactful
Behaviors: Maintains stability; wants details; challenges assumptions; fears criticism and being wrong
Leadership styles: Deliberate; humble; resolute
Needs to work on: Delegating; compromising; making quick decisions
Learn more about the Conscientiousness style.
A basic, free version of the DiSC assessment is available at discpersonalitytesting.com when you sign up for an account, or you can purchase the full suite of DiSC products, including the assessment, analysis tools and certifications, at discprofile.com.
What are the general characteristics of the D Personality Style? The D Personality Style tends to be direct and decisive, sometimes described as dominant. They would prefer to lead than follow, and tend towards leadership and management positions. They tend to have high self-confidence and are risk takers and problem solvers, which enables others to look to them for decisions and direction. They tend to be self-starters.
What does the D Personality Type contribute to a team? They think about big picture goals and tangible results. They are bottom-line organizers that can lead an entire group in one direction. They place great value on time frames and seeing results. The D may challenge the status quo and think in a very innovative way.
What are the possible weaknesses of the D Personality Style? They tend to overstep authority, as they prefer to be in charge themselves. At times they can be argumentative and not listen to the reasoning of others. They tend to dislike repetition and routine and may ignore the details and minutia of a situation, even if it's important. They may attempt too much at one time, hoping to see quick results.
What is the greatest fear of D Personality Types? The D Personality Type will craves to be in control of the situation, and therefore fears the idea of being taken advantage of by others.
What motivates the D Personality Style? The D is highly motivated by new challenges, setting and achieving goals, and seeing tangible results. They appreciate receiving verbal recognition from others as well as rewards. They enjoy power and authority to take risks and make decisions. Freedom from routine and mundane tasks is important. Since repetition is frustrating for the D, changing environments in which to work and play can be highly motivating.
What is the ideal environment for the D Personality Type? They like to focus on the future and the big picture, and like non-routine challenging tasks and activities. They are motivated by projects that produce physical, trackable or tangible results. They enjoy being in charge or having the freedom to make decisions for themselves and may crave freedom from controls, supervision, and details.
What does the high D Personality Style desire? D personalities desire freedom from others rules. They gravitate towards authority, personal freedom, and opportunity for advancement. They desire recognition, awards, and prestige for their work and ideas. In the work environment, D Personality Types, focus on promoting growth and a "bottom line" approach.
What should one remember to do when working with D Personality Types? When working with a D, be direct, to the point, and brief. Focus on tangible points and talk about "what" instead of "how". Focus on business instead of social topics and try to be results oriented. Make suggestions for how to achieve the goal instead of talking about why it won't work. Try to thinking like a D, be confident and focus on problem solving.
What should one remember not to do when working with an D Personality Type? When working with a D, it's important not to focus too much on the problems, the negative points, and the small details. They are big picture thinkers and may perceive you as negative. When speaking, try to speak confidently. Avoid repeating yourself or rambling. Don't make generalizations and make statements without support. Focus on the topic and do not be too sociable, they want to get right to the point.
What is a high D DISC Style likely to do when working with details or when analyzing information? Because the D Style wants to look forward and think in bigger terms, they tend to ignore the information and analysis of past experiences and the details of what new projects may entail. They may ignore potential risks, not weigh the pros and cons, and not consider the opinions of others. They will likely offer innovative and progressive ideas and systems, but will need someone else to break down the project and work with the specifics.
What positive characteristics does the D Personality Type possess when in teams? They will likely be very autocratic managers in a team environment and rise to the top during crisis moments. They will provide direction and leadership, push groups toward decision making, will maintain focus on the goals, and will push for tangible results. They can sometimes intimidate groups because of their directness and lack of social interest around others. They are generally optimistic thinkers, but may have personality conflicts with others they perceive as negative. They function well with heavy work loads and when under stress and welcome new challenges and risks without fear.
What are personal growth areas for D Personality Types? They may be perceived as always speaking and not listening to others. The D may need to strive to listen more actively, be attentive to other team members' ideas, and to strive for consensus instead of making decisions alone. Instead of making only broad, decisive statements, be careful to explain the "whys" of your proposals and decisions. The D can be controlling and domineering at times and will need to watch their tone and body language when feeling frustrated or stressed out. The D can be all business and goals, therefore may need to focus more on developing personal relationships, and recognizing the opinions, feelings, and desires of others. It may take some intentionality to be friendlier and more approachable.