Deciphering DISC: Identifying Behavioural Styles

Explore the power of DISC behavioural assessment for effective communication and improved team dynamics – an introductory guide.

In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of DISC Theory, a powerful tool that unravels the mysteries of human behaviours and paves the way for more effective interactions in teams. This knowledge is a gateway to fostering better teamwork and effective communication. While this overview of the fundamentals will provide valuable insight, for the most impactful improvement our DISC Profile Assessments are an invaluable resource.

At Team8, we offer two unique behavioural profiling products: the Team8 DISC Profile and the TeacherDISC Profile. These profiles define patterns of human behaviour as four primary styles, represented by the letters D, I, S, and C: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientious. 

Below is a quick overview of each DISC style:

Dominance (D): Someone who measures highest in Dominance (a ‘High D’) will be fast-paced (movement, talking, deciding), more direct (to the point), goal-oriented (focused on achieving outcomes), and personally more guarded (do not disclose personal information readily).

Influence (I): A person who measures highest in Influence (a ‘High I’) will be fast-paced (movement, talking, deciding), more direct (to the point), people-oriented (seek out and enjoy the company of others, wants to be ‘liked’), and personally more open (disclose personal information readily).

Steadiness (S): Those who measure highest in Steadiness (a ‘High S’) are slower-paced (slower to move, talk, and respond), more indirect (take time to get to the point and give detailed information), people-oriented (seek quality relationships with others), and personally more open (will disclose personal information, once rapport is established).

Conscientious (C): Someone who measures highest in Conscientious (a ‘High C’) will be slower-paced (slower to move, talk and respond), more indirect (take time to get to the point and gives detailed information), task-oriented (focused on completing tasks and following process) and personally more guarded (do not disclose personal information readily).

DISC Graph

Now, let’s dive into the really intriguing part of DISC, where we can use our understanding of it to enhance our communication and relationships with others, by being able to quickly and accurately identify each style. 

Simply ask two essential questions:

  1. Is this person more direct and fast-paced, or indirect and slower-paced?
  2. Is this person more guarded and task-orientated or open and people-orientated?

Using the answers we define, we can start to practice adaptability through the behaviours we choose to use when interacting with them, if we deem that a different behaviour to one we most prefer, might enhance our communication effectiveness. 

Let's look at the X-Axis on the DISC Model

Indirect/slower-paced (S and C styles left of the vertical line)

Common behaviours:

  • Infrequent use of gestures and voice intonation to emphasize points
  • More patient and cooperative
  • Often makes qualified, well-structured statements
  • Subtle body language or gestures
  • Infrequent but profound contributor in the team
  • More likely to wait for others to introduce themselves
  • Reserves expression of opinions

Direct/fast-paced (D and I styles right of the vertical line)

Common behaviours:

  • Frequently uses gestures and voice intonation to emphasise points
  • Less patient; more competitive
  • Often makes emphathetic, generalised statements.
  • Sustained eye contact
  • Frequent contributor in the team
  • Expresses opinions readily and openly
  • More likely to introduce self to others
Let's look at the Y-Axis on the DISC Model

Direct/fast-paced (D and C styles right of the vertical line)

Common behaviours:

  • Keeps feelings private
  • Limited range of facial expressions
  • More formal and proper
  • Avoids/minimises physical contact
  • Goes with the suggested program
  • Speaks in specifics; cites facts and examples
  • Formal body language or gestures
  • Conversation stays on subject
  • Appears less emphathetic

Open/people-oriented (I and S styles below the horizontal line)

Common behaviours:

  • Shows feelings and enthusiasm freely
  • Emphasizes main ideas
  • Goes with the flow
  • Conversation can wander in team meetings
  • Opinion–orientated
  • Animated facial expressions
  • Easy to get to know
  • Friendly body language or gestures
Looking at the Whole Picture

The Four Basic Behavioural Styles Overview

When you combine these behavioural elements, you create each of the four different DISC behavioural styles. Individuals who exhibit guarded and direct behaviours are Dominance Styles; direct and open behaviours are Influence Styles; open and indirect behaviours are Steadiness Styles; and indirect and guarded behaviours are Conscientious Styles. The chart below illustrates common characteristics of each of the four styles.

Overview of DISC Styles

Understanding DISC is like piecing together a puzzle, and this knowledge is a game-changer for understanding how people behave in their work environments. DISC acts as a window into you own and others’ behavioural tendencies and can provide a tangible and consistent framework for improving your interactions with them. At Team8, we use DISC as a foundational tool for developing self-awareness, building leadership or professional capabilities, enhancing team awareness and cohesion, and ultimately creating best performances and outcomes for organisations. 

Where to from here?

To be the best in the most demanding and competitive business environments, you need the best resources, and to prioritize your most important asset; people. Team8 specialises in helping you, your team, and your clients unleash their full potential through the transformative power of DISC Profiling. We’re here to champion and make a valuable contribution to your success and the success of those you work with. If we can help you and your team organisation perform at your best, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We look forward to hearing from you!

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