As people, we’re made to connect with one another. The challenge is that many times how we communicate, and what people hear, can be vastly different.

Do you know someone who…

  • Speaks bluntly and forcefully?
  • Is fun to hangout with, but can’t get anything done on time?
  • Can talk for 20 minutes before getting to the point?
  • Listens with great care and empathy?

Do you wonder…

  • Why do people do what they do?
  • Am I strange in how I think and look at problems, situations, and opportunities?
  • Does anybody else think like me?
  • Can I change someone else’s behavior?
  • How can I change my own behaviors?

People are different, and differences can cause conflict. But the conflict is not the result of the differences themselves. The real source of the conflict is the lack of understanding that occurs when people try to interact and communicate because we don’t understand why people do what they do. We take our intentions and tie them to other people’s actions. This is when assumptions, misconceptions, and unclear expectations impact performance.

What is People Literacy?

Different styles “speak” different languages and “behave” in very different modes. Being different is not wrong, it’s just different. This is why people literacy is so important. People literacy is critical to alleviating workforce conflict and improving communications, interactions, performance, and productivity. The DISC model helps people understand the “language” of the four basic behavioral styles and their differences. Understanding the differences, and learning a language for behavior, provides a proven methodology to manage those differences effectively.

What is DISC?

There are many models for human behavior, but the DISC Model is the most widely used model in the world. DISC has been used and validated in more than 40 countries by 50M+ users and provides a proven model to better understand, communicate, and connect with others. I’ve been teaching DISC for many years. And it’s one of the most profound tools I’ve ever taught and ever learned. In one day, you can literally learn the program and use it for the rest of your life. It’s simple, memorable, and immediately effective.

The four behavioral styles in the DISC model are:

D – Directing (or Dominance)DiSC Behavioral Instrument

I – Influencing

S – Steady

C – Conscientious

Individuals with a high D or C style tend to be more task-oriented. Those with a High I or S style tend to be more people-oriented.

D and I styles have higher energy while those with a C or S style are more reserved.

Characteristics of Each Style

Here are just some of the notable characteristics of each style:

  • D Style: Driven, Determined, Decisive, Daring, Dependable, Detached
  • I Style: Interactive, Imaginative, Inspiring, Intense, Innovative, Impulsive
  • S Style: Steady, Supportive, Sincere, Sacrifice, Sensitive, Safety
  • C Style: Cautious, Competent, Compliant, Comprehensive, Creative, Complicated

Improve Interactions with Other Styles

Communication is the core process for interaction at work. If you understand the characteristics of each style, you can employ the relevant interaction technique and alleviate so many of those issues of unclear expectations, assumptions, and misconceptions.

Try some of these strategies for communicating with the different styles:

D Style

  • Show big picture, bottom line
  • Get to the point
  • Focus on results, objectives
  • Based on facts, data
  • Show practical aspects
  • Be well organized, efficient
  • Give options to choose from

I Style

  • Be sociable, yet fast moving
  • Be reassuring to them
  • Allow to voice opinions
  • Provide immediate feedback
  • Optimistic, positive focus
  • Avoid extensive details
  • Offer support to help  

C Style

  • Show sincere appreciation
  • Be candid, open, informal
  • Show change as structured proven process
  • Specific personal impact
  • Clarify authority and responsibility expectations

S Style

  • Express value in their work
  • Be prepared and accurate
  • Build credibility with data
  • Explain concepts systematically
  • Allow time to process
  • Listen patiently

What’s your DISC behavioral style?

Keep in mind you can have more than one preferred style! Many of us will switch between two or even three styles. What’s yours? Enroll in the DISC: A Language For Behavior Online Course to take the DISC assessment. You will receive results interpretation, and additional strategies for communicating and managing different styles through innovation and change.

Mike McCausland-Founder-CEO

Mike McCausland

Founder and CEO, Leadership Institute For Entrepreneurs