Shopping during the holidays: ­DISC Explained

How is DISC related to how you prefer to do your holiday shopping?

DISC assessments are an important personality tool with high value in the workplace environment. When employees know the DISC personality type for everyone in their department, they can understand why people act the way they act, how to best interact with colleagues, and what to look out for when collaborating on team projects. Let's look at the DISC personalities through the lens of the holidays by comparing four different kinds of holiday shoppers. See which one you are and what it says about you from the DISC perspective, then find out how the personalities play out within the workplace. 

Dominant: The Shopper That's First in Line 

Businessman buying office supplies - isolated over a white backgroundYou know that shopper that checks what time the stores open so they can get to the shopping plaza, get the closest parking spot, and be first in line when the doors open. Maybe you are that shopper! 

The shopper that's first in line is like the Dominant personality type in DISC. Dominant personality types tend focus on task-orientation and have a more assertive personality than the other styles. These people are highly motivated by results, focusing on the bottom line, and checking tasks off their list. 

With the holiday shopping analogy, it's using a list to tick off presents for everyone, getting the best deal by competitive shopping, and never missing the latest and greatest item by being the first one at the store. These shoppers are decisive. They feel good when they take action, like buying presents, and crossing a name off the shopping list. 

By getting to the store, staying focused on exactly what they need, the dominant shopper gets to do all the shopping in one go, cross everyone off his or her list, and move on to the next task. 

In a team environment, Dominant personality types like to be in charge. Their tendencies toward being decisive and task-focused make these people the kind of shoppers who go to the stores already knowing what they want and leaving quickly after they've made their purchases. 

Influence: The Group Shopper 

Happy group of women Christmas shopping at the mall Dominant personality types thrive on the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the end of a successful shopping trip. For other shoppers, the real fun is in the experience - which is better if shared! This introduces the second type of shopper, the Group shopper. You know those friends who are always organizing shopping trips -- the ones who get everyone together to drive to the outlet mall and take advantage of seasonal sales, who throw in a lunch date beforehand, and who email you about all the fun holiday art fairs and local shopping events so you can decide as a group which ones to attend. 

This shopper personifies the Influence DISC personality. The social aspect is a key driver for Influencers, who are first and foremost people-oriented. That's why holiday shopping is more about the good times created by the shopping trips rather than the goal of buying gifts. In fact, they may even forget what they were shopping for because they were having so much fun! Influence shoppers might stretch out the holiday shopping because of their socializing or if they keep seeing just one more store to impulsively purchase another gift. These folks don't want the good times to end!

Within organizations, Influence personalities can be chatty, are always up to organize the team retreat, and care deeply about what others think of them. Influencers excel at social activities, planning parties, and love front-facing roles where their outgoing personality is satisfied with people contact. 

Steady: The Online Shopper 

happy woman portrait shopping online with bags at homeFor the Steady shopper, shopping isn't a task to cross off the list or an inspiring experience, but rather something that must be done to nurture relationships. The Steady shopper is both people-oriented and reserved - they like people, like the Interactive personality type, but they prefer interacting one-on-one or with people they know. 

Chaotic and crowded social settings can be overwhelming to these sensitive types. Picture the mall during holiday season. All the stores are playing holiday music, shoppers race about trying to get the best deals, lights and decorations everywhere - it's festive but it can be overwhelming. For the Steady shopper, getting it all done online is the ideal means to an end. They can comparison shop as much (or as little) as they like, taking the time to find the perfect gift for the people they love, in a calm and stress-free environment. 

Steadies prioritize relationships and order. They combine the efficiency of the Dominant types with the relationship aspect of the Influence. These individuals thrive from a sense of peace and harmony - small wonder they may avoid the shops during holiday season. 

In an organization setting, Steady personalities often gravitate toward management and team roles where they can interact with a small group of team members, looking to the organizational rules to enforce cohesion, bonding, and harmony. 

Compliant: The Solo Shopper 

Image of car dealer offering expensive vehicleWe've seen shoppers that prioritize group activity, shoppers that love crossing gifts off the list, and shoppers who prefer the serenity of online shopping. Solo shoppers are happy to visit stores or shop online, as long as they've had the chance to do the research. What's important to them is that they have enough time to look at all the product specifications, read consumer reviews, touch and feel the product in shops, and choose the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Solo shoppers tend to take the longest time to get gifts and often visit multiple shops or hybrid shop (online and in stores) to make sure they are getting the exact gifts they researched.

The solo shopper embodies the Compliant personality type. Compliant or Careful personalities are highly motivated to play by the rules. Maintaining a sense of correctness is very important to these people, who tend to avoid uncertainty or spontaneity. 

Careful personalities are natural enforcers (as suited to self-employed professions like law as they are to business environments, where they can be great quality-driven leaders). Compliant personalities are reserved and task-oriented, so these individuals need to take care to guard their energy reserves whether shopping or interacting with coworkers. 

How do your shopping style impact your work style?

While understanding the four main personality types is essential, consider that most people have some combination of Dominant, Influence, Steady, and Compliant behaviors. One personality is usually overriding -- take Steady, for instance -- while a second personality with differing traits may also be comfortable. A Steady-Dominant individual will embody the tendencies of both personalities. For example, they may be equally motivated by people and tasks, a natural delegator who sees the strengths of everyone on the team and enjoys working as a mentor. The Steady-Dominant type tends to be long-range planners who move steadily to get it done.

A Steady-Interactive, on the other hand, is more likely to be motivated by emotions and interactions. They love working with people, but may need to recharge time at times to avoid feeling overwhelmed. This is the ideal person to put in charge of the holiday party, as they would step away from the socializing to make sure everyone is having a good time. 

Once you understand how DISC works, you can see where you are naturally more comfortable, what motivates you, and how your behavioral style impacts your role in your organization.

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