Instead of regurgitating a breakdown of each of the 4 DiSC personalities, I thought there would be more practical value in bringing these personalities to life through storytelling.
Picture the following scenario: a departure gate at a smaller non-international airport and the flight to NYC /JFK airport is 1 hour delayed due to a maintenance issue with your plane. (For the purpose of elucidating DiSC’s four main personality types we will only acknowledge 4 individuals at the scene):
Individual # 1 is Denny. This flight is Denny’s connecting flight into Berlin, Germany for a long-awaited 2 week adventure vacation touring Germany which will end with Oktoberfest in Munich.
Individual # 2 is Isabella. Isabella is the airport service employee stationed at the gate and responsible for getting all travelers onto this plane to New York.
Individual # 3 is Steve. Steve is on his way to NYC for a short trip to see a childhood friend who is losing her battle with cancer.
Individual #4 is Caroline. Caroline is traveling to NYC to conduct an important training seminar for her company.
Denny is our D personality in the DiSC model. As a D, his personality is confident and blunt, he wants bottom-line results and to the point information, he primarily sees the big picture.
Isabella is our I personality. I’s are outgoing, people-oriented, they love having fun and creating and exciting and positive environment.
Sam is our S. S’s are reserved, calm and cooperative but also people-oriented and exhibit behaviors ore being supportive and fostering a steady environment.
Caroline is our C. C’s pride themselves with accuracy, they are afraid of being wrong, objective reasoning and comprehending details are a strength. They enjoy their independence.
Now … back to our scenario. After the first hour goes by, Denny is really starting to get extremely nervous. He knows he has a 2 hour delay in NYC before he needs to catch his flight to Berlin. If this flight he’s currently waiting for is delayed more than another half hour he risks missing his connecting flight to Berlin depending on how close he is to his departure gate once they land at JFK in NYC. Isabella the airport employee can see that Denny is getting impatient. Isabella is certified in DiSC and uses this knowledge when she approaches him to size up the scene. As she talks to Denny she is picking up signals of his D personality. By nature, Isabella is a positive person and usually likes to keep things upbeat. However, she knows if she responds to Denny’s concerns in this manner her personality style is only going to upset the situation more. Denny, being a D, needs to know what the bottom line is on a realistic time for this “maintenance issue” to be resolved. He wants the big picture explained so Isabella is able to tell him where his flight will be landing at JFK and that it’s a quick walk to his connecting gate, which fortunately is in the same concourse in which he will land. By Isabella appealing to Denny’s D personality, she is able to ease his anxiety.
A few seats away, Caroline is beginning to get upset. She is not a fan of travelling because she seems to always encounter flight delays on business travel. This causes her to have to rush to wherever her company needs her to be once she arrives at her destination. Sitting next to her is Sam. Sam is not worried about a 1 hour delay at this point. He realizes once he gets to NYC he will only have 2 day to visit with his friend who has cancer, however, he also understands he’s at the mercy of the airline and there’s really nothing he can do to speed up the process of boarding this flight to NYC. Sam turns to Caroline, who although she’s keeping her opinion to herself, it’s quite obvious that she is upset. Although Sam is not certified or has ever heard of DiSC, it’s in his S-nature to remain calm and take measure to diffuse any situations that are at risk of becoming incensed. Sam leans over to Caroline and asks: “Is NYC your final destination?”
Carolline is not really in the mood to talk to anyone but she chooses to be polite and respond by explaining that she’s traveling there on business. Sam then asks if this will be Caroline’s first time in NYC and Caroline nods and says “yes.”
Sam is unaware that his S nature of remaining calm and interest in meeting new people is actually helping to distract Caroline from her nervous frustration. Sam is also unaware that his excitement to provide Caroline with sight-seeing and restaurant suggestions is actually helping the situation even more. Especially since Sam is willing to provide the subway and walking directions to each of these places (remember, Caroline is a C and likes details).
Twenty minutes later the plane’s maintenance issues are resolved and Isabella declares the great news over the intercom.
The world is a beehive of different personalities, but Marston’s DiSC model simplifies them into 4 general categories. Understanding where your personality exists along with how you respond when encountering personalities different from your own will allow you to connect better with the human race.