One of the things that people really like about the DISC model is that it is completely non-judgmental. There are no good or bad categories. There are no high or low scores. Each DISC style is not better or worse. They are simply different.
DISC assessment does not make judgments
The adjectives and attributes describing the different DISC behavioral styles are neutral. For example, the word “direct” that is used to describe D-styles is simply a word. In itself ,it is not a “good” or “bad” word. Similarly, “analytical” is a word frequently used to characterize C-styles. Again, it is not a word that is somehow “better” or “worse”. In fact, all words we use to define each DISC style are neutral. This is the fundamental reason DISC creates a very safe and non-judgmental framework. In this setting, we can better understand others, value our differences, and to make better decisions in modifying our behaviors.
Different DISC styles do make judgments
As human beings we are judgmental. Whether we like it or not, we are constantly making observations and value judgments. When we meet someone, we very quickly form an opinion about the person. Our perceptions are typically positive or negative. “He talks too much” or “he is too quiet” are just two of many examples we could form as impressions. At times we even have difficulties in verbalizing our judgments yet we are very aware of them. “There is just something about that person I just don't like,” is a familiar thought to many of us. At other times we really like someone and cannot clearly define why.
The same phenomenon also happens with places and situations. We find that certain environments are comfortable, energizing and pleasant to us while others have the exact opposite effect. One person may be really looking forward to going to an event, while another one would much rather stay home. This happens even though neither one knows who they might meet and their impressions are, therefore, not influenced by people.
Our DISC style has a significant impact how we perceive everything around us.
It is the filter that influences the judgments we make about everything and everyone. While an S-style individual may perceive another person fast to make decisions, a D-style may think the person is somewhat slow to decide. Even that the S- and D-styles are observing the very same decision-making scenario, their perceptions – and judgments – are different because they possess different behavioral styles. How the different styles define fast decision making are influenced by their respective DISC styles. In other words, how the styles define and, therefore, identify “fast decision-making” are clearly different.
If you think about your own experiences, it will not take you long to come up with similar examples. Perhaps you were in a social setting talking to a friend and a stranger joined in on your conversation for a few moments. After the person left, you realized that your friend’s perceptions of the very same individual were quite different from your own. Maybe yours were positive while your friend was not quite as impressed. This is a common example of two different DISC styles making different judgments about another person.
Have you even listened in dismay to someone excitedly describing her recent vacation? Perhaps, you were wondering how anyone would to waste their days off just reading a book by the pool? This is just an example of two different DISC styles finding different things enjoyable.
Confident self-awareness improves performance
The goal is not, of course, to have a similar vacation as your neighbor does or to like every person you meet. Instead, the goal is to become aware and mindful of how our DISC profile impacts our perceptions and not to let the resulting judgments create roadblocks to our success.
The main reason we use DISC is to make better decisions about how to modify behavior for more successful outcomes. In order to be able do so, we must have a solid understanding of the four DISC-styles, develop a confident self-awareness and learn to identify the styles of others.
Build awareness how your DISC style influences your perceptions
A part of developing confident self-awareness is becoming more cognizant how our DISC style impacts our perceptions of others and different situations. Without this awareness, we make misguided decisions about how to modify our behavior. Most people miss this important point completely. Our natural tendency is to focus only externally and not to become aware how our internal “DISC filter” impacts our perceptions. Being confidently self-aware means that we are mindful of our biases.
The awareness of our biases also influences how accurately we are able to identify the styles of others. As we saw earlier, everyone does not share our perceptions of other people. When we try to identify DISC style of others, we attempt to determine if they are people- or task-oriented, and active or reserved. If we only focus externally on observing and assessing behaviors of others and dismiss the impact of our internal biases, we are likely to make mistakes.
Recognizing Our Bias and Judgments Brings Awareness
Again, this is because we have different filters. Once we better understand our biases, learn to identity their impact, we can better control them. As a result, we are better able to exclude them while identifying others’ DISC styles. Just imagine how much more successful you will be in communicating, influencing, motivating and leading others. You are better able to make decisions on modifying your behaviors with only minimal interference of your biases.
As you note, I say “minimal interference” and not “no interference”. We are human beings and eliminating our biases and judgments is not possible.
One more note about out judgments. When we do make judgments, we become emotional. These emotions almost always make it more difficult for us to modify our behavior because emotions tend to plant us firmly in our comfort zone. Becoming more successful demands that we do get out of comfort zone. As you can see, being aware of the judgments we make, also allows us to become more aware of our emotions that may hinder our ability to adjust behaviors and succeed.