Identifying behavioral styles and the way to communicate through the DISC model helps improve self-awareness and relationships. As each is different, understanding DISC communication styles and the behavior of each category of people is crucial in order to improve your communication at work and also outside it.

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People are truly effective when they relate correctly to themselves and to those they come into contact with. Unlike technological devices, human beings do not come with an instruction manual. So, regardless of the interaction area, the only solution is to know ourselves better and invest energy in understanding the behavioral tendencies of others, so that we can adapt our behavior to each situation and each interlocutor.

What is the DISC model and how can it help you?

When you need to better understand the profile of the employee you work with or your clients, to know what motivates them and how to relate to them, when you want to improve the collaboration of your team members, or when you are trying to better understand your personality and related strengths in your professional work, the DISC Model offers you a valuable and professional perspective. Understanding the rules of the DISC model means understanding also the needed communication styles and behavior in order to have a better relationship with yourself and others.

DISC Model

The DISC Model is a standardized and relatively easy-to-use way of assessing personality styles. Classification into one of the 4 personality types ((D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)readiness, and (C)onscientiousness) is based on 2 scales: people-oriented or task-oriented and fast or moderate self-paced.

The DISC model is a relatively easy-to-use way of assessing personality styles. Classification into one of the 4 personality types from the DISC model is done according to 2 scales: people or task orientation and fast or moderate self-pacing. Using the tool you can learn, for example, that you are a very people-oriented person. You can use the DISC Model in team building, in recruitment, to improve team performance, conflict resolution, etc.

Understanding these 4 behavioral types in the DISC model means that you can improve your communication style with these people and therefore you will improve your relationship.

Why is communication important in the professional area?

Communication is a way of transmitting information from one place to another, in theory. I say in theory because in 2020 I don’t think “simple” can be part of the definition of this skill anymore, as it is becoming harder and harder to have effective communication.

As an argument to this statement, I want to tell you that this skill, communication, is often the number one soft-skill employer look for in an employee. Thus, communication has become a skill, not something that comes ready-made, and like any other skill it can be trained, but we’ll go into details a little later.

But why is communication so complicated? Why are so many people scared of it or do employers pay so much attention to it? Let’s take a look at the diagram below.

Communication is a way we describe our reality, which everyone can see differently. This is where possible conflicts or misunderstandings may arise.

Now that we have clarified these issues and seen the usefulness of communication, but also the difficulties that come with it, we can move on to the next step of understanding the link between DISC personality types and communication styles.

How do personality types help in obtaining a better understanding of a person?

There is a multitude of studies on hundreds of thousands of people, which show certain patterns of characteristics and behavior that can be categorized into several groups. So there are several systems to choose from, each with a number of personalities ranging from 2 (introvert-extrovert) to 16 (16Personalities).

The system I have learned about and implemented over the last few years has 4 personalities and we will get into the details in a moment, but before that, I would like to give you another outline of the levels that are necessary to go through to get to communication.

1. Self-awareness

The first level may seem counter-intuitive, but it is self-discovery or self-awareness. This level is important to move forward because without knowing and understanding yourself, it is difficult to have effective communication with others.

2. Self-control

The next level is also about you and refers to when you get to control (self-control) certain reactions you have to different stimuli. To give you an example, if you know that someone is annoying you and you have to interact with them, through self-control you will be able to control yourself more easily because you are aware of this before the actual communication.

3. Understanding others

The third level is about understanding others. Here there are senses that we develop throughout our lives, and personality types come to our aid to more easily fit people with certain characteristics or reactions.

4. Communication

The last level is communication. Once we have managed to understand and control ourselves and manage to understand the people around us, we come to the process where we can communicate according to the personality of the person in front of us.

Going thru these four steps of deep understanding of a person will help you improve your relationship and communication style. Also, these aspects can help you figure out what issues may seem troublesome and improve them along the way.

Communication styles using DISC model

Now that we understand what is DISC model, why communication is important, and how to understand a person we can move on to applying DISC model to our communication style.

1. Communication style with a “D” Personality Type – Dominant

Communication with this type of person must be one based on efficiency, without unnecessary details.

