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Deliberate leaders: DiSC C style leadership

The deliberate leader leads through their greater knowledge or experience.
5 min read

The deliberate dimension of leadership

The Everything DiSC®-based typology of leadership styles helps determine your or your client’s primary leadership dimension and identify areas for development. It can also help you consider what type of leadership style might be most effective to use during specific organizational challenges.

The 8 Dimensions of Leadership gives you a flexible framework to help you deal with changing leadership needs. Even though great leaders use each of the eight dimensions, they tend to prefer one or find one easier to exhibit. Deliberate leaders tend to be systematic, cautious, and analytical. This reflects their C DiSC style.

Deliberate leadership

Who is a deliberate leader?

The C-style leader is most comfortable working at a disciplined and moderate pace, ensuring accuracy in their craft or profession. They like to be seen as an expert in their field.

They also can be overly risk-averse and perfectionistic. They can be demanding of their followers, paying less attention to their needs than more inclusive and affirming leaders.

Deliberate leaders like their privacy, and you’re unlikely to see them show emotions or be vulnerable. You probably will notice their desire for objectivity, their reliability, and their organizational skills. You probably appreciate the clarity of their communications and think they’re good at making decisions.

Strengths of the deliberate leader:

  • They’re determined to get things done right.
  • They’re often able to separate emotions from facts.
  • They take the time to create systems and structures.
  • They’re not afraid to question ideas that seem illogical.
  • They’re comfortable working autonomously.
  • They’re able to work tirelessly to solve problems.
  • They usually provide solid evidence for their arguments.

Goals: Accuracy, objective process

Would increase effectiveness through: Acknowledging others’ feelings, looking beyond data

Source: The 8 Dimensions of Leadership

A primary task of leadership is to direct attention. To do so, leaders must learn to focus their own attention.
Daniel Goldman in “The Focused Leader,” Harvard Business Review

What can we learn from deliberate leaders?

Organizations need deliberate leaders to deliver well-crafted products or services. Colleagues rely on them to create an environment where everyone knows what to expect. Deliberate leaders can find their way through ambiguity and into processes and systems that work.

People can’t read your mind

Being social and friendly isn’t the same as being a great communicator. Deliberate leaders make it clear where they stand and share the logic behind their arguments. They are willing to take the time to form and deliver a clear message. They aren’t so excited by a new idea that they forget to bring others into the loop and up to speed when something might change.

When there’s confusion over a major change or a need for alignment around a new initiative, deliberate leadership helps people feel they are all headed in the same direction. They are less likely to feel left behind because the details that matter to them were glossed over or neglected.

A leader who says ‘I’ve got ten priorities’ doesn’t know what he’s talking about—he doesn’t know himself what the most important things are. You’ve got to have these few, clearly realistic goals and priorities, which will influence the overall performance of the company.
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Show that you’ve done your homework

Deliberate leaders might have been the first to recognize and capitalize upon the power of analytics. Unlike the faster-paced leaders who sometimes skip past disciplined analysis, this type of leader digs in. Showing that they’ve made careful and informed choices builds their credibility.

Enthusiasm can be used to sell some people on an idea or to drum up interest, but it won’t be enough for many. Some people have been burned by leaders who repeatedly made false starts, and some are naturally skeptical. Taking the time to focus your energy, gather information, and then explain it will show you’ve done your due diligence and inspire confidence in your decisions.

But developing good business direction isn’t magic. It is a tough, sometimes exhausting process of gathering and analyzing information. People who articulate such visions aren’t magicians but broad-based strategic thinkers who are willing to take risks.
John Kotter, in “What leaders really do,” Harvard Business Review

Leaders are responsible for ensuring that processes run smoothly

Unlike leaders whose styles fall on the northern edge of the DiSC circle (D/Di/iD), deliberate leaders seldom overlook their responsibility for the inner workings of their organization in a pursuit of action and rushing ahead toward something new. They consciously create an environment and culture through structure and processes. They tend not to neglect issues like succession planning, regulatory reporting, or data security. They might delegate many related tasks, but they don’t abandon their responsibility for them.

People don’t like to feel like their time has been wasted because of unclear expectations or procedures. Many need to understand what they will be held accountable for and see others being held accountable for their own responsibilities and commitments. Deliberate leaders are willing to put in the time to study current processes to learn what is and what isn’t working. They will dig to discover the source of downtimes, low morale, high turnover, damaged brand reputation, or whatever issue they are facing.

Great leaders are able to be both nearsighted and farsighted, and deliberate leaders tend to be better with the closer picture.

The issue isn’t whether to have routines but which routines to have. Those few essential routines that serve the key values of the organization should be worshiped.
Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge

The pitfalls of deliberate-only leadership

Sometimes others describe deliberate leaders as detached, aloof, or private. Their desire for freedom and privacy can cause them to shy away from the emotional aspects of leadership. They can fail to take advantage of social situations for networking and influencing others. Their silence can be mistaken for disapproval. Both offering praise and applying pressure can be uncomfortable and taxing.

The desire for objectivity and the satisfaction in working through a complex problem can cause the deliberate leader to retreat from the distraction of social spaces. Interpersonal connections can require energy they’d rather use elsewhere. This can mean that these leaders fail to notice or meet the emotional needs of their employees. It can mean that they fail to ask others for help or for additional ways of addressing a problem.

Deliberate leaders are innately skeptical and questioning. Being wrong is very distasteful. They worry about the quality of anything associated with their name, so will question new ideas and demand logical arguments to support any suggestion. They hesitate to move ahead until all their concerns are addressed. This can cause them to miss opportunities and fail to take even reasonable risks.

Related reading

People can’t read your mind

Show that you’ve done your homework

Leaders are responsible for ensuring that processes run smoothly


Kristeen Bullwinkle

Steeped in Everything DiSC since 2010. Strongly inclined CD style. Leadership style and EQ mindset: resolute. Believes strongly in the serial comma.

Certifications from Wiley:
Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

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