DiSC Assessments: Understanding Your Team — and Yourself

Based on the pioneering work of William Marston in the 1920s, DiSC is an elegantly powerful tool designed to better understand yourself, your team members, and how you interact and work together.

A DiSC assessment provides a 2×2 matrix that identifies the degree to which you possess four different thinking and behavioral styles. At its core, DiSC identifies the way that people approach the world. Interestingly, research shows that the general population is consistently divided proportionately among the four quadrants.

There are many variants of DiSC, including free 5-minute online versions. “While those tests are fun, don’t read much into them,” said Maren Perry, president of Arden Coaching.

“We use Wiley’s DiSC® assessment tool. Wiley has conducted extensive research over the years. Their DiSC assessments are verifiable, highly reliable, and very dependable. They have also proven to generate consistent results over time.”

Perry says that DiSC assessments are extremely useful to help understand how people view and accomplish their work, what motivates and drives their behaviors, and how they interact with others.

“Not only is DiSC accurate, it’s remarkably practical. You can put the results to work right away. For example, if you know that some of your team members are emotional and expressive, tend to be optimistic, and value public recognition, that provides  insight that helps you lead and manage the group.”

Perry adds that Arden Coaching regularly uses DiSC assessments in executive coaching engagements, Arden’s Leadership Academy, and in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ performance training.

To obtain a quick, broad-brush indicator of someone’s DiSC profile, ask these simple questions:

Does this person appear to prefer making decisions quickly, working at a fast pace? Or, does this person seem to prefer a methodical, thoughtful approach to decision-making?

Does this person tend to be quickly accepting of people and information? Or does this person tend to be more questioning and challenging?

  • Fast Pace/Questioning — Typically a “D” (Green) style prevails
  • Fast Pace/Accepting — Typically an “i” (Red) style prevails
  • Thoughtful/Accepting — Typically an “S” (Blue) style prevails
  • Thoughtful/Questioning — Typically a “C” (Yellow) style prevails

Importantly, Perry stresses that “No one particular style is a ‘leadership’ style. Outstanding leaders come from all quadrants. There’s no correlation between a DiSC style and the development of great leadership skills.” DiSC is also not a selection tool. “Oh, you’re an “S,” so you can’t do that job. It does not work that way!”

DiSC results should be interpreted and applied by an expert

Having the right DiSC tool is not enough. To be truly useful, an expert is needed to translate the results, comprehend its meaning, and take action that results in a positive outcome. For more, read Arden Coaching’s “4 Tips for Getting the Most From a DiSC Assessment.”

To learn more about DiSC assessments, executive coaching, and team performance contact us at [email protected] or 646.844.2233.