The D, i, S, and C personality types
All DISC tests, including the Everything DiSC® assessments, are built upon the foundation of what William Moulton Marston identified as four primary emotions and associated behavioral responses. We identify them today as D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness).
The DiSC® model looks at a continuum of pace (activity and energy level) and a continuum of skepticism or trust. Other DISC models tend to look at pacing and another behavioral dimension.
A quick overview of the basic DiSC styles:
Dominance: direct, strong-willed, and forceful (fast-paced and skeptical)
Influence: sociable, talkative, and lively (fast-paced and accepting)
Steadiness: gentle, accommodating, and soft-hearted (moderate-paced and accepting)
Conscientiousness: private, analytical, and logical (moderate-paced and skeptical)
You’ll see that Everything DiSC plots your style within a circle, making it more apparent that we all can exhibit any of the styles at times. This circumplex model also includes a related, but separate, measurement of priorities. In the example below, the respondent has the three priorities typical of the DC style (accuracy, challenge, results) and also the priority of enthusiasm (more often associated with people who have i styles.) We’ve found that the circular model is more easily understood and more memorable than a graph.
Many other DISC profiles (even our older DiSC® Classic profile) often use a graph to show results. Some of them refer to an adaptive style for which Wiley’s researchers have been unable to find any validity. Everyone is able to adapt their style, although some behaviors might be easier to practice than others.
The preciseness of a personality assessment and its validity depends very much upon how well the assessment has been constructed and tested. We recommend using an Everything DiSC assessment if you’re looking for a tool you can have confidence in.
Four DiSC types or 12 styles?
Everything DiSC assessments allow for finer differentiation among styles than just four labels. So some styles will be D, i, S, or C, but there are also styles such as Di or SC. When you complete an Everything DiSC questionnaire, you are scored on eight scales, not four. Your profile report reflects the style that is most descriptive of you.
A quick overview of the twelve Everything DiSC styles:
Di: convincing and daring
iD: animated and inspiring
i: highly sociable and lively
iS: upbeat and lighthearted
Si: supportive and agreeable
S: pleasantly calm and accommodating of others
SC: modest and unassuming
CS: quiet and self-controlled
C: analytical and private
CD: unsentimental and matter-of-fact
DC: resolute and strong-willed
D: forceful and direct
The Everything DiSC profile provides even more nuance by showing how strongly you prefer your own style. This is reflected by how close your dot is to the edge or to the center. The closer your dot is to the center, the easier it is for you to adopt behaviors associated with other styles.
As you can probably tell, it takes more than reading these descriptors to know which style is yours. Learn more by reading one of these posts.
If you want to learn more about how Everything DiSC connects to other models and psychometric theory or about the methodology of its development, be sure to pick up a copy of The Everything DiSC® Manual.
By Kristeen Bullwinkle, updated Jan. 2021