Thursday, February 23, 2012


This is the first in a series of newsletters in which we will explain the most common personality assessment on the market today. DISC is the foundation of understanding for virtually every human personality type.  The science of DISC is proven and trusted all over the world as the benchmark for all employee behavioural testing.

 D.I.S.C. stands for:

·         DOMINANCE

·         INFLUENCE

·         STEADINESS

·         COMPLIANCE *

(*note that some suppliers use the term CONSCIENTIOUSNESS in place of COMPLIANCE)

The elements of DISC are represented by a plethora of suppliers under a variety of aliases, including but not limited to colours, temperatures, seasons, bunnies and tigers and a variety of other pseudonyms. No matter what they are called, the elements of DISC are common to all personality types and vary in intensity from one person to another.

Here is a breakdown of what DOMINANCE, INFLUENCE, STEADINESS and COMPLIANCE mean in these surveys.

DOMINANCE: This is the element of an individual’s personality that indicates competitiveness, drive and a desire to win. Highly dominant people tend become angry more often than lower dominant types. Dominance is a task oriented trait so once a highly dominant person takes on a task, they become determined to see it through to the end. These people often appear to be stern and severe. Once they have had an angry outburst, they forget the source of their anger quickly and move on to other things. Highly dominant people will often be seen as intimidating by others.

INFLUENCE: This is the element of an individual’s personality that indicates optimism, trust, and a sense of humour. Highly influencing people tend to joke around a lot, talk a lot, and use other people to get what they want out of life. Almost completely people-oriented, they need to be in the company of other human beings as often as possible. Highly influencing people like flashy, expensive cars, clothing, houses and virtually anything else they can show off. They are optimistic to a fault and trust almost everyone a little too much.  Highly influencing people will often be seen as the life of the party by others.

STEADINESS: This is the element of an individual’s personality that regulates the pace at which they do things. Highly steady people tend to hold off on decision making until they believe the decision is the right one. They like to do research and get the approval of others before they do almost anything. They are people-oriented and will usually be very sociable with everyone they meet. Highly steady people will take longer to do their work, but because they are very thorough, the work they do is generally of very high quality. Others will often see them as logical, thoughtful members of the team.

COMPLIANCE: This is the element of an individual’s personality that creates a need for rules and regulations in their lives. Highly compliant people tend to approach every challenge or project with caution and concern. Because they are task oriented, they tend not to fall for a sales pitch that is not accompanied by facts and figures. They can be fearful of not following rules to the point that if no rules exist, some will make up their own rules and insist that others follow them. They are sometimes seen by others as careful, unbending, conscientious and occasionally resistant to “outside the box” thinking. They often gravitate toward jobs that include a lot of detail work.


It is important to understand that every personality has all of these elements in it to varying degrees. As an example, someone might be highly dominant and low compliant, with a very low steady style and a moderate influencing style. Someone else might have a completely opposite blend of styles. It is rare to find any two DISC graphs that are exactly the same.

Understanding how the various elements of the DISC blend with each other is extremely important.  Hence, you should avoid referring to someone as HIGH DOMINANT or LOW COMPLIANT since all of the 4 elements will come into play in a variety of situations.

In future issues we will discuss DISC blending and the effects of intensity on overall behaviour.

This article is based on the work of William Moulton Marston. Find out more in my book, “Getting Along With People Is Easy!” available at Amazon.com or from the Dynamic Leadership website:


If you are interested in taking a survey or ordering one for someone else, please click on this link to order   https://www.dlionline.ca/courses.php

If you are interested in having a detailed formal seminar for your group, let us know. We offer 3 hour and 6 hour seminars, along with 2 and 3 day boot camps on a variety of leadership and management topics. Get in touch with us at www.dlionline.ca .

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