DISC Explanation

What is DISC?

The DISC Personality System is the universal language of behavior. Research has shown that behavioral characteristics can be grouped together in four major divisions called personality styles. People with similar styles tend to exhibit specific behavioral characteristics common to that style. All people share these four styles in varying degrees of intensity. The acronym DISC stands for the four personality styles represented by the letters:

  • D (Drive)
  • I (Influence)
  • S (Steadiness)
  • C (Compliance)


D (Drive)

General Characteristics

Direct. Decisive. High Ego Strength. Problem Solver. Risk Taker. Self Starter

Value to Team:

Bottom-line organizer. Places value on time. Challenges the status quo. Innovative

Possible Weaknesses:

Oversteps authority. Argumentative attitude. Dislikes routine. Attempts too much at once.

Greatest Fear:

Being taken advantage of.

Motivated By:

New challenges. Power and authority to take risks and make decisions. Freedom from routine and mundane tasks. Changing environments in which to work and play.

Ideal Environment:

Innovative focus on future. Non-routine challenging tasks and activities. Projects that produce tangible results. Freedom from controls, supervision, and details. Personal evaluation based on results, not methods.

Remember a High D May Want:

Authority, varied activities, prestige, freedom, assignments promoting growth, “bottom line” approach, and opportunity for advancement.


Be brief, direct, and to the point. Ask “what” not “how” questions. Focus on business; remember they desire results. Suggest ways for him/her to achieve results, be in charge, and solve problems. Highlight logical benefits of featured ideas and approaches.


Ramble. Repeat yourself. Focus on problems. Be too sociable. Make generalizations. Make statements without support.

While analyzing information, a High D may:

Ignore potential risks. Not weigh the pros and cons. Not consider others’ opinions. Offer innovative and progressive systems and ideas.

D’s possess these positive characteristics in teams:

Autocratic managers – great in crisis. Self-reliant. Innovative in getting results. Maintain focus on goals. Specific and direct. Overcome obstacles. Provide direction and leadership. Push group toward decisions. Willing to speak out. Generally optimistic. Welcome challenges without fear. Accept risks. See the big picture. Can handle multiple projects. Function well with heavy work loads.

Personal Growth Areas for D’s:

Strive to be an “active” listener. Be attentive to other team members’ ideas until everyone reaches a consensus. Be less controlling and domineering. Develop a greater appreciation for the opinions, feelings, and desires of others. Put more energy into personal relationships. Show your support for other team members. Take time to explain the “whys” of your statements and proposals. Be friendlier and more approachable.

I (Influence)

General Characteristics:

Enthusiastic. Trusting; Optimistic. Persuasive; Talkative. Impulsive; Emotional

Value to Team:

Creative problem solver. Great encourager. Motivates others to achieve. Positive sense of humor. Negotiates conflicts; peace maker.

Possible Weaknesses:

More concerned with popularity than tangible results. Inattentive to detail. Overuses gestures and facial expressions. Tends to listen only when it’s convenient.

Greatest Fear:


Motivated By:

Flattery, praise, popularity, and acceptance. A friendly environment. Freedom from many rules and regulations. Other people available to handle details.

Ideal Environment:

Practical procedures. Few conflicts and arguments. Freedom from controls and details. A forum to express ideas. Group activities in professional and social environments

Remember a High I May Want:

Social esteem and acceptance, freedom from details and control, people to talk to, positive working conditions, recognition for abilities, opportunity to motivate and influence others.


Build a favorable, friendly environment. Give opportunity for them to verbalize about ideas, people and their intuition. Assist them in developing ways to transfer talk into action. Share testimonials from others relating to proposed ideas. Allow time for stimulating, sociable activities. Submit details in writing, but don’t dwell on them. Develop a participative relationship. Create incentives for following through on tasks.


Eliminate social time. Do all the talking. Ignore their ideas or accomplishments. Tell them what to do.

While analyzing information, a High I may:

Lose concentration. Miss important facts and details. Interrupt. Be creative in problem solving.

I’s possess these positive characteristics in teams:

Instinctive communicators. Participative managers – influence and inspire. Motivate the team. Spontaneous and agreeable. Respond well to the unexpected. Create an atmosphere of well being. Enthusiastic. Provide direction and leadership. Express ideas well. Work well with other people. Make good spokespersons. Will offer opinions. Persuasive. Have a positive attitude. Accomplish goals through people. Good sense of humor. Accepting of others. Strong in brainstorming sessions.

Personal Growth Areas for I’s:

Weigh the pros and cons before making a decision; be less impulsive. Be more results oriented. Exercise control over your actions, words, and emotions. Focus more on details and facts. Remember to slow down your pace for other team members. Talk less; listen more. Consider and evaluate ideas from other team members. Concentrate on following through with tasks.

