How The Disc Personality Test Can Transform Both Your Work And Family Life

By Judy Sullivan

As a tool for understanding ourselves and others, the DISC personality test is widely regarded as one of the most useful available. It is based upon the theories of William Moulton Marston and reveals the basic characteristics that shape our thinking and behaviour. By using the test, we can learn a tremendous amount about ourselves and the people we associate with, and greatly improve our career and home lives.

According to DISC theory, we each exhibit one of four main personal styles. They are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Every individual is a combination of the four types, but most of us will have a dominant one. This is augmented by a secondary style, a third style and an inferior style. Some people can have an absent style. Below is a brief outline of each style.

Someone with a Dominant style will be one of life's competitors. These folks are bold action-takers who thrive on challenge. They may be regarded as blunt, forceful, decisive, demanding and with a strong personality. However, their lack of tact can alienate others, and this can work against them. The key to getting along with a D-type is to be clear and to-the-point, stand your ground, and don't test their patience.

Influence style folks are enthusiastic doers who value social recognition and collaboration. They are often described as charismatic, warm, optimistic and fun to be around. Although often highly competent, they can be disorganised and can have trouble following through once their initial enthusiasm has waned. To get along with an 'I', be positive, a team player and don't overwhelm them with too many details.

Co-operative and good-natured, those with the Steadiness style are amiable and dependable. They like stable environments where there are firm rules and where they will be appreciated. They dislike aggression and discord, and get along best with those who share their friendly outlook. On the downside, their traditionalist orientation can make them resistant to change, and their good nature can lead them to be over-accommodating.

Those with the Conscientiousness style tend to be highly independent, analytical and put a lot of store by competence and accuracy. They may be described by others as low-key, tactful, cautious and careful. Their detail-orientated mindset can make them over-analytical, they can also be over-critical. To get on with a C-type, stick to facts and logic, avoid touchy-feely language, and be patient.

It's clear that each style is very distinct, and these differences reveal why there is so much conflict and misunderstanding in everyday life. These inter-personal challenges are made less problematic when one has a deeper understanding of others, and oneself. Knowledge of DISC can make communication with other people, and getting along with them, vastly easier. It also reveals why people can behave the way they do, and thus make their behaviours much less puzzling.

For those with managerial jobs, the DISC personality test can make organizing personnel effectively much easier. People can be matched with tasks or jobs that suit their style, and lead to much better morale and output. At a purely social level, having insight into the four styles can make social and family life much easier and more rewarding.

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