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DiSC leadership types

No one DiSC style makes for a better leader. Each style has strengths we can all learn from.
3 min read

What DiSC® style is best for leadership?

Your DiSC style is not predictive of how successful you will be as a leader. Your DiSC profile can help you develop into a better leader.

Too often, people think that a leader must have a particular personality, or that leadership only comes naturally to some. That’s not true. Leaders with any of the DiSC styles can be successful. And they increase their success by learning from each of the other styles.

For example, today’s leaders require so much more than a commanding personality, a characteristic of the D style. Leaders also need to demonstrate flexibility to respond to rapidly fluctuating circumstances. They need to be able to derive insights from data. They need to employ many types of behaviors, some of which won’t come as easily as others.

It’s important to remember that leadership is influenced by many factors such as character, life experiences, cognitive abilities, maturity, and personality. Nevertheless, the Everything DiSC®-based typology of leadership styles helps to determine your 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.

8 Dimensions of Leadership (Everything DiSC model)

What are the 8 DiSC leadership styles?

Pioneering leadership
Pioneering leaders can be bold and passionate, inspiring others to take chances on new directions. They might also be impulsive, overconfident leaders who use their charm to gain support for wild ideas. One lesson to learn from them: Seek new opportunities beyond your organization’s walls.

DiSC style: Di, iD

Goals: Quick action, new opportunities, exciting breakthroughs

Influences others through: Charm, bold action, passion

Energizing leadership
Energizing leaders can be upbeat, eager, and willing to take chances on colorful new ideas. They can also be scattered, erratic leaders who see little need for consistency. One lesson to learn from them: People need enthusiasm to reach their goals.

DiSC style: i

Goals: Popularity, approval, excitement

Influences others through: Charm, optimism, energy, personal connection

Affirming leadership
At their best, affirming leaders work to create a respectful, positive environment. At their worst, they can be indirect, conflict-averse leaders who fail to hold others accountable. One lesson to learn from them: Crossing the finish line won’t do much good if your team is in shreds when it gets there.

DiSC style: iS, Si

Goals: Friendship, acceptance, close relationships

Influences others through: Agreeableness, empathy, being patient

Inclusive leadership
Inclusive leaders can be sincere, accommodating people who collaborate with others to make decisions where everyone wins. Sometimes they can be passive, overly trusting leaders who let others take advantage of their supportive, patient nature. One lesson to learn from them: The words and emotions of a leader carry a lot of weight.

DiSC style: S

Goals: Harmony, stability, acceptance

Influences others through: Accommodating others, consistent performance

Humble leadership
Humble leaders can be modest and fair-minded, producing reliable outcomes through steadiness and consistency. They can also be rigid, overly cautious, and afraid to move beyond the status quo. One lesson to learn from them: Other people have needs that differ from your own.

DiSC style: SC, CS

Goals: Stability, reliable outcomes, calm environment

Influences others through: Practicality, diplomacy, self-control, humility

Deliberate leadership
Deliberate leaders can be conscientious and disciplined, providing high-quality outcomes through careful analysis and planning. They can also be risk-averse, perfectionist leaders who pay little attention to the human element. One lesson to learn from them: The dots won’t magically connect themselves.

DiSC style: C

Goals: Accuracy, objective processes

Influences others through: Logic, exacting standards

Resolute leadership
At their best, resolute leaders can be questioning, independent leaders who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo to get better results. They can also be cynical, insensitive leaders who seem intent on putting a negative spin on everything. One lesson to learn from them: Leaders need to have a fervent focus on outcomes.

DiSC style: CD, DC

Goals: Independence, personal accomplishment, efficient results

Influences others through: High standards, determination, willingness to meet challenges head-on

Commanding leadership
Commanding leaders can be powerful and decisive, enlisting others to work quickly toward ambitious goals. Or they can be forceful, egotistical leaders who push others at the expense of morale. One lesson to learn from them: Personal authority matters.

DiSC style: D

Goals: Bottom-line results, victory

Influences others through: Assertiveness, insistence, competition

How does DiSC help you become a better leader?

DiSC will increase your self-awareness, an essential requirement for a leader. It will enable you to better adapt your behaviors to others, increasing your ability to persuade and inform. Knowledge gained from Everything DiSC profiles can increase your emotional intelligence, help you handle conflicts, and improve your communication.

The Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® profile takes you beyond your style. It focuses on the actual work leaders do and how they can adapt their natural behaviors to be more successful.

DiSC leadership styles (explained in copy)

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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