DISC Assessment: From Theory to Behavioral Styles to Communicate Better


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Self-awareness is indispensable to your success. Awareness of others Behaviors holds just as much weight.

Think of the value of discovering your own Communication Style and how you can capitalize on your strengths and personal motivators.

Next, think of the value of discovering how others Behaviors are intertwined with your demeanor and identifying what makes them tick, and how you can motivate and build off of their strengths.

These insights appear when a DISCcert Certified Trainer explains one's DISC Graphs and Reports.

DISCcert, a national leader in DISC Certification, understands the importance of the DISC Behavioral Assessment as a tool towards fostering successful conversations and relationships.

As a result, this affects individuals as well as creates a positive workforce and culture.

In this article, we discuss four areas of Styles/Behavior, how to become people smart, compare the two popular Assessments on the market today, myths about DISC that need to be demystified, and more. 

Chapter 1

What is DISC? Gaining Insights into Communication Styles

DISC is a Style Assessment. It is an acronym for the four primary Behavioral drivers: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. DISC Assessments are imperative self-evaluation tools.

The DISC Assessment gives you extraordinary information on how you prefer to communicate with others. And further provides insight on how other Communication Styles want to be communicated with and treated. The insights gained from DISC Assessments are essential for improved communication and interpersonal relationships.

The DISC Assessment itself generates a DISC Report that provides insights into your Style, others' Style and how each interacts. We all have a little of each DISC Style within us. And when you think about it, we all live and work in an environment where we need to communicate and poor communication is frustrating and futile...

  • Think of a hiring Manager trying to sift through a pile of applicants to determine the best match for a position. Your company could use DISC as part of their hiring process to find the right fit.

  • Think of yourself trying to respond to a colleague without conflict or stress (Your Style and understanding their Style and how Behavior impacts or improves teamwork and decreases conflict is invaluable.)

  • Think of top executives or CEO's that are looking to improve interpersonal communication skills to help their effectiveness in leadership

Can you see where understanding people's Behavioral differences come in extremely handy?

For one, implementing DISC could help a team overcome communication challenges and re-engage employees. Here's an alarming fact: 35% of all US employees are disengaged and looking for a new job. In fact, actively disengaged employees cause U.S. companies between $450 – $550 billion in lost productivity per year. [source]

This cost is a result of employees not being able to effectively communicate in their organization.

Let's face it...

Everybody can stand to enhance their communications with others. It can be as easy as just appreciating the similarities and differences in our Styles. 

What are the different Styles? (I will discuss the different Styles in Chapter 3).

But first...

Let's look at how it all began and how DISC evolved over time.

Chapter 2

DISC History From Theory to Assessment

The past 100 years have seen an evolution in the DISC Models, DISC interpretation and Validation. Today, the DISC Assessment has been used by over a million people yearly to improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication.

The timeline below highlights the growth of DISC and its advantages to a more communicative world.

Early 1920’s Carl Jung, father of analytical psychology, outlined the four Types of personalities/human Behavior. "Jung proposed that the human psyche contains within itself psychological constructs developed throughout the evolution of the human species." [source

Jung theorized we fall into two categories: Introvert or Extravert. And further into: Judging or Perceiving categories. [source]

1928 - DISC Model of Behavior was proposed by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, in a book entitled Emotions of Normal People. He believed the four primary Behavioral Types should be categorized as Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C) [source

Marston's work built on the theory of Jung's but created a four quadrant model.

1940 - Dr. Clarke constructed the first actual DISC Assessment. He named this Assessment Tool the "Activity Vector Analysis". Respondents took the Assessment two times, first with "Least" selections, and again with "Most" selections.

1950’s - Dr. Cleaver figured out a way to combine the process of selection, so the Assessment needed only to be administered one time. His Assessment was designed so that you must choose one out of four options, creating a "Forced Choice" Tool.

1970's - Dr. John Geier, a prominent psychologist, and professor at the University of Minnesota, created the DISC Assessment that is used today as the standard for all DISC Assessment Instruments. His Tool updated the Assessment terminology, and was designed to be a more user-friendly format. He also renamed the Assessment as the “DISC.”

Currently - We are using DISCcert System which continues to focus on patterns of external observable Behaviors. 

The four primary Behavioral Types are categorized as Dominant (D), Influence (I), Steady (S), and Conscientious (C) ©.

The next section will cover the 4 Behavioral Types in more detail.



Chapter 3

DISC Behavioral Styles [DISCcert Model]

The four basic DISC Behavior Types recognized today are Dominant (D), Influence (I), Steady (S), and Conscientious (C). The first letter of each of the Behavior patterns creates the acronym DISC.

Each Behavior Style has a significantly unique Orientation. Each Orientation denotes a specific focus that generates personal energy and motivation, and as a result, there is a wide variance in the preferences to act.

The DISC quadrants are divided in halves (as you can see in the image above) to recognize the different Styles. First is based on Pace.  S and C Styles run at a deliberate Pace and are more reserved. D and I Styles are noted as quick and more active. Next, priority is addressed. The D and C Styles are more task-oriented, whereas the I and S Styles are more people-oriented. 

Next, let's drill-down the DISC Styles and their different Behaviors.

Four DISC Styles and What to Look For


D Styles tend to like full control in most situations and are competitive and result-oriented people. People with high "D" (Dominant) Behaviors are problem solvers. They like to get right to the point and do not spend time on non-essentials. To win with them, provide facts and anticipate questions.


I Styles are people-oriented, typically focus on the positive and do not necessarily focus on the details. People with high "I" (Influence) Behaviors are bubbly and love to talk. Out of all the Styles, they are probably the talkers of the bunch. And are known to like being the center of attention. I Styles like to be involved and build alliances. They like when you acknowledge their ideas and ask for their opinion.


S Styles are also people-oriented but more reserved. They are known to be stable, dependable, and methodical. They are reliable as well as a team player. People with high "S" (Steady) Behaviors love to plan everything. When working with an S Style be aware they like a plan and a good follow-through process. 


C Styles think logically and are task-oriented. They are the most analytical out of the four Styles. People with high "C" (Conscientious) Behaviors are all about following procedure. The best way to get along with a C Style is always be prepared when talking with them and provide documentation.

Each of us has some D-I-S-C in our overall behavior. What defines your natural Pattern is what Styles are above the "energy line". Most people do have Combination Style, two or three Styles above the "energy line". In these circumstances, whatever Style has the highest intensity is listed first in the DISC Pattern. When you receive your DISC Report after you complete the DISC Assessment, you learn your Natural Communication Style(s) and how to build your Style(s) with others.

Take my complimentary DISCcert online DISC Assessment.

It's simple and helps measure Communication Behavior preferences. Plus, it only takes 10 minutes but will change the way you speak with others forever:

Get Your Free DISC Assessment

Chapter 4

Why it Works and How to Become People Smart

The DISC Model stems from the idea that in order to go from point A to point B, people have different ways of going about it. If you are leading a team, it's best to leverage the talents of the team in a way that speaks to each individual.

Consider this...