DISC Neutrality and Perceptions

Have you ever been called “strong-willed, impulsive, amiable, or logical?”  

It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace.  When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.

Harry S. Truman

Descriptor words are essentially neutral words, but we begin inserting our own values and perceptions to them. 

How we do it will differ based on our own DISC-style.  For example, if you show words like “direct,” “dominating,” and “demanding” to D-styles they will identify with them and essentially “own it.” D-styles see those words, as easily describing themselves and often times will have positive associations with those words.  On the other hand, if you show those same sets of words to a different style, say the S-style, then chances are they will see words from a different perspective.  They may even see negative associations where the D-style would not.  The D-style may be thinking, “You bet I’m direct, dominating and decisive!”  The S-style may be thinking, “Direct, dominating and decisive?  Whoa! Slow down!”

Diverse business team not communicating effectively

Words used to describe behaviors are not always viewed the same and will be based on the perception of the behaviors.

Often times the C-styles are viewed as “cold and distant,” but the C-styles may see themselves as “reserved and shy.” S-styles are sometimes viewed as “stubborn and resistant,” but the S-styles’ same perceptions may be “cautious and focused on the organization’s core values.” I-styles may come across as “careless and trying too hard to be liked,” but the I-styles’ same perceptions of their behaviors are likely to be, “I'm sociable and focused on people’s needs.”

So the next time you choose a descriptor for a person’s behavior ask yourself, “does everyone else see it the same way?”

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