DISC® – What’s Your Style?

Samantha began the team meeting as she would any other meeting – diving right into the cold, hard facts that they were missing revenue targets, and she was hot.  Samantha hardly noticed the eye rolls of some, though she hardly cared, and certainly didn’t understand why Bill in Marketing seemed to clam up anytime there was a hint of conflict.  Maryann, however, didn’t hold back, and fired right back, “Now hold on there, this has been an incredibly tough quarter and it’s not entirely our fault.” Tensions and anxiety rose and emotions began to govern the meeting more than trust, understanding, and accountability.  The meeting ended with the team being no closer to a solution, and only more hurt, angry, and confused.

Have you ever experienced a meeting like this?  Or perhaps an unfortunate interchange with your manager or your colleague where something somewhere went horribly wrong and you can’t figure out how to fix it?  Why do things like this happen, and what, if anything, can be done about it?

Creating a high-performing and a high-trusting team requires much skill and time, but one incredibly simple, and highly effective tool teams everywhere can start with is the use of behavioral profiles.

Performance Culture believes so strongly in the effectiveness of behavioral profiles that we’ve included a place on each employee profile for these reports to be attached, allowing for organizational-wide visibility and yes, application of what’s learned from them.  No more stashing away in the proverbial drawer, never to be seen again.

While there are many behavioral assessments out there, each with various benefits and applications, we prefer the DISC® behavioral assessment for its simple, yet thorough approach.

DISC® speaks to four basic behavioral styles:  D (Dominance), I (Influence), S (Steadiness) and C (Conscientiousness). Everyone possesses some amount of each style, but usually, display a primary and often secondary style. Knowing your DISC® profile, and that of your team members removes the guesswork out of how to best communicate with one another.  It also explains what to avoid. DISC® provides a roadmap to ensure a greater chance of achieving your goal.  In short, it helps you speak the same “language.”

This past year, I had the opportunity to participate in a DISC® Workshop. I was not surprised with my results, which indicated I valued collaboration, generating enthusiasm and giving support (IS profile). However, I was surprised to learn about the communication preferences and priorities of the other behavioral styles. The training helped me better understand how to work with each style, paying attention to behavioral clues we all give.


In our story above, Samantha demonstrates a drive for results, and Maryann doesn’t seem to be afraid of conflict; she may very well enjoy it.  A high D (Dominance) values getting fast results, acting quickly and challenging themselves and others. I learned that when working with a higher D, I shouldn’t take things too personally, and to deliver results, on time, and to be quick and to the point with my communication.

I have worked with this style before. I remember feeling overwhelmed and a bit attacked during some interactions. At the time, I did not realize his behavioral style and assumed I was the reason for the tension. DISC® allowed me to understand he prioritized results and placed less value on creating a close relationship.

Conversely, the low D profile values a collaborative approach to decision-making, not preferring to make decisions on his own or too fast.  He may tend to avoid conflict, often using humor to diffuse the tension in the room.


Do you know a coworker who expresses enthusiasm, takes action and enjoys working with and being around people? This coworker likely has an I style, just like me. A coworker I knew with this style prioritized action and enthusiasm. This connection allowed us to relate and openly share ideas. However, sometimes we got a bit too excited and needed to slow down and analyze things more in depth.

Good salespeople tend to possess a high I profile because as the name suggests, they are often able to influence others towards a goal.  High I styles are trusting and optimistic.  As you might expect, low I styles tend to be less trusting – at least at first – and usually prefer more alone or quiet time.  An introvert would more than likely score as a low I.


If someone in your office is an S style, giving support, maintaining stability and enjoying collaboration are priorities. Do you know someone like this? I had the opportunity to work closely with an S style. I noticed how she was always willing to listen and help me. She had a calm and patient approach and focused on maintaining an orderly environment. My coworker and I generated a comparison report of our two styles to see how we could more effectively work together. Knowing how she operated and what her priorities were enabled a more effective relationship.

High S styles also tend to dislike change for change’s sake, or that’s how changes to policies and procedures may seem to them.  Alternatively, a low S is quick-paced, often ready to move on to the next project, and can be change agents for your organization.

High S styles, while usually very friendly and warm, can seem fairly non-emotional under stress.  The high D or high I might wonder, “Does this person really get it?  Do they care?”


This employee prioritizes ensuring accuracy, maintaining stability and challenging assumptions. A piece of advice I received from a peer with the C style was, “Asking in-depth and skeptical questions is my way of ensuring superior results. Please have patience so I can understand your point of view.”

Before taking DISC®, the impression I often got from a C style was he or she was unfriendly and took too long to complete a task. DISC® allowed me to understand this is how he or she ensures accuracy, mistakes being a very real fear. I had to realize a C style was looking for precision and may not be keen to large amounts of enthusiasm, even if that’s what I felt would build a stronger relationship.

I also learned that it might not be a good idea to place a low C style in a quality-control type position.  Not that they couldn’t do the job, but it might not come as easy.

No style is better than another; all are equally valuable, and in fact, all are vital to a team’s success.  For example, think of what would happen if there were no higher D styles on a team – nothing would get done!  Or at least the project would be in danger of missing an important deadline.

It’s helpful to understand your style and that of others. From what I learned, I can now create an action plan for building effective relationships with others. In a past work experience, DISC® was available for any department to use. The results were hung for the entire team to see, creating an opportunity for increased understanding and a commitment to communicate as effectively, and respectfully, as possible.

What is your style?

Want help building more effective relationships in your organization?  If so, please contact us to learn more about our Performance Culture System and Process.