DISC for Teams

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DISC for Teams

Any business leader knows that an organization is only as good as the people it employs. As an organization scales, this becomes more complicated than simply "hire the best people".

Excellent people are placed on teams, and how teams interact and perform makes a world of difference on each individual's impact. The best teams are balanced, empathic towards one another, accountable, and open.

DISC provides decision makers and team leaders with tools to create the best teams and supercharge their performance.

Forming the Team


While it's easy to think that getting a group of execution-oriented type A's together will result in a high-performing team, it's obvious that this won't works so well. In putting a team together, it's important to consider each DISC types strengths, and understand what a team will lack if missing that personality type. For example:

  • A team without a D personality type might struggle to make decisions and stay focused on results.
  • A team without an I personality type may lack creative energy and not try enough new ideas.
  • A team without an S personality type may lack compassion and understanding for each other.
  • A team without a C personality type may be disorganized or pay too little attention to detail.

If you find a team encountering one of these issues, you might want to consider bringing in the correct personality type to round it out.

Roles and Accountability

DISC also helps in deciding the appropriate roles for different team members. A high performing team employs each individual's strengths for the greater good of the team. Here are some ideas for different DISC types:

  • D's prefer control and are extremely decisive and focused on results. As a result, A "D" personality type performs best in a Leadership Position. A D should be in charge of and accountable for results.
  • I's are extremely creative, and enjoy people and a good time. Put them in a Creative Position where they have plenty of opportunities to actively generate ideas with other people. An I should be accountable for the creative vision.
  • S's enjoy routine and supporting people. Every team needs someone to provide support for the rest of the team, and an S will flourish in a Support Position, both in terms of tasks and being the go to person for help. An S should be accountable for support and consensus.
  • C's are excellent at critical thinking, analysis, and attention to detail. As a result, they should be in an Analytic Position. Make C's in charge of and accountable for details and organization.

If you have a team with a D at the helm to make decisions, I's in charge of creative vision, an S to support the rest of the team, and a C to take care of the details, you're on your way.

Improving Performance

Encouraging Empathic Communication

It's important to have a balanced team, but doing so requires that everyone understands each other. Each personality type has their own preferred communication style, and each type has to keep the other in mind as they communicate.

While every interaction has it's own nuance, there are a few that can be particularly quarrelsome:

D to D

When two D's get together, conflict is the inevitable conclusion. Both parties will be blunt, opinionated, and seek to have control over the situation. It's important to clearly establish responsibilities in this situation, and make them as distinguished as possible.

D to I

While D's and I's are both outgoing, they communicate very differently. A D is short and blunt, while an I tends to like to talk - a lot.

It's important for a D to keep in mind that I's are external processors, they need to talk through ideas to work them to a good conclusion. This goes against a D's natural desire to keep conversation short and to the point.

Along this vein, an I also needs to keep in mind that a D prefers to keep conversation short, and shouldn't get offended when a D cuts them off or requests they get to the point.

D to S

With completely opposite personality types, a D will have the tendency to absolutely trample over an S. Where S's are gentle and careful with their words, D's are blunt and outspoken- easily offending an S.

A D won't even mean to or realize they're offending the S, and an S isn't likely to confront the problem. This can lead to long-term instability and problems in the relationship that are never confronted and handled.

It's important for a D to be aware of their own natural bluntness when speaking to an S, and for an S to be assertive when they need to be.

I to C

Similar to a D and an S, I's and C's also lie on the complete opposite side of the spectrum from one another.

Where an I is outspoken, creative, prefers working with people, and focused on the vision for a projects, C's are reserved, detail-oriented, and prefer working independently.

I's are likely to feel the need to speak to C's far more often than they prefer, ruining the flow and focus they desire in their work. On the opposite end, C's are likely to be more independent and may come off as being rude or seem to dislike an I when they don't need to.

A healthy relationship can be established when an I is mindful of a C's preference of working independently, and a C can be mindful of an I's need to think aloud and find time to be supportive in this role, despite their natural tendency.

Self-Awareness to Facilitate Teamwork

When team members get a good grasp on their own DISC type in context of the team, they can start to maximize cooperation according to strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Team members should seek out a D when they need help making tough decisions and keeping them focused on results. A D should also know to hop in when someone seems to be struggling in this arena.
  • An I should seek to inject creativity and vision whenever a team member needs to do so. Team members should also be encouraged to approach an I when they feel lacking in Creative Vision for the project.
  • An S is the handy support man of the team, and team members should feel comfortable seeking them out whenever they have an important task they can't do themselves. S's can be trusted to do good work, and should seek to help team members out when it seems they have too much on their plate.
  • C's are the organized mind and detail-oriented drivers that keep the group running smoothly. When a team needs help staying organized or someone needs help digging deep into different details, they should seek out the C to help round out the team. The C should also know they can help others with ideas for how to be better organized, and providing relevant detail as needed.

A team who really understands each other will know how they can best support others, and when they needs to go to others for support.

Understanding your Team

There's no "winning" template for a successful team, it depends on the industry, functional role of the team, and project, but balance comes from diversity.

Take some time to think through both the general strengths and weaknesses of your team, as well as the individual personalities involved. Is your team missing a vital personality type, do the appropriate accountabilities need to be established, or do they just need help understanding each other? No matter what the scenario, a strong grasp of DISC can help charge your results.

DISC Assessment

Select the word that most describes you and the word that least describes you. Once you complete the DISC assessment below, you'll be able to see your DISC type.

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