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Understanding with Whom We Interact

Who are you and who am I?

Every day we find ourselves in a world surrounded by people, people with whom we must interact. Whether you are taking a trip to the grocery store or tackling corporate America, you will find yourself engaging with others on a daily basis. It is through these interactions that we learn and grow, but how many times do we find ourselves confounded by those with whom we interact? It happens quite often and many times, we find that it is due to our unique personalities which is ultimately driving our behavior.

This is where a DISC Personality Profile could be of tremendous help. DISC is a personal behavioral assessment tool, which helps you understand how you view yourself and how you think other people may perceive you. Before we go any further let’s take a few steps back into time.

A Brief History

Where did the DISC profile come from? To examine its origin, we must go back to Greece’s Classical period, during which Hippocrates was living and regarded as the “Father of Medicine.” Amongst his several accreditations, Hippocrates was a devout observer of human behavior. Throughout his years of observation, he ultimately concluded that individuals fall into four basic character traits or titles: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. Later, Dr. Tim LaHaye and Florence Litthouer popularized these titles, but William Marston was the first to introduce them through the four initials; D for Dominance, I for Influence, S for Submissive, and C for Compliant. Dr. Marston published his findings in a book entitled “Emotions of Normal People”, which laid out the DISC Theory including DISC Personality Profile assessments.

Who Uses DISC?

By now, you may have started to identify ideas as to how the DISC assessments could be utilized. Because we are dealing with the Psychology of people, anywhere we find human interaction would be a great place to utilize its benefits. Below are a few examples of cases for which DISC has been used:

  • Trainers & Coaches (agile, career, life, etc.)
  • Human Resources
  • Leadership
  • Sales Teams
  • Project Teams

This is a brief list of examples, but what you should note is that all of the above contain some form of human interaction. The idea is to either ...

  1. ... learn (as a team) the DISC Personality trait of your co-workers, team members, or clients, OR
  2. ... have the ability to recognize the various personality traits of a person

DISC ultimately aids in the understanding of how to better interact with people and assists you with understanding why we all behave in the manner that we do. The more we understand how people function, the easier it becomes to work with them, motivate them, move them to action, etc.

Understanding Personalities

Prior to utilizing DISC, let’s first look at the four quadrants:

This graph is a high-level description of people’s personality traits and how they may fall under the various personality types. Typically, everyone has one trait which is dominate compared to others. The fun does not stop there though. Depending on how you think people view you, your personality traits can be completely different than how YOU view yourself! The interesting part is that when your traits overlap, you get what are called Behavioral Blends. Looking at the chart above, you can see that a person may not be only a “D”, but they can be a combination of “D/C”, “C/S”, “S/I”, or “D/I”. What is not obvious from the graph is that a person can be a combination of “D/C/I”, “I/S/C”, etc. and each behavioral blend comes with its own description of how your personality may tend to be.

To give you an example of how we arrive at these behavioral blends, let’s look at a couple of personality type graphs. Below is an example of two graphs where the first one is what you think people expect of you and the second is how you really are (i.e., being yourself).

In the graphs, the horizontal line crosses the middle of each. Any bar that measures above this line is what contributes to the personality type. In Graph 1, the individual would be considered a “High C” or a “Cautious Competent Type”. If you look back at the four-quadrants, you will notice that a “C”-type is cautious, contemplative, and calculating to name a few. This type of individual would expect others to view them as careful, logical, and analytical. They do not make rash decisions and most things are well thought out. In Graph 2, the individual would be a high “C/I/S” (in any combination of the three) or a “Competent Influencing Specialist”. When this person is being themselves, they are really people oriented types. Also, they can be outgoing or they can be reserved all while being calculating and cautious.

How to Get Started

This is but a brief introduction to DISC Personality profiles, but there is much value in taking an assessment. There are several different websites where you can take the personality profile. You will find that most of the free surveys will provide you with high-level information. The surveys that require payment will allow you to take the assessment and then delve into the details of the results while assisting you in applying it to your situation. One reputable assessment site is

Once you get the opportunity to take a detailed assessment, you will receive a report that discusses personality types and behavioral blends. In addition, it will discuss the tendencies of various personalities as well as how to better control your own tendencies. It really is a great tool for both home and workplace and I would encourage you to take one today!

Remember, here are some essential times where DISC will benefit you or your organization:

  • Hiring the Right Candidate
  • Identifying the Right Project Team
  • Managing People
  • Increase Sales by Selling to Solve an Essential Problem


About The Author

Senior Project Manager

Antoine is a Senior Project Manager and Certified Scrum Master in the Cardinal Raleigh/Durham Project Services practice. He is a certified life coach and leverages his 15+ years of application development experience to bring a unique perspective when leading his project teams through delivery.