DISC is about how a person behaves and prefers to give and receive information. It does not offer information on how intelligent people are, their background or experience. There are no good or bad styles, and people can be a blend of more than one.
The DISC Assessment is known for these communication and behavior types: D (Dominance), I (Influence), S (Steadiness) and C (Compliance):
- D: How a person responds to problems and challenges. This style is a bottom-line organizer, forward-looking, challenge-oriented, initiates projects and is innovative.
- I: How a person influences people and contacts. This style is optimistic, enthusiastic, creative at problem solving, team oriented and can negotiate conflict.
- S: How a person responds to pace and consistency. This style is dependable, team oriented, patient, empathic, logical, loyal and will support a leader and a cause.
- C: How a person responds to procedures and compliance. This style maintains high standards, is conscientious, clarifies information and tests out directives, asks the right questions and focuses on task completion.
DISC is a group of psychological inventories developed by John Geier, and others, and based on the 1928 work of psychologist William Moulton Marston and the original behavioralist Walter V. Clarke and others
DISC proponents believe that characteristics of behavior can be grouped into these four major "behavior styles" and they tend to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style. All individuals possess all four, but what differs from one to another is the extent of each.
The assessments classify four aspects of behavior by testing a person's preferences in word associations. DISC is an acronym for:
- Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
- (Note: Sometimes the word Drive is used in place of Dominance)
- Inducement – relating to social situations and communication
- (Note: Sometimes the word Influence is used in place of Inducement)
- Submission – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
- (Note: Sometimes the word Steadiness is used in place of Submission)
- Compliance – relating to structure and organization(Note: Sometimes the words Caution or Conscientiousness are used in place of Compliance)
These four dimensions can be grouped in a grid with "D" and "I" sharing the top row and representing extroverted aspects of the personality, and "C" and "S" below representing introverted aspects. "D" and "C" then share the left column and represent task-focused aspects, and "I" and "S" share the right column and represent social aspects. In this matrix, the vertical dimension represents a factor of "Assertive" or "Passive", while the horizontal dimension represents "Open" vs. "Guarded".
- Drive: People who score high in the intensity of the "D" styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low "D" scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High "D" people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.
- Influence: People with high "I" scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low "I" scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.
- Steadiness: People with high "S" styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High "S" individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low "S" intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low "S" scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.
- Compliance: People with high "C" styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High "C" people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. Those with low "C" scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and unconcerned with details.