Using the DISC Personality Assessment at Work and Play (With Characters)

Man yesterday was SLAMMED at the Evil Day Job.  Super duper productive but holy crap busy.  I’d scheduled an orientation meeting with our new grad students and the rest of the team to introduce everybody and give an overview of what everybody’s working on.  And while I had them, I made the entire team, boss included, take a personality test (the DISC).  See, I went to this management seminar earlier in the summer and they talked about how a lot of miscommunications stem from personality differences.  Certainly that has been the case on our team, so this was my initial effort to kind of get a bead on everybody’s personality and talk about the different ways we need to think about those factors when we communicate.  It’s interesting stuff.

There are 4 dimensions, each pair opposite each other.  As it was explained to me in the seminar, people are either Direct or Indirect, and they tend to be either Task or People oriented.  Put those two continuums opposite each other in a cross and you end up with 4 quadrants.  Those who are Task oriented and Direct are Drivers.  Those who are People oriented and Direct are Influencers.  Those who are Indirect and Task oriented are Conscientious and Those who are Indirect and People oriented are Steadfast.   I personally am just over the line into the Driver side of the line for Task vs. People oriented, and it will surprise absolutely no one to know that I am very VERY direct.

Now, each of these 4 types has a profile.  See below:

  D: Driver I: Influencer S: Steadfast C: Concientious
Basic Need to win to be adored to avoid pain to be right
Wants control recognition approval respect
Question What? Who? Why? How?
Strength Decisive Enthusiastic Listens Thorough
Weakness insensitive to others too impulsive resists taking a stand poor improviser
Strives to be: efficient interesting cooperative accurate
Give them results fun safety details
Let them save time effort relationships face
Emphasize options and probabilities testimonies and incentives assurances and guarantees evidence and service
When Commun-icating with them Avoid Being Defensive Rigid Pushy Vague
Decision-making Quick and goal oriented Fast and intuitive Careful and people oriented Unhurried and Thoughtful
Remember their Goals Future People Process

See how each of these is kind of opposite?  Look at those contrasting strengths and weaknesses.  On our team, I and one of our new grad students speak the same language.  We have one C, and a whooole bunch of I’s.  You can see how that can lead to some miscommunication.  And guess what? It can be applied to our characters as a means of sorting out what kinds of interpersonal conflicts they might have.  Say you have a Driver, a quick and goal oriented decision maker, who’s dealing with a Conscientious person on some project that comes up with problems.  That C’s gonna be a poor improviser.  And if the Driver expects them to also be quick and goal oriented in coming up with a Plan B, that’s a problem.

Anyway, your mileage may vary, but it’s a different means of looking at personality and getting to know your characters.

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3 comments

  1. Oh, a question. If the Steadfast people are Indirect and Task-Oriented, why is their “decision-making” people oriented and “remember their” people? That’s a little confusing. I’m sure there’s some reason, but it doesn’t make sense to me.

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