The DiSC Personality Test is an assessment tool that organizations often use to increase the communication effectiveness and general productivity of their teams. There are lots of personality tests available today, but DiSC is specifically suited for corporations and is intended to help individuals engage more efficiently and effectively in a work environment.
In this article, we’ll cover what the DiSC personality test is, if it’s accurate, DiSC personality test types, and the work cultures that seem to make the best use of DiSC.
What Is The DiSC Personality Test?
The DiSC personality test is not as well-known as, for example, Myers Briggs. But it’s very popular with organizations that have adopted it. So, what is the DiSC personality test?
On a high level, it’s a framework used to improve teamwork and communication at work. The idea is that when everyone in a company knows the specific DiSC personality type of everyone else in a given situation, they can adjust their behavior and engagement style to reduce conflict and improve working relationships. Other stated benefits of DiSC include improved self-awareness, sales skills, management skills, and an ability to train without judging.
To be clear, DiSC measures personality, not intelligence, aptitude, or mental health. DiSC profiles help explain human behavior in different types of situations. To take the test, you simply respond to simple statements on a five-point scale to indicate the degree to which you agree with each statement.
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DiSC Personality Test Types
DiSC is, in fact, an acronym. The DiSC personality test types are reflected in each letter of the name:
- D = dominance
- I = influence
- S = steadiness
- C = conscientiousness
After you take the test, your results tell you which of the above personality types best fit your answers. Let’s briefly review what each personality type means.
The D type of person is motivated by competition, winning, and success. They value personal freedom and being in control. They like to work with people who communicate in direct, concrete ways and deliver on their promises.
The I type is very social and enjoys working in groups. People often consider them charming, impulsive, or persuasive. They like giving and receiving counseling. They seek to avoid social rejection, disapproval, or anything that might lead to their being ignored.
The S style is motivated by cooperation and the chance to help. They seek loyalty and security and tend to fear change. People consider them calm, deliberate, and sometimes passive. To effectively communicate with an S type, be amiable, clear about expectations, and avoid being overly confrontational.
Finally, the C style is most interested in gaining knowledge and demonstrating expertise. They want to be challenged, but they value quality. They fear being wrong or challenged. A focus on facts and details, a minimization of emotional language, and a healthy dose of diplomacy will go a long way when communicating with the C personality style.
Of course, no one is only one of these types all of the time. You may behave more like a D in some situations and an I in others. The DiSC really is a multi-layered spectrum of behavior.
Is The DiSC Personality Test Accurate?
Is the DiSC personality test accurate? It seems the basic answer is yes. However, as one might expect, a fair amount of nuance is required to answer this question. