Why can’t everybody be like me?

Life would be so much easier if everyone communicated the way I do!

Haven’t you had that thought? That if everyone was like me and communicated the right way, like I do, everything would be so stress free! Well, there is no magic wand to wave to make that happen. Instead, let’s pull back the curtain and take a quick peek at what’s behind those personality or communication style differences using the DISC Model of Human Behavior

As you read on please keep in the back of your mind a person, or type of person, who is difficult to deal with, someone who leaves you feeling exhausted and spent. At the end, I will check back with you to see if the peek behind the curtain revealed the reasons for the difficulty. 

The Model of Human Behavior was developed in the 1920’s by William Moulton Marston a Harvard graduate. You may know him as the creator of Wonder Women or as the developer of the methodology used for today’s lie detector test. Marston found that people are motivated by 4 intrinsic drives that direct patterns of behavior. He defined 4 DISC personality types by their observable and predictable behavior through noting answers to 2 questions:

  1. Are you more outgoing or more reserved? (your internal motor or pace) 
  2. Are you more task-oriented or more people oriented? (your priorities)

Let’s see what your observable behaviors tell us about you and your style. First, ask yourself the 2 questions above.

Question 1: Which are you more like*? 

Outgoing/Active – your pace or internal motor is revved ready to dive in. Your focus is on talking things out. You tend to be: 

  • Fast paced 
  • Optimistic 
  • Energetic 
  • Involved 
  • Positive 
  • Enthusiastic 

Reserved/Passive – your pace or motor is slower and steady, a nice idle hum. Your focus is on thinking things through. You tend to be: 

  • Slower-paced  
  • Cautious 
  • Concerned 
  • Reluctant 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Discerning 

Question 2: Which are you more like*? 

Task Oriented – Your focus is getting thinks done and seem less influenced by the opinion of others. Your priorities tend to be: 

  • Form 
  • Function/Logic 
  • Program/Order 
  • Plans/Lists 
  • Projects 
  • Process/Procedure 

People Oriented – You enjoy the company of others. Your focus is more on people than a project. You can be more influenced by opinions of others. Your priorities tend to be: 

  • Relationships 
  • Caring 
  • Sharing 
  • Emotions 
  • Feelings 
  • Friendships

*Note: if you are struggling to answer either of the questions, that’s fine. We are all blends and may have differences based on work or non-work scenarios so consider if you tend to be like this trait more than 50% of the time and go with that answer. 

Now that you have answers to the 2 questions find which quadrant the answers are located in the model below and note your predominate personality and communication style. The DISC style  letters are defined as the first of the traits listed: 

D  Dominate, direct, demanding, decisive, determined, doer 

   Inspiring, influencing, impressionable, interactive, impressive, interested in people  

S  Supportive, stable, steady, sweet, status quo, shy 

C  Cautious, calculating, competent, conscientious, contemplative, careful 

You now know your predominate trait in your personality style blend. This was merely a “Peek” into DISC so realize we have styles that are unique blends of all 4 traits. It is also important to note there are no right and no wrong styles just different styles 

You can also consider these 2 observable behavior questions in regard to your clients, your family, or your coworkers as a method of determining their predominate personality and communication styles. Very quickly you can observe if they are either outgoing or reserved and if they are task or people oriented. Again, use The Model of Human Behavior image and find where their preference’s fall on the DISC circle. This gives you an indication of their predominate style and enables you to adapt your style to better relate and connect with them.  

Recall early in this article I asked you to keep in the back of your mind a person, or type of person, who is difficult to deal with or one who leaves you feeling exhausted and spent. The peek behind the curtain reveals: thdifficulty may be due to your difference in personality styles!  

Refer back to The Model of Human Behavior circle and find the style that is diagonally opposite of your predominate trait. You may find that personality style is usually the one you have the most difficulty in relating and communicating. For instance, my predominate style trait is D or Dominate. Diagonally opposite on the model is S or Supportive and true enough I find people with a high supportive style more difficult to understand. Therefore, I struggle the most or unknowingly do the most harm to highly Supportive styles. Knowing this allows me to pause and rethink my approach so I don’t steam roll over S types or damage our relationship by being blunt and demanding in my communication. This knowledge allows us to choose how we relate by adapting our styles to meet their needs. You do not abandon your style; instead, you learn how to raise other traits within your full personality blend to relate and connect with all styles. You will be amazed how this improves relationships!

Don’t let this peek behind the curtain be the end of your search for understanding ways of improving your communications, consider obtaining a written DISC assessment report to learn your full personality style blend. This followed by a training or coaching session would enhance your understanding of how to use the information to more effectively communicate with others and make meaningful connections. Contact COLEMAN-GRAHAM for more information. 

If you enjoyed this article please watch for my upcoming 4-part series of articles “Communication Tips for Personality Styles” with an article featuring each of the 4 DISC personality styles. 

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Rita Coleman Graham

Effective communication, sound relationships, and teamwork create the framework for success. Equipped with experience in providing facilitation, training and alternative dispute resolution, I am eager to help you define and achieve your goals.

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