  • the focus must be on results, figures, and clear questions
  • leave out the “small-talk”, the discussion must be concrete, directly to the topic
  • it is possible for this type of person to rush other people

2. Communication style with an “I” Personality Type – Influence

Communication with this type of person is based on interesting things

  • the discussion must be full of enthusiasm and energy
  • it is difficult to go into many details on one topic, it jumps from one topic to another.
  • it is quite possible to lose his attention quickly if he finds something more interesting

3. Communication style with an “S” Personality Type – Steadiness

Communication with this person is open, calm, and warm. He is often willing to listen to you when you need it.

  • he is 100% involved in the discussion, very empathetic
  • he is not willing to stand out, this type of person likes to be a man in the shadows
  • he seeks not to enter into conflicts, and not go out of his comfort zone

4. Communication style with a “C” Personality Type – Conscientiousness

Communication with him is full of details and questions, based on clear data and reliable information.

  • has expertise on the things they discuss
  • has no patience for discussions that he considers childish
  • goes into a lot of detail, whether useful or not

Going in depth in the communication styles scheme of DISC model and applicability

As you can see everyone has certain qualities and flaws in communication, and this is another very important aspect of communication skills. Figuring out based on your personality, how to approach the discussion with a particular personality can be tricky.

A very important thing to mention is the relationship between personalities on the diagonal. Naturally, they are opposites and are more difficult to approach. Thus, a Dominator is very likely to repulse a Stable, having opposite levels of empathy and patience. The other example is communication between an Influencer and a Conscientious, where energy and creativity levels are again opposites.

These types of communications simply require a little more attention and effort on our part.

1. Self-awareness

This important step can help you to identify your strengths, certain weaknesses, or certain reactions and behaviors depending on the situation. It can help you not necessarily judge your reactions, but to understand, accept and control them, if that is what you want.

Example of applying self-awareness in the academic environment

If your strong personality is “I” – Influencer and you have to take a technical exam, perhaps with many formulas, you may find that you tend to skip over details in general, and you can pay more attention to all the information required in the paper.

Example of applying self-awareness in the work environment

If your prominent personality is “D” – Dominant and you realize that your lack of empathy is damaging your relationship with your colleagues, you can make an effort from time to time to approach a few small-talk discussions and show genuine interest when communicating.

2. Communicating with others

Once you have mastered self-awareness, it will be quite easy for you to know what kind of communication styles are needed in interacting with other DISC personalities and what barriers you need to overcome in order to do this effectively.

It may be uncomfortable at first, but once you see its benefits, it can become a natural process in your life.

Example of applying DISC communication styles in the academic environment

Suppose your main DISC personality type is “S” – Steadiness, and one of your teachers has the main personality “C” – Conscientiousness. During class when you have to give an answer, even though it may seem like you are bragging and giving too much detail, try to do it, and they will appreciate it. It also shows that you care about the quality of your written work.

Example of applying DISC communication styles in the work environment

Suppose your main personality is “C” – Conscientiousnessand your manager has the main personality “D” – Dominant. You will have to put in some effort and extract only the information that is essential for him, not all the details that you may find important. Also, if he tells you to cut corners on quality, try not to immediately take it as a negative and work with him to find a balance between quality and turnaround time.

After all this information I’d like to end with a thought to settle the waters of this journey related to features and behaviors. For a team or a group to work there needs to be a balance of personalities, with everyone’s strengths being needed, but also the acceptance of their flaws. Just imagine a team made up of only dominators, they would be all over each other instantly. Or maybe a team of influencers only, the coffee break would exceed two hours.

Books to further understand DISC model

1. The 8 Dimensions of Leadership: DiSC Strategies for Becoming a Better Leader by Jeffrey Surgerman, Mark Scullard, Emma Wilhelm

2. Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

3. Positive Personality Profiles: D-I-S-C-over Personality Insights to Understand Yourself and Others! by Robert A. Rohm

4. Who Do You Think You Are Anyway? by Robert A. Rohm

Online resources:

https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc