Be Aware: DISC Styles Learn Differently

Oct 18, 2016 9:51:40 AM / by Christina Bowser

DISC styles learn differently so how should each DISC-style learn to succeed? Every style has something to learn, but they don't learn in the same way.

DISC styles learn differently

Focusing on why DISC styles learn differently

It's fascinating to watch people read their Extended DISC report results. While people with different DISC profiles express themselves in unique ways, there's always a fair amount of body language to observe. For example, you'll notice a lot of head nodding taking place as people read about their behavioral strengths. On the other hand, when people review their development areas, the nodding changes to head shaking. At times, it is difficult to face the fact that we all have some weaknesses. In order to move forward we first recognize that DISC styles learn differently.

Aside from a few individuals who believe they are perfect, we all have areas that we need to work on if we want to progress. Some of them are very specific and relevant to achieving our present goals. If we work on them with focus and care then we will improve, no matter what our DISC profile is.

In contrast, other development areas are more general. In fact, I often get asked if DISC styles learn differently and how do we use the differences to make clients and employees more successful. Particularly, facilitators and executive coaches frequently ask: “What do the four DISC-styles need to learn?”

C-style – The Most Quality-Focused of the DISC Profiles

First, let’s focus on the C-styles. They are very analytical, accurate, and focused on the details because they want to produce high-quality work. As a result, others DISC styles at times perceive the C-styles as nit-picky and critical of others. In other words, they seem to be primarily focused on finding the mistakes others may make. It is almost as discovering mistakes make them happy.

On the contrary, C-styles do not like to find mistakes. In fact they really enjoy “error free” situations, products, and service, as well as experts who know what they are doing and saying. In fact many of us associate C-style behavior with well-engineered products and even countries that are known for their high-quality goods. For example, it is a common misconception to think that Germany is primarily C-style country because they create great automobiles.

Actually, C-styles dislike mistakes and in particular their own mistakes. They are very tough on themselves for making a mistake. For example, I have met many people who are still talking about the mistakes they made years ago. They cannot seem to let them go even that they clearly and logically know the past cannot be changed.

Accordingly, if your DISC profile is C, you need to learn acceptance to make mistakes. This becomes especially important when you are experiencing stress. Under pressure you are likely to become overly critical, particularly of yourself. Hence, it becomes even more important then for you to accept that mistakes happen. And when you do, you should learn from them and then move on.

Surprisingly, I-style is the most common behavioral style in Germany.

I-style – The Most Enthusiastic of the DISC Profiles

So, next let’s consider the I-styles. They are very optimistic, talkative and lively. They tend to be positive and good at getting others enthusiastic. In addition, I-styles can be inattentive to details and may over-promise because they are so optimistic and want to be popular. As a result, other may see them as little careless and lacking follow-up.

This is not intentional. Instead, I-styles would love to follow through. However, other things almost always appear and catch their attention. I-styles do not perceive these as distractions. Rather, they are exciting opportunities.

Consequently, if you are an I-style and want to improve, you need to learn self-discipline. You need self-discipline to finish what you started and not get involved in too many things. This is particularly important under pressure when you are likely to have a tendency to get disorganized. This in turn makes you lose focus on the task at hand and get emotional, making it more difficult to modify your DISC profile.

S-style – The Most Supportive of the DISC Profiles

Third, let’s look at the S-styles who are calm, laid back and steady. They are eager to help and support all DISC styles and make sure everyone is OK. The captain of the sinking ship who is the last one to abandon it exemplifies the S-styles. They put the needs of the other people ahead of their own, as S-styles do not want to let others down. If you have ever witnessed a group of S-styles deciding where to go to lunch, you probably remember that it takes awhile. “Chinese food is fine with me.” “Mexican food is OK too.” “Whatever you like works well for me.”

As a result, if your predominant DISC-style is S, you need to learn to take care of your own needs. Learn to say “no” to others. It is perfectly OK. Try to remember that it is impossible to make everyone happy and give you a permission to disappoint others at times. It is not your responsibility to make sure everyone else is happy. However, you alone are responsible for your own happiness.

When you feel stressed and under pressure, you have a tendency to be too willing to give in. In pressure situations it becomes even more important to remember that you put others’ needs ahead of your own too often. Be more assertive. Keep in mind the famous Nike slogan: Just Do It. These are very helpful three words for S-styles to remember in many other situations as well.

D-style – The Most Direct of the DISC Profiles

D-style is the final and a strong example of how the DISC styles learn differently. The D-styles are assertive, direct and focused on their own goals. They communicate their opinions as facts and are impatient listeners. Subsequently, they expect others to listen. They move fast, are comfortable in taking risks and want to get things done now.

Also, D-styles are competitive, aggressive and results-oriented. As a result, other DISC profiles may perceive them as being belligerent, blunt and even rude. It seems to others that D-styles care about themselves and their goals above everything and everyone else. “If you do not like it, you can leave it” appears to be their mode of operandi.

Not surprisingly, if you are a D-style, you also need to learn something if you want to be more successful. You need to learn humility. As a D-style you may take pride in the fact that you do not know the definition of this strange word. It means “state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble.” Let me help you with the bottom line definition. Humility helps you in achieving your goals with and through others.

Under pressure this becomes more challenging as D-styles become insensitive. It is difficult to be humble and insensitive at the same time. However, if you want to become more successful, learn humility and do not allow feeling superior to others. Period.

DISC-styles all have something to learn

As you can discover once again, the DISC assessment makes no judgment about the DISC profiles. No matter, what your DISC style is, you need to learn something. Remembering that D-styles need to learn humility, I-styles self-discipline, S-styles taking care of their own needs and C-styles permission to make mistakes is one way to start. The key take away is to understand DISC styles learn differently and then use it to modify our development areas into more positive behaviors.

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Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser