What Is A DISC Personality Test?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

We are all unique individuals. Each one of us. We're born as blank slates. But over time we develop unique characteristics and traits. Nature breathes way to nurture as our personalities blossom. These personalities define our lives. They provide context and a framework to approach life. One way to gain more insight into these personalities is through DISC personality tests. They help bring clarity and wisdom to life. And they provide insight into our decision-making process.

DISC tests allow us to better understand who we are at our core. They enable us to make more informed decisions based on what drives us deep down inside. This helps improve many areas of life. It helps to boost productivity and communication in the workplace. It allows us to work more effectively with others. It allows us to form a deeper understanding of those we work with and interact with regularly. And DISC personality tests create the foundation for DISC profiles.

DISC profiles are based on four prevailing factors.

  • (D) DominanceDominant personality types are confident and they prioritize results.
  • (I) InfluenceInfluential personality types are devoted to the art of persuasion and emphasize relationships.
  • (S) Steadiness—Steady personality types are reliable, dependable, sincere, and care deeply about cooperating with others.
  • (C) Conscientiousness—Conscience personality types are highly competent and care deeply about quality and accuracy.

Why Is The DISC Test Important?

Life presents challenges every single day. We face challenges at work, in our relationships, and with our finances. Each day presents a different set of challenges. How you respond to those challenges says a lot about you as a person. The DISC test helps you better understand how to grapple with the many challenges we face. It also helps you understand how you respond to things like rules and regulations, the pace or speed of life, your ability to influence others, and so much more.

However, the DISC test is not a measure of intelligence. It doesn't determine how smart you are or provide some barometer for your mental health. Nope. Not at all. The DISC test simply measures the four prevailing factors of your personality to allow you to better understand how to tackle obstacles. Do you easily work with others or do prefer to get others to follow your direction? How you respond to these things says a lot about you as a human being.

DISC also doesn't measure your values. It doesn't determine what you do or do not value the most. It simply reveals your traits. Values are assessed and measured through different tests. But it's not through the DISC test. It also doesn't determine your level of skill in a particular area. It doesn't test whether you're a savvy web developer, engineer, scientist, or anything else for that matter. The DISC test is solely designed to help you better understand your traits.

Who Created The DISC Test?

Before there was a DISC test there was a DISC profile. However, that profile evolved over many years. The original concepts and principles behind DISC were first theorized by, William Moulton Marston. Marston, a physiological psychologist, originally proposed the idea of "psychological phenomenon" in 1928 in his book, Emotions of Normal People. He specifically looked at the outward projection of emotion through four separate factors.

Marston theorized that these four primary factors were related to a person's self-awareness or self-perception within the framework of their life. It's based on how we see ourselves. The emotions that result are directly related to that self-perception. The existing framework looks somewhat similar to the original four factors:

  • Dominance
  • Inducement
  • Submission
  • Compliance

The Evolution Of The DISC Test

It wasn't until the 1940's when industrial psychologist, Walter V. Clarke took the underlying concepts of Marston's four factors and created a tool to measure them. He also took these four factors and plotted them on a 2-axis chart. Eventually, a member of his staff produced an assessment test designed to help in the hiring process of employees. That test took 81 different adjectives that a person would typically use to describe themselves and placed them into an assessment format.

He asked prospective employees to check off the adjectives that best described them. Clarke came to a similar conclusion based on the data of these tests. He found four separate factors that were used to best describe people and 15 basic patterns that could summarize their personality. Clarke eventually realized that these four factors were very similar to the original four factors that were introduced by Marston in his book, Emotions of Normal People.

  • Aggressive
  • Sociable
  • Stable
  • Avoidant

Later on, John Cleaver joined Walter Clarke Associates. Cleaver took the 81-adjective test and reduced it to 24 adjectives in 1951. The test also forces you to make a choice. You must choose an answer to each question rather than simply check off all the adjectives that apply. He called the test, Self Discription. It was intentionally misspelled. In 1956 Cleaver left Clarke's company and formed his own company called, J.P. Cleaver Co. And Cleaver used that 24-adjective assessment test to hire employees based on the results.

DISC Profiles

Years later, in the 1970s, John Geier took Cleaver's Self Discription assessment and modified it to create a system called the Personal Profile System (PPS). At the time, Geier was working in the Health Sciences Department at the University of Minnesota. He used the same 24-adjective question assessment and formed his company around that. The company was originally named, Performax but later changed its name to Wiley.

Many variations of the DISC profiling system exist today. But they're all rooted in the same basic principles originally discovered by Marston and later advanced by Clarke and Geier. The premise has always been to better understand humans and the driving forces behind our behavior. This is important in work settings. Today, many companies require some variation of a DISC assessment test (and several others) to determine whether a prospective employee is the right fit.

Personality tests like this also give you a better overall understanding of how you fit into a world of varying personalities. It shows you the characteristics and traits that stand out and make you part of various basic patterns used to group different personalities together. It's an important understanding into who you are and how you can best deliver the most value in the business world and life in general.

15 DISC Profiles

Personality tests like this also give you a better overall understanding of how you fit into a world of varying personalities. It shows you the characteristics and traits that stand out and make you part of various basic patterns used to group different personalities together. It's an important understanding into who you are and how you can best deliver the most value in the business world and life in general.

1—The Achiever (High "S")

Achievers are very self-reliant. Their charts feature a very high steadiness score and a high dominance. They're very goal-oriented. Sometimes even at the expense of the group. An achiever has the perception that if they want something done right they must do it themselves. And even when they do delegate a task, they often take back control of the task to ensure it's done the right way. They take a lot of accountability for their work and therefore but their flaw is the notion that they must do it all themselves.

