Guide: DISC Communication Types

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

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

How does the model work? Take a look at the 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 inspire 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

References

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247617924_Using_the_DiSCR_model_to_improve_communication_effectiveness

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26485702_Assessing_behavior_in_standardized_settings_The_role_of_objective_personality_tests