S (Steadiness)

General Characteristics:

Good listener; Team player. Possessive. Steady; Predictable. Understanding; Friendly.

Value to Team:

Reliable and dependable. Loyal team worker. Compliant towards authority. Good listener, patient and empathetic. Good at reconciling conflicts.

Possible Weaknesses:

Resists change. Takes a long time to adjust to change. Holds a grudge; sensitive to criticism. Difficulty establishing priorities.

Greatest Fear:

Loss of security

Motivated By:

Recognition for loyalty and dependability. Safety and security. No sudden changes in procedure or lifestyle. Activities that can be started and finished.

Ideal Environment:

Practical procedures and systems. Stability and predictability. Tasks that can be completed at one time. Few conflicts and arguments. A team atmosphere.

Remember a High S May Want:

Security in situations, sincere appreciation, repeated work patterns, time to adjust to change, limited territory of responsibility.


Create a favorable environment: personal and agreeable. Express a genuine interest in them as a person. Provide them with clarification for tasks and answers to “how” questions. Be patient in drawing out their goals. Present ideas or departures from current practices in a non-threatening manner; give them time to adjust. Clearly define goals, procedures and their role in the overall plan. Assure them of personal follow-up support. Explain how their actions will minimize the risks involved and enhance current procedures.


Be pushy, overly aggressive, or demanding. Be too confrontational.

While analyzing information, a High S may:

Be openly agreeable but inwardly unyielding. Internalize their concerns and doubts. Hesitate to share feedback during presentation. Slow down the action. Provide valuable support for team goals.

S’s possess these positive characteristics in teams:

Instinctive relaters. Participative managers – accomplish goals through personal relationships. Make others feel like they belong. Show sincerity. Can see an easier way of doing things. Focused and intuitive about people and relationships. Full of common sense. Buy into team goals. Dependable. Identify strongly with the team. Strive to build relationships. Provide stability. Consider elements of a total project. Realistic and practical. Even-tempered. Provide specialized skills. Show patience with others. Loyal.

Personal Growth Areas for S’s:

Be more open to change. Be more direct in your interactions. Focus on overall goals of the team rather than specific procedures. Deal with confrontation constructively. Develop more flexibility. Increase pace to accomplish goals. Show more initiative. Work at expressing thoughts, opinions, and feelings.

C (Compliance)

General Characteristics:

Accurate; analytical. Conscientious; careful. Fact-finder; precise. High standards; systematic.

Value to Team:

Perspective: “the anchor of reality.” Conscientious and even-tempered. Thorough to all activities. Defines situation; gathers, criticizes and tests information.

Possible Weaknesses:

Needs clear-cut boundaries for actions/relationships. Bound by procedures and methods. Gets bogged down in details. Prefers not to verbalize feelings. Will give in rather that argue.

Greatest Fear:


Motivated By:

Standards of high quality. Limited social interaction. Detailed tasks. Logical organization of information.

Ideal Environment:

Tasks and projects that can be followed through to completion. Specialized or technical tasks. Practical work procedures and routines. Few conflicts and arguments. Instructions and reassurance that they are doing what is expected of them.

Remember a High C May Want:

Autonomy and independence, controlled work environment, reassurance, precise expectations and goals, exact job descriptions, planned change.


Prepare your case in advance. Delineate pros and cons of proposed ideas. Support ideas and statements with accurate data. Reassure them that no surprises will occur. Submit an exact job description with a precise explanation of how that task fits into the big picture. Review recommendations with them in a systematic and comprehensive manner. Be specific when agreeing. Disagree with the facts rather than the person when disagreeing. Be patient, persistent, and diplomatic while providing explanations.


Refuse to explain details. Answer questions vaguely or casually.

While analyzing information, a High C may:

Become overly cautious and conservative. Get too bogged down in details. Avoid or postpone decisions, especially if they perceive a risk. Be an effective trouble shooter.

C’s possess these positive characteristics in teams:

Instinctive organizers. “Do it yourself” managers – create and maintain systems. Strive for a logical, consistent environment. Control the details. Conscientious. Evaluate the team’s progress. Ask important questions. Maintain focus on tasks. Offer conservative approaches. Emphasize quality. Think logically. Will share risks and responsibilities. Work systematically. Will strive for consensus. Diplomatic. Analyze obstacles.

Personal Growth Areas for C’s:

Concentrate on doing the right things, not just doing things right. Be less critical of others’ ideas and methods. Respond more quickly to accomplish team goals. Strive to build relationships with other team members. Be more decisive. Focus less on facts and more on people. Take risks along with other team members.