2—The Agent (High "S")

Agents are very group-oriented. Their charts score low for dominance and high for steadiness. They're committed to the group over self and value relationships highly. They're harmonizers who bring different parties together for one coherent goal. However, agents tend to avoid conflict and aggression. They typically like to fly under the radar to avoid getting into major conflicts with others. They leverage their persuasion capabilities to get things done.

3—The Appraiser (High "I")

Appraisers are go-getters. They score high for influence and conscientiousness. They understand the steps needed to accomplish a task and can organize an effective approach to doing that. However, they lack patience and tend to become easily frustrated when things don't pan out. Appraisers rely heavily on persuasion to get others to help accomplish shared goals but fear failure and the disapproval of others.

4—The Counselor (High "I")

Counselors see the good in people and value relationships and happiness. Their chart scores high for influence and steadiness. They rely heavily on optimism and always look for the silver lining in things no matter what the situation. They're extremely patient with others and very tolerant of various situations. But they avoid confrontation because they fear causing pain or upset by putting people under high-pressure situations.

5—The Creative (High "C")

Creatives have unique abilities. They score high for both conscientiousness and dominance. They have a strong desire and drive for perfection that's subdued by their penchant for sensitivity. They respond quickly in most situations but they also weigh all their options before coming to a final decision. However, creatives can be extremely critical or even condescending with others at times. And ordinary routines bore them.

6—The Developer (High "D")

Developers value new opportunities and new horizons. They score high for dominance and enjoy projecting an aura of power. They're often very direct. Sometimes forceful. They don't value group cooperation and prefer to pursue things individually. They want to achieve their personal goals at all costs and tend to lack overall empathy for others. They fear being bored or feeling lost but enjoy working in solitude to get things done.

7—The Inspirational (High "D")

Inspirational patterns have a desire to control others. They score very high for dominance and influence. That's why they want to project strength and power. Inspirational patterns know what they want and go after it with all their power. But they tend to be manipulative to get what they want. They can be charming at times but they lack authenticity. However, inspirational individuals can communicate effectively, making them liked by others.

8—The Investigator (High "S")

Investigators enjoy the role of power and often seek authoritarian positions in society. They score high in the steadiness and dominance categories. They're extremely analytical and objective in their approach to goals. They're incredibly determined and persistent in their desire to achieve a result. And they thrive amid technical challenges. However, investigators have a loose hold on their emotions and tend to internalize things and hold grudges for extended periods. They always prefer logic over emotion.

9—The Objective Thinker (High "C")

Objective thinkers value correctness above most else. They score high for conscientiousness. They think logically and rely on empirical evidence. That's why they seek to be correct above most else. They're extremely meticulous in their approach to problem-solving. But they also heavily worry that they won't solve a problem, and fear being ridiculed by others. They always want to find the right answers, but they feel confused in situations that lack a clear direction or approach. Their desire to be correct also makes it very hard for them to admit failure.

10—The Perfectionist (High "C")

Perfectionists desire to achieve through a systematic approach. They score very high on the conscientious chart. They rely on predictability and stability and fear being antagonized. They prefer expectations to be specific rather than abstract and immerse themselves in high levels of critical thinking. They rely on achievement and will judge others by their ability to get things done. However, perfectionists will often heavily implement rules and procedures to their demise.

11—The Persuader (High "I")

Persuaders value the achievement of goals while working with others. They score high in the influence category on their chart. They can easily gain the respect of others and can sell their ideas effortlessly to others. They thrive in challenging environments and have a great ability to close sales. They're enthusiastic and optimistic about the future. However, they fear more complicated relationships and environments that are rigid. They also become highly indecisive under great deals of pressure.

12—The Practitioner (High "C")

Practitioners aim for personal growth. They score very high on the conscientious and influence chart. Practitioners have a high desire to be good at things. To be experts. So they give the impression that they know everything. However, practitioners are relaxed and easygoing. And they portray extreme focus when working on any objective. But they are also extremely sensitive when criticized and fear not being the expert in a given area.

13—The Promoter (High "I")

Promoters seek approval from others. They portray a high level of influence in their charts. They have a clear knack and ability to work with others and have high networking skills. They're good at promoting their ideas and beliefs to get others excited about working together. They're not as interested in accomplishing a specific task as they are in working with other people on those tasks. They're optimistic but often will overestimate what others can do.

14—The Results-Oriented (High "D")

Results-oriented people are driven by a desire to achieve goals. They score very high in dominance and influence on their charts. They don't like constraints and they thrive in highly-competitive environments. They're very self-confident in their approach to tackling goals. Some people may mistake this for arrogance because they tend to be very blunt and forward. They do value their independence and enjoy working alone. But they're also good at persuading others to join forces to achieve the intended goal faster. Most results-oriented people have a deep fear of being taken advantage of and they'll typically judge people by their ability to complete tasks.

15—The Specialist (High "D")

Specialists thrive in more controlled environments where they can maintain standards. They score very high in the steadiness factor on their charts. They tend to judge others based on their competence to complete tasks. And they can work well with most personality types. They're often patient and thorough in their approach, building long-lasting relationships with others in the meantime. However, they thrive off predictability and certainty. But they fear change, uncertainty and disorganization. They're very slow to adapt to changing scenarios.

What Is Your DISC Profile Type?

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