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DISC Profiling in Real Scenarios

DISC is:     

  • A Behavioural Language— DISC focuses on behaviour, not emotions. DISC is not a clinical tool, so no doctor visits are necessary.

  • An Understandable Language— DISC uses four main dimensions and their intensities, so it is a simple language to understand and remember.

  • A Universal Language— DISC may be the only language that is truly universal.

  • A Neutral Language— DISC does not have right or wrong, good or bad styles. All styles have strengths and limitations, and all styles are uniquely positive.

  • A Practical Language— DISC can be applied to life. It has practical and useful applications in social, business, and family relationships, and is a wonderful tool for self-development.

Remember too​

  • Everyone is normally a "Blend" of 2,  3 or all of the 4 styles, so these examples are absolutes, however more likely a blend of two will be more expected. The more one style dominates, the more that individual will be truer to form. Some people are just 1 style.

  • DISC questions should be answered with the frame of mind of the role you want to focus on.  Most people tend to have a work persona and a home persona.  If you answer the questions in the other, then the result will be different.

Real Scenarios: 

Read through each of the main types and examples of the DISC profiles in action.  


  • ​General Behaviours:   Straightforward. Assured. Confident. Resourceful. Opportunity Taker. Active.

  • Benefit to the team:   Benefit Focused. Organised. Solution Seeking. Groundbreaking Thinking.

  • Possible Challenges:  Independent. Challenging Others. Prefers Dynamic Environments, Over Commits.

  • Greatest Inner Concern:  Being Conned and Used.

  • Galvanised By:  Change and Newness. Position of Authority and Autonomy. Energised Work /Leisure Places. Fast-paced and fast moving.

"D" Personalities are normally found in the following roles: Sales Manager, CEO, Barrister, Police, Military Officers

                     "Anna was Head of Sales and very successful, her drive and focus meaning she was very successful as she knew her job and always spent time getting up to speed with new developments and what the competition was up to.  A really great fit for both the company and her.

A vacancy arose in the business, to be Head of Talent, which required more focus on developing the team and ensuring that everyone worked together collaboratively.  She relished the challenge and was fire-up to get going.  Within a few months, it wasn't working out for either and she decided to leave after a disagreement with her line manager with regard to being in the office, present more often and not doing daily team energisers, which got a bit heated"   

Reflection: - 

Think about what may have happened to cause this outcome for Anna?

Anna was placed in a role that she was not suited for, she excelled at being in a role that was a natural fit as Head of Sales, however the new role was a total opposite of what her natural personality was. This often happens in a business where some-one excels in one role and fails in another.  DISC will help you to identify the best roles for the team and importantly, when recruiting what personality would be best suited for the role.  Yes she was outgoing and great with a result focused role, making it all happen in her way, but when the role needed more structure and routine, team building, it brought out the worst traits in her professionally.  She did not like routine, was not great at holding back and really was in the wrong role.

What should have happened?

Had the business had a DISC program in place, they would have known that Anna was not suited to the new role as it required a different personality, which meant that Anna was perfect for her old role and wrong for the new role.  In the end, the business lost a great head of Sales and in the process upset quite a few of the team as Anna clashed with team members.  


  • ​General Behaviours:  Willing and Positive. Believing and Encouraging. Influential. Chatty. Intuitive

  • Benefit to the team:  Thinks outside the box. Motivational. Team builder. Lively and Resolution Seeking

  • Possible Challenges:  Seeks Social Acceptance over Goals. May be Scatty and Skims. Switches Off

  • Greatest Inner Concern:  Being Cold Shouldered and Ignored

  • Galvanised By: Honeyed Words, Public Recognition, Being the Centre of attention and focus, Fun and happy environments, Free Reign, and a back-up team to do the mundane details.

"I" Personalities are normally found in the following roles: Creative Industry, PR, Marketing, Graphic Design

                    John loved meeting people during work, as a PR Manager, it meant that his work days were spent meeting clients, going to product launches and events. John really was the life and soul of the party, he was able to chat to anyone and everyone. He was interested in people and wanted to know all about them, encouraging them to reach for the stars.  If a client was feeling unhappy with a campaign, John was the man to go and pour oil on troubled water.  

John got a new boss, and this is the start of some challenges for him.  His new boss was brought in to focus on getting new business and therefore started to set targets for getting new clients.  John felt that it took time to develop a good relationship and he was doing fine.  John's boss wanted the team to share diaries to ensure time was used productively and he also started weekly 1-2-1's  with each of his team.

He also felt this boss didn't like him as he never commented nor praised him, his boss felt some-what distant and a control freak.  He had heard that his boss was going to make them all do a personality test and that he was frightened his boss wanted to get rid of him.


John was perfect for his role, however his new boss has a different communication style.  Seeing how John reacted to the changes based upon his "I" Influencer style, was to be expected.  Luckily John's boss recognised the value in DISC and wanted to have her team understand each other. 

What should have happened?

Had DISC been part of the business already, this awareness would have been in place. However, the great news is that Johns boss will realise that when she learns about her own style and how she works with John to get the best our of him, it will need to be adapted an more fluid.  It is easy to forget that every personality has a place, it is about how they work within the team.  The outcome was that the way everyone worked was agreed and that some accountability was needed.  John was OK with this, but still felt that his freedom was somewhat curtailed. Some professional coaching made a difference as he realised that no job could be 100% on his terms.


  • ​General Behaviours: Team Focused. Controlling. Constant. Anticipative. Caring. An Ear for Everyone, Approachable

  • Benefits to the team: Team Player. Respectful. Caring. Accommodating and Supportive. Intermediary. Determined. Devoted

  • Possible Challenges: Needs to Know Change is coming long before it happens, Unorganised, Reluctant to take on Changes, Can take criticism personally. Can harbour Hard Feelings. Can Struggle with Prioritisation of tasks. Overpromises and fails to deliver

  • Greatest Inner Concern: Unstable, insecure and volatile environments, situations and circumstances.

  • Galvanised By:  Stable and predictable work patterns and routines, praise for being a team player and dependability, maintaining inner feelings of security and safety.  

"S" Personalities are normally found in the following roles: Teacher, Administrator, Trainer, HR Manager, Sports Coach, Performance Coach

                     Sean was a great team player, but was a constant source of complaint from the team around him.  He would constantly over promise and fail to deliver, work stacked up around him and he spent long hours at his desk, long after others had left for the day.  He was eager to please and to ensure that everyone felt part of the team.  He was always coming up with team building exercises and organised the monthly quiz night. 

Seam felt that no one really cared about how much work he had on and felt that he had to make sure everyone was happy and he would spend hours listening to others problems and sorting out others falling out.    

He never really got over being told he was lazy and always missed deadlines, and that he has been on a "Performance" review again. He felt that it was totally unforgivable of his boss as he knows how much work piles up and he cancelled a holiday to try to catch up.  The new computer system he was told he now had to use was useless and he was quicker doing everything the old way.


Sean struggled with workloads as he took on far more work than was reasonable, in fact colleagues would come up ask him to take on their work as they were so busy. Sean could not say no, as being a team player was important.  He could not naturally prioritise therefore deadlines were missed and colleagues let down, needlessly. 

Sean would not give up tasks to ease the burden as this looked like failure to him and therefore threatened his position and possibly job. 


What should have happened?

Had DISC been used in this business, then Sean and his line manager and colleagues would have known Sean's style. His line manager would monitor his workload and ensure that he prioritied.  Sean would also know his strengths, and also his Achiles heal.  This would then be easy to focus on what training and development would be useful for Sean.  Often the feeling of insecurity will be masked by other behaviours, so getting to the root of where the feeling of instability lies is essential.  Ensuring sudden change is not thrust upon an S style, bring changes in slowly so they can learn new systems at a reasonable pace, they know change is coming.  A S style is an important part of the team, and they bring so much.    Interestingly, this company do have Style prefereces in place, but they are out of date and most staff have not been taken through the process nor had the training, it had been forgotton about. 


  • ​General Behaviours:   Correct, Detailed and Conscientious. Full attention to details. Logical and fact driven, Accurate. Process Focused. Expects others to be the same.

  • Benefit to the team: Logical Based Reasoning, Detailed Analysis of Facts and Situations. Objectivity of Thinking, Detailed, mild-mannered, challenges and critiques information.

  • Possible Shortcomings: Process and methodology driven, focuses too much on detail, unemotional and will resist arguments. Gives in rather than face conflict.  Sets very high expectations of self and others. Requires clear borders and boundaries.

  • Greatest Inner Concern:  Being criticised without evidence based reasoning

  • Galvanised By: Working independently, Quality of Information, Organised information. High Standards. Tasks requiring thoroughness and objectivity.

"C" Personalities are normally found in the following roles: Accountant, Judge, Architect, Analyst, Engineer, Programmer, Software Engineer

                     Chris was a management accountant and was very much a key person in the business. His shrewed awareness and detailed knowledge of taxation and corporate finance was essential for the business.  Chris found those outside the department frustrating and sloppy especially in budgeting and detailed forecasts.  He and his team would spend a grat deal of time preparing detailed instructions and workbooks for each department to submit their annual budgets and quarterly forecasts, and at the end of each period to submit their expences and very importantly exception reporting to period budgets.  Often he would appear cold and stand-offish, disinterested and unapproachable. His team where all quite formal and organised and sticklers for detail.  

Other departments felt quite intimidated by the finance team and when the monthly heads of department finance meeting took place many tried to avoid them.  Errors would be pointed out, overspends of any amount were called out and the same for underspends.  Heaven forbid anyone who challenged a process that had come out of the finance team process and procedures, unless they were armed to the teeth with validations and justifications. If an email was sent to Chris of less than a sentence it would be ignored or worse, returned to sender with a long commentary about lack of clarity causes time wasting and lack of accuracy.


Chris had a deep worry about faking it, not being credible and was not comfortable in challenging situations.  In his team, who where all very similar styles, they would spend hours ensuring emais and instructions were clear, justifications were made an clarity was at the fore.  Accounts had to be complete, and detailed reporting such as expenses with valid receipts would be vital to the smooth running of the department. Understand what is required requires detailed information, so errors cannot be made.   


What should have happened?

Understand each other is core to a well functioning team and business.  Had DISC been implimented, everyone would know that within the accounts department, many of the team would have "C" style traits to greater extent.  Stopping and thinking about how each style likes to be communicated too and how they like to communicate is fundamental to understanding what is happening within the relationships.  Thinking about an "I" personality, with a "C".  Influencers will likey not even keep receipts, let alone record expense properly. Cs will find this challenging to say the least. 



When you know each style and are aware of each others,  we can all appreciate each others preferences.  We can then understand  and work with and together with each style being respectful, cohesive and collaborative.  Internal conflict is reduced as behaviours are recognised and respected and not critised.

The character of each team member must match the role of the job or the mismatch will cause problems both for the business and the individual.

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