The DiSC personality tool simply explained

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Get familiar with DiSC personality theory and how DiSC works

disc personality profile - disc partnerThe DiSC® Model of Behavior was first proposed in 1928 by William Moulton Marston. He never created a psychological instrument to measure his model. He wrote the DiSC personality theory, the assessment has been created by others later on.

The contemporary understanding of DiSC incorporates some core principles advanced by Marston as well as additions and changes brought by advances in psychological measurement and theory.

The 2 dimensions of human behavior

Vertical: the level of activity

disc-theory-vertical-model-disc-partnersDiSC personality  theory starts with the vertical dimension, best described as level of activity, ranging from active to thoughtful. People with DiSC personality styles at the top of the circle tend to be fast-paced and are often described as assertive, dynamic, and bold.

Traditional explanations of the model suggest that these people perceive themselves as more powerful than the environment. Because of this perception, they tend to exert effort to change their circumstances.

Conversely, people with styles that fall toward the bottom of the circle tend to be more moderate paced and are often described as calm, methodical, and careful. Traditionally, these people are thought to perceive themselves as less powerful than the environment, and thus they are more inclined to adapt to existing circumstances.

Horizontal: level of acceptance

disc-theory-everything-disc-horizontal-model-disc-partnersThe second step of DiSC personality theory brings us to the horizontal dimension. It runs from questioning to accepting. People with DiSC personality styles tending toward the left side of the circle are naturally more skeptical in nature and are often described as logic-focused, objective, and challenging.

A traditional explanation of these characteristics is that these people see the environment as antagonistic. In other words, they instinctively withhold trust from people and ideas until those outside elements can be thoroughly vetted.

On the other hand, people with styles on the right side of the circle are naturally more receptive in nature and are often described as people-focused, empathizing, and agreeable. Traditionally, they are said to see the environment as being aligned with their interests. In essence, they are biased to see the people and ideas around them as favorable and are thus inclined to trust them.

Stretching your mind

What is stretching your mind with DiSC?

When going from DiSC theory to practice, you discover the notion of “stretch”. The DiSC circle is continuous, which helps understanding the idea. Your style is your home base or comfort zone: imagine the effort it takes to adapt to other people.

How do you stretch within DiSC?

Here’s an example: someone with a C style may be comfortable working alone on analytical projects that require accuracy. At times, however, this person may be called on to mingle with strangers at a professional function. S/he is being asked to stretch across the circle toward the i style. Someone with the C style who has a dot close to the center of the circle will probably find this mingling distasteful, but manageable.

Someone with a C style and a dot located on the edge of the circle is more likely to find this mingling highly stressful. This person has to travel farther outside their comfort zone, and that will require more energy.

How is my dot related to stretch in DiSC?

As a general rule, people with dots located close to the center usually find it easier adopting “foreign” DiSC styles when the situation calls for it. People whose dots are on the edge of the circle may have to stretch more (and experience more stress) if they want to adopt another style. Since these people have more pronounced DiSC styles, these are often accompanied by some distinct strengths.

What DISC measures: the meaning of the four quadrants

DiSC measures preferred behavior, which is not personality, but both do have close ties. Intelligence, aptitude, mental health or values are not what DiSC measures. DiSC profile reports describe human behaviore in various situations, such as your reponse to a challenge, how you influence others, your preferred pace and how you respond to rules and procedures.

D style or Dominance

disc-personality-explained-simply-DA person with a preference for the “D” style places emphasis on accomplishing results, achieving the bottom line, showing confidence

One person never has one style, but a mix of all four. Human behaviour involves a mix of the four styles, that blend in to a unique personality. Style is influenced by experience, culture and environment.

Behavior
  • Sees the big picture
  • Can be blunt
  • Accepts challenges
  • Gets straight to the point
i style or Influence

disc-personality-explained-simply-IA person with a preference for the “i” style places emphasis on influencing or persuading others, relies on openness, creates and appreciates relationships.

One person never has one style, but a mix of all four. Human behaviour involves a mix of the four styles, that blend in to a unique personality. Style is influenced by experience, culture and environment.

Behavior
  • Shows enthusiasm
  • Is optimistic
  • Likes to collaborate
  • Dislikes being ignored
S style or Steadiness

disc-personality-explained-simply-SA person with a preference for the “S” style places emphasis on cooperation, appreciates sincerity, and worships dependability.

One person never has one style, but a mix of all four. Human behaviour involves a mix of the four styles, that blend in to a unique personality. Style is influenced by experience, culture and environment.

Behavior
  • Doesn’t like to be rushed
  • Calm manners
  • Calm approach
  • Supportive and humble
C style or Conscientiousness

disc-personality-explained-simply-CA person with a preference for the “C” style places emphasis on quality and accuracy, shows and expects expertise, respects competency.

One person never has one style, but a mix of all four. Human behaviour involves a mix of the four styles, that blend in to a unique personality. Style is influenced by experience, culture and environment.

Behavior
  • Enjoys independence
  • Objective reasoning
  • Wants the details
  • Fears being wrong
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