Guide: DISC Communication Types

DISC Communication Types

DISC: Dominant, Influencing, Steady, Compliant. It’s one of quickest growing workplace profiling assessemnts aside from the Kiersey Temperament Sorter and MBTI®. Why’s that?

The key quality that sets it apart from other personality inventories is its focus on communication: through speaking in meetings and writing through emails.

The DISC assessment traces its roots back to the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston in the early 20th century.

William Marston, known for his contributions to psychology and as the creator of the comic book character Wonder Woman, developed the DISC theory in the 1920s. He believed that people exhibit distinct patterns of behavior that could be categorized into four primary dimensions.

Marston’s theory proposed four primary behavioral styles: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Compliance (C). These dimensions reflected different personality traits and ways of interacting with the environment.

One of the notable contributors to the development and popularization of the DISC assessment was Walter V. Clarke. In the 1950s, Clarke expanded on Marston’s work and created the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA), which incorporated the DISC dimensions into a questionnaire format.

The AVA became widely used in organizational settings to assess employee behavior and improve team dynamics. The DISC assessment has gained popularity due to its practicality, simplicity, and applicability in a wide range of contexts, including business, education, and personal relationships.

You can take the DISC test here with Truity.

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What are the characteristics of each DISC type? Read on our DISC guide to find out:

D – Dominant

Characteristics of Dominant (D) communicators:

  • Futuristic
  • Results-driven
  • Concise
  • Clear
  • Quick-moving

I – Influencing

Characteristics of Influencing (I) communicators:

  • People-focused
  • Persuasive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Energetic
  • Approachable

S – Steady

Characteristics of Steady (S) communicators:

  • Harmonizing
  • Cooperative
  • Empathetic
  • Collected
  • Neutral

C – Compliant

Characteristics of Compliant (C) communicators:

  • Analytical
  • Data-driven
  • Precise
  • Descriptive
  • Perceptive

In most cases, individuals possess a blend of two (or even three) strong DISC types, described in greater detail below:

Dual-Blend DISC Types

DI (Dominant-Influencing)

Natural leader with a charm and appreciation for building strong communities. 

Strengths: Decisive, confident, make sound decisions on behalf of an organization. See out-of-the-box solutions with ease.

Limitations: Unpredictable, prone to excessive multitasking. Can set a rushed pace to finish projects. Unintentionally comes off as controlling to subordinates.

DS (Dominant-Steady)

Servant leader who thoroughly enjoys helping others fulfill their potential.

Strengths: Empathetic yet headstrong, excellent event organizers, popular, responsible. Deliver firm yet caring feedback.

Limitations: May make decisions without considering backup plans or all available data. Have a tendency to overlook small yet important details.  

DC (Dominant-Compliant)

Autonomous, independent thinker with a drive to keep learning and exploring.

Strengths: Creative, big-picture focused, direct. Fiercely individualistic, able to see and consider many factors at once. 

Limitations: Can set unrealistically high expectations, may struggle with explaining complex information in simple terms. 

ID (Influencing-Dominant)

Optimistic and confident role model who inspires colleagues to work hard and achieve goals. 

Strengths: Enthusiastic, energetic, persuasive, high-energy. Excellent at encouraging teams to shift gears and experiment with new methods and strategies. 

Limitations: Difficulty in adhering to strict routines, overly optimistic about outcomes, may socialize more than necessary during and after meetings.

IS (Influencing-Steady)

Charismatic and empathetic leader who is motivated by positivity and the potential in people. 

Strengths: Optimistic and naturally charismatic communicators. Able to make others feel at ease instantaneously. Empathetic and warm. 

Limitations: Difficulty giving necessary constructive criticism, prone to stress during conflicts. May face disappointment with idealistic view of team members. 

IC (Influencing-Compliant)

Detail-oriented and energetic leader who is fluent with data and people.

Strengths: Well-rounded set of hard and soft skills, adaptable and productive. Able to crunch numbers and take team wellbeing into account when making decisions.  

Limitations: May lose sense of time and assertiveness midway through a project. Can be easily swayed by others’ opinions and feedback, in order to maintain their reputation. 

SD (Steady-Dominant)

Well-wishing and popular team worker who thrives in middle management roles.

Strengths: Gentle yet confident; inspirational role models. Attentive, encouraging and emotionally open.

Limitations: May disregard detailed or highly routined work. May have bouts of passivity and lethargy after long hours of concentration.

SI (Steady-Influencing)

Friendly and caring team worker who seeks harmony and acknowledgment. 

Strengths: Adaptable listeners and communicators. Calm under pressure, intuitive ability to keep the atmosphere tension-free. 

Limitations: Can expend too much energy trying to solve others’ interpersonal conflicts, difficulty in remaining level-headed when colleagues are under stress.

SC (Steady-Compliant)

Caring and pragmatic team worker who values open and respectful communication. 

Strengths: Detail-oriented and patient teachers. Meticulous and respectful in their problem-solving approach. 

Limitations: Shys away from conflict, has a tendency to overanalyze incoming information. Risk-averse and plays by the book. 

CD (Compliant-Dominant)

Serious and responsible individual who values competence and results.

Strengths: Highly efficient and focused. Straightforward; cuts to the chase. Precise and acute, have stellar time management skills. 

Limitations: Detached and isolated approach to problem-solving, prone to rash judgements and miscommunication with colleagues.

CI (Complaint-Influencing)

Easygoing and friendly team worker who collaborates well with any department. 

Strengths: Well-liked, diligent, and detail-oriented. Excellent at keeping order in both personal and professional spheres. 

Limitations: Overly focused on details, can make misjudgements of others’ emotions. Possess a tendency to work themselves to the point of burnout.

CS (Compliant-Steady)

Calm, modest, and detail-oriented team player who gently encourage others to collaborate effectively. 

Strengths: Excellent with time management and concentration; kind and organized. Quietly inspires others to work diligently and stay focused.

Limitations: May struggle with extended amounts of teamwork, get caught up in overthinking solutions. Cautious of trying new strategies.

Summary: DISC Communication Types

  • Dominant
  • Influencing
  • Steady
  • Compliant

By identifying and appreciating the diverse DISC profiles, people can foster better teamwork, adapt their communication styles, and enhance their ability to connect with others.

The DISC assessment offers a framework for personal and professional development, promoting empathy, understanding, and effective collaboration in a wide range of contexts.