Introduction to DISC Personality Assessments
17th December 2015
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Everyone should be treated with care and respect. Whilst people are different, everyone has a value with special strengths and qualities. People very rarely set out to cause upset - they just behave differently. That’s because they are different.

Personality assessments are useful tools that can give some interesting insights into these differences around motivation, management style, communication, relationship building, etc.

The theories that underpin personality assessments are surprisingly easy to understand at a basic level. There are many different personality and motivational models and theories, and each one offers a different perspective.

One of the most widely used, well respected and highly developed models is based on the theories of Dr William Moulton Marston, from his book Emotions of Normal People (1928). His ideas have been developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota into a robust, validated assessment tool known as DISC.

The DISC model presents a series of four main descriptions (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance).

Dominance = Results driven - strategic planning and action towards identified aims - tends to be outspoken.

Influence = Influence, persuasion, affability - communication and people skills - tends to be extraverted.

Steadiness = Steadiness and process - routine, dependability, reliability, credibility, trustworthy - tends to be team-orientated.

Compliance = Compliant with rules, proven principles, detail, accuracy -tends to be introverted.

Most people have a dominant or preferred main type, plus one or two supporting types in different degrees, which are dependent upon the individual and the situation. The main characteristics of their dominant or preferred type are displayed allowing for recognition of a broad range of generalised behaviours.

DISC testing instruments assess people's strongest or preferred type and their supporting types from the four available. The results are represented on a series of graphs and personality descriptions based upon the mixture of the types.

Once identified and recognised, each type can be seen to react differently in a given situation, to work with tasks in their own way and to engage with people in different ways. There is no right or wrong type, the important point is that each type has differing strengths and liabilities.

The research and development over the years means that DISC can give valuable insights into predicting behaviour in the workplace and behaviour under pressure. In recruitment, DISC can provide very valuable compliment to the interview process.

This article can only give a very quick overview of the tool. To find out more you can enroll for free in my class Behavioural Styles and Teamwork on Skillshare using this link -

The best way to get a clear understanding of your own profile is to take the assessment provided by a reputable, respected company. From this you can see what the assessment shows and how it can support you as part of a recruitment process or in your personal and management development. If this is of interest to you, please get in touch at

About the Author

Robin H

Member since: 11th May 2011

Robin Hills is Director of Ei4Change – a company based in Bolton specialising in leadership development, tem workingand people development through the practical application of emotional intelligence.


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