Everyone should have a lens through which personalities and their interactions can be examined. Most of us are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, and who doesn’t enjoy clicking on a quiz online to see with which celebrity you would hang out? Knowing yourself is an important step in making changes, and learning how to interact with others who see the world differently can make life easier.

I became interested in DISC theory for many reasons, not the least of which is that it arises from the work of William Moulton Marston, a 1920’s Harvard Psychologist who also brought us lie detectors and Wonder Woman. His personal story outside of academia is fascinating and rebellious, as detailed in The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

His theory looks at people through four characteristics:

  • D = Dominant
  • I = Influencing
  • S = Steady
  • C = Compliant

The table lists various traits for each personality dimension. After taking the DISC test, you get a series of 3 graphs like these:

Analysis begins with the third graph on the right; this one represents how you perceive yourself. The middle graph shows your private self, the behavior pattern you are most likely to follow when stressed. The left graph demonstrates your mask, the persona you try to display to meet expectations.

Most people have more than one factor above the midline. In the example above, both D and I run high. Various combinations produce a variety of types that are discussed in DISC training. Some types work well together, some types play well together, and some types just don’t get along.

One thing I like about DISC is that results vary with the situation (home vs work). Preferences can be used to help situations. For example, task-oriented people can be coached to communicate better by thinking of interaction processes as tasks! I took the assessment twice, a few weeks apart. While the overall pattern remained the same, especially for that middle graph, the mask graph differed quite a bit as my conditions at work had changed. I’ve taken Myers-Briggs multiple times over the years, and it always comes out the same.

Personality is difficult to assess, and DISC provides one more tool in my box. I am pleased to be able to offer information about it to you. If you are interested in having your results discussed or your group analyzed, please feel free to contact me for more information.

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