It’s 8:30 a.m. and you ‘ve just planned your workday. Before hitting the first item on your to-do list, you casually check your email and see a high priority message from your boss. It includes a complex assignment that is due by day’s end. How do you most likely react?


  1. Mentally curse your boss while immediately diving in to the assignment.
  2. Think, “this could be a fun challenge” and go get coffee.
  3. Re-examine your to-do list, project schedules, and calendar, wondering how to coordinate everything.
  4. Begin by analyzing the assignment’s components and budgeting the maximum time for each.


The response you chose to the above likely correlates to your DISC style. A behavioral model ubiquitous in professional development and teambuilding efforts, DISC comprises four factors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. While we each have our own aggregate of the four, we tend to express one or two most strongly.


Let’s try one more question. In the same scenario, your boss calls an hour later to check in. What do you do?

  1. Tell him you don’t have time to talk.
  2. Express that this is a challenge but you were made for those.
  3. Explain that you understand this is a priority and are working diligently on it.
  4. Describe your concerns about being able to complete the assignment properly, given the short timeline.


If you chose number one as your answers to these questions, you probably score high in Dominance; if you chose the second options, you probably show Influence tendencies; the number three responses suggest Steadiness; and number four reflects the Compliance style. Here’s an overview of what each of the factors measures and what it looks like to be high in that area.



Measures: how you respond to problems and challenges

Strengths: decisive, innovative, results-oriented, efficient

Limitations: impatient, critical, competitive, short-fused



Measures: how you influence people to your point of view

Strengths: motivational, enthusiastic, optimistic, outgoing

Limitations: impulsive, talkative, unrealistic, self-promoting



Measures: how you respond to change and pace yourself

Strengths: dependable, patient, accessible, systematic

Limitations: conflict avoidant, hesitant, change resistant, non-demonstrative



Measures: how you respond to rules and procedures set by others

Strengths: accurate, conscientious, analytical, meticulous

Limitations: risk avoidant, indecisive, restrained, skeptical


Like other self-assessment tools (e.g., Meyers-Briggs, Emotional Quotient, LPI), DISC provides data that can be used for personal and professional development. In the case of DISC, which measures our typical, observable behavior, this offers many potential benefits:

  • Increases awareness and appreciation of our behavioral strengths
  • Shines light on our behavioral limitations
  • Predicts how we may act under stress
  • Expands our perspective of others’ behavioral styles
  • Encourages intentional behavior that adapts to the situation


In other words, DISC assessment results help us understand when our natural way of behaving serves us well, when adapting to others will make us more effective, and how to do that.


If you haven’t taken a DISC assessment–ever, or in a long while–consider these DISC-style appeals:


  • It’s fast and actionable (Dominance)
  • You receive a report that’s all about you (Influence)
  • You’ll learn how to use the DISC factors to work well with others (Steadiness)
  • The quantitative data provides objective feedback in a validated framework (Compliant)


If you think DISC may be the right tool to help you leverage and adapt your behavior, give it a try.


How to Thrive: Review any past DISC or other behavioral assessment results you have. Identify one behavior to leverage and one to adapt. Give yourself a specific action and due date. If you don’t have any results, contact me or another assessment provider.

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