The DISC model of human personality types is a powerful tool for success. Your ability to identify a person’s primary DISC personality style, and to use that knowledge appropriately is the key to Adrian Law’s Platinum Rule (which is the subject of another article altogether). So what exactly is the DISC model and why should you care?

DISC was developed nearly 100 years ago (in the 1920’s to be exact) by Professor William Marsden. Professor Marsden concluded that there are four different behavioral styles. He also concluded that each person exhibits some of each style, but has one dominant style that influences most everything they do. Because people tend to interact best with those who are like them, recognizing a person’s DISC style enables you to interact with them more effectively. And the more successfully you interact with others, the more likely you are to get what you want out of that interaction.

The four personality styles that the professor identified are: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance (hence the acronym DISC). As you would expect, a person’s dominant personality style has a major impact on all aspects of their lives, including how they interact with others and how best you can interact with them. For example, a person who has a primarily high-D personality will be eager to shake things up, make changes, alter things to work the way they like best. A high-S personality values stability over all else and would be likely to resist change, even when it would be beneficial to them. Unless one of them alters the way they interact, this pairing will cause a lot of stress.

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Because each personality type values different things, and we all tend to like people who are most like us, you need to take a person’s DISC style into account when dealing with them. If you’ve ever tried to chit-chat with a high-D person, or stay right on task with a high-I person, you know the futility of trying to interact with a person using a style that isn’t compatible with their own. Since this is so, the ability to recognize someone else’s DISC personality style and modify your approach to one that is compatible with theirs is a powerful tool for succeeding in your interactions with them.

Author: Bill Mann

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