Understanding our Behavioural Traits using DISC

Understanding our Behavioural Traits using DISC

Why we use DISC

A key part of the Hooked on Leadership program is building self awareness about our leadership style and how we adapt our behaviours to serve our teams. To help with this we use a behavioural profiling tool called DISC. The DISC model is based on the work of Carl Jung and William Marston and stands for Dominant, Influence, Stability and Conscientious which are the four main behavioural types in the model.

DISC profiles give a simple and easy insight into what is going on for each of us, what our default behaviour is, why we might conflict with certain people, why we see things differently and how we might come across to others. Knowing this about ourselves means that we can manage our behavioural responses and adapt our style and language to communicate better with others .

What is DISC

DISC is based around two behavioural dimensions, and so splits into quadrants.  The first dimension is Task focussed or People focussed, and this is normally represented on the vertical axis. The second dimension is Big Picture focussed or Detail focussed, which is normally represented on the horizontal axis.

A D profile is a big picture, task focussed person. An I profile is a big picture people focussed person. An S profile is a people focussed detail person, and a C profile is a task focussed detail person.

Ds tend to be direct, self confident and very outcome focussed. Sometimes they’re seen as blunt or bullies.

Is tend to be optimistic, sociable, fun and sometimes overly flamboyant and flighty, and they can get ‘shiny thing syndrome’ where they don’t seem to be able to focus on one thing at a time!

Ss tend to be the nurturer of the group. A bit like the glue that holds everything together. They build good relationships and are loyal. Ss aren’t always overly comfortable with change as they like to feel comfortable.

Cs are logical, analytical and precise. Work done by a C will be of the highest quality and very accurate. They are the master craftsman of their skill. And sometime Cs can come across as pedantic and picky and holding things up to ensure everything is done in the right way!

If we described each profile in one word – a D likes to Win, an I likes to be Liked, an S likes comfort and a C likes to be Right.

DISC, like any profiling tool, only gives us some of the picture because there is so much more to us than just our profile! Think about our values, beliefs, experiences – they also add up and impact our behaviours, but profiling tools do give some insight into how we experience the world, and what might happen to us under stress.

In future blogs we will go into each profile in depth but for now if we want to understand what profile someone might be we can consider their energy intensity. Ds are the most energy intense people, followed by I, S and then Cs. It doesn’t mean they have more energy or are more energetic, just that they give off a more intensive vibe. Ds and Is are ok ‘putting their energy out there’. Ss and Cs tend to hold it back which is why we can generally pick Ds and Is from their intensity.

And it’s important to note that profiling like this is an indication as to where a person chooses to put their energy. It’s not a pigeon holing exercise. We can be any profile at any time if we choose, we will find some of them take more energy to maintain than others. In fact, as leaders we need to be adaptable across each of the four profiles so that we ‘speak the language’ of everyone in our team.

If you’re interested in understanding how you can learn to adapt your style and change your leadership energy on the go, please get in contact. We’d love to talk to you about how Hooked on Leadership can help you and your team.