Opposite DISC Personality Types Clash

14 Mar, 2017 / by Christina Bowser

Opposite DISC personality types can create challenging interactions.

Are you someone who lives and breaths superlatives, but your boss uses words like "fine" and "good"? As a DISC facilitator I often hear, from the people I train, how they can get so frustrated when receiving feedback. Typically, they find it comes from interacting with their opposite DISC personality types.

Frustrating opposite DISC personality types

One person sees herself as a go-getter and passionate about her work. She described her boss as very reserved and calm. So, every time she'd finish a project or close a deal she'd run excitedly to tell her boss. After she enthusiastically highlighted her recent accomplishments, she eagerly waited for glowing response. What she didn't expect, after she breathlessly finished, was to hear, "Okay. Sounds good". Then she waited for the additional feedback she knew should be forthcoming, but that was it. That was it? All she was getting was "sounds good" and "okay"? Hence, she walked away confused and extremely frustrated.

Every time she went for approval for all her hard work she only heard words like "good" and "fine". The same consistent and cautious feedback from her boss wore on her. She literally felt like "pulling her hair out" and "banging her head against the wall". She truly didn't understand what "good" or "fine" really meant. Was that all right or was it not all right? She just wasn't clear.

Recognizing our differences diminishes frustrations

Opposite DISC personality types discussing work

As we went through the DISC training she began to learn more about the DISC styles.  Not surprisingly, when she took the DISC test her DISC profile came out to be the energetic, talkative, and people-focused I personality type. Then we moved on from learning DISC personality types to how to identify the main DISC profiles of others. At this point, she recognized that her boss was definitely a C personality type and the "a-ha" moments started to happen.

She lived in a world of superlatives where positive feedback meant using words like "fantastic," "amazing" and "absolutely the best". Her boss lived in a world where he used economic words to express feedback. He truly felt he was giving positive feedback when he said "fine" or "good". Hence, the two people in this interaction needed to be aware that each communicates differently. She realized that he really was giving positive feedback. Now it would be perfect for the boss to recognize that his employee naturally prefers to hear feedback differently.

The words we use can convey different meaning to different DISC profiles. Think about that the next time you give or receive feedback. Remember, "fine" really can be good.


Topics: Blog, News

Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser