DISC Personality Profiles: A Key to Understanding Yourself and Others

Disc Personality Profile

Ever wonder why others behave so oddly? Why don’t they think and act as you would in any given situation? We all, intellectually, grab hold of the concept that people are different, but do we actually believe it deep down? If we did, we might stop cussing out driver who just cut us off, or the lady in the checkout line who can’t find her coupons or check book. Or we might stop asking why that very tidy and organized gentleman in the office is “wound so tight,” or why the quiet, soft-spoken woman lets herself be the company doormat.

The fact is, we all view the world though “me-colored” glasses. We expect people to respond to situations, behave, and carry themselves as we would. And that can only lead to disappointment, because we don’t all handle life with the same tools. There is a tool, however, that can help you to get an understanding of others. You can begin to grasp their “why’s” and see people through “they-colored” glasses. This tool is called DISC.

What’s DISC?

DISC is a system or method of analyzing the behaviors of yourself and others in and easy to understand, non-technical way. It does this by dividing everyone into four basic personality styles. These styles mix and overlap to form the tapestry of unique individuals that we interact with each day, but by starting with these basic four, we begin to see people as they are.

The Four Styles

Each of the four letters in the acronym, DISC, help us to see the four different personality styles in a new light. Let’s take a quick look.

D – The “D” personality is a strong personality because D’s are outgoing yet task-oriented. They are self-starters who like to be in charge, and they have the ability to see “the big picture.” They are very goal oriented and result focused, good at beginning projects and seeing them through to their conclusion. You can recognize the D by these D-words: Direct, Decisive, Dominant, Doer.

D’s thrive on challenge, love to take risks, and love to take control. This high ego strength can be a very solid asset, but it can also be problematic if the D is not careful. D’s can sometimes step on others’ toes, take on too much work, or overstep their authority in their zeal to “get ‘er done!”

I – The “I” personality is a fun personality because I’s are also outgoing, like the D’s, but they are people-oriented rather than task-oriented. I’s like to have a good time. They like to meet new people and make new friends. In fact, to an I, a stranger is just a friend he hasen’t made yet. I’s are great starters. They can really get people motivated, activated, and “on-board” with the plan. I’s are great cheerleaders and encouragers. You can recognize an I by these I-words: Inspiring, Influencing, Interested.

I’s thrive when there are others around them. They enjoy people, and enjoy interacting with people. I’s are fun, talkative, engaging, and tend to be “the life of the party” types. People like I’s, and gravitate toward them because of their easy outgoing personalities. But I’s have their own set of challenges. While I’s are great starters, they are poor finishers. They tend to be less detail-conscious, and less interested in routine. Once the project is underway, the I can often be found abandoning it to start another one. Sometimes an I will place too much value on popularity, and being the center of attention, and not enough on the details and desired results.

S – The S personality is an easy personality for others to deal with. Like the I’s, the S’s are people-oriented, but they are more reserved. S’s tend to be good with people, but in smaller groups where they can really know the other person well. S’s like things to be easy and smooth, and don’t like confrontation and friction. You can recognize an S by these S-words: Steady, Stable, Status Quo.

The S personality is a very reliable, trustworthy personality. They can be counted on to do their jobs and keep their word. S’s are good listeners, and tend to put themselves into the shoes of others. They prefer that everything to stay calm and stay the same. The challenge for the S is breaking out of their self-imposed boxes. Where S’s like people, they tend to only associate with those they know very well. They belong to the same circle of friends that they have always belonged to: same lodge, same team, same group of friends they’ve known since high school. It takes them a while to warm up to new people, new situations, and new ideas. They can get “stuck in a rut” or even taken advantage of by more aggressive personalities.

C – The C personality is an excellent for jobs that require attention to detail, analysis, or precision. C’s are task-oriented like the D’s, but are more reserved like the S’s. They are the analytical and critical thinkers, and strive to “do it right.” C’s enjoy systems and systematic processes. You can recognize a C by these C-words: Correct, Conscientious, Calculating, Critical.

The C personality style lends itself nicely to tasks that require research, order, and high standards. C’s make good scientists, systems analysts, programmers, or accountants. Because of their reserved nature, C’s prefer to work with things rather than people, and prefer tasks that have limited social interaction. C’s run into trouble when they become over-attentive to detail. They tend to want to re-check their data, or make sure all their ducks are in a row, before they can act. On the extreme end, this can become paralyzing.

Why should I know this?

When you understand your own personality style, you begin to see why you are the way you are. Once you have an understanding of yourself, you can begin to unravel the mysteries of others. The lines of communication open, and understanding begins to blossom. Look at these personality styles as different languages. If you speak English, it doesn’t help the Spanish-speaker to understand your point if you just speak English more loudly. You might have to learn a little Spanish, and he might have to learn a little English, before you begin to communicate effectively. So it is with personalities. Determine your style, then go learn to speak the other three. Watch what happens.

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