Personality Types and DISC
Human personalities are highly varied and complex, and the full DISC system is designed to reflect that variation and complexity, but sometimes it can be useful to break down personalities into a few fundamental types.
We can do that with DISC because at it is based, at its deepest level, on a pair of simple personality axes. The first of these is a continuum between Assertiveness (pro-active, direct behaviour) and Receptiveness (responsive, reticent behaviour). The second describes a scale from Openness (sociability, expressiveness) and Control (reticence and caution). Taken together, these two axes form a grid, and by placing a personality somewhere on this grid, we can draw all sorts of useful conclusions.
This brief article discusses some of the key features of the eight most basic DISC personality types. If you want to look further into the theory behind the two axes, you'll find lots of background information in our Understanding DISC reference guide.
Four Personality Types, and Four More
Sometimes one of the four fundamental styles will predominate in a person's approach to life, and so we get our first four basic personality types: Assertive, Receptive, Open and Controlled.
Just as often, though, a personality will combine elements from two of the axes, so (for example) we'll find a person who's both Assertive and Open, or both Receptive and Controlled. There are four possible combinations like this, and together they give us another four personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady and Compliant. (These latter four in fact give rise to the four DISC factors, and their initials give 'DISC' its name).
A Grid of Personality Types
We've laid out these eight below according to where they fall on the two major DISC axes. For each of the eight types you'll see a checklist describing the type of personality associated with that type; if you want to find out more about any of the types, just click the link for a more detailed DISC analysis.
You'll find more about these types, and about more specialised terms like 'Pressure' or 'Strategy', in Understanding DISC.
Try the Approach App
Looking at personality types like this can give you some useful insights into your own personality, and it can be invaluable when dealing with other people. The Approach iPhone app uses just this model to help you hone your negotiation and sales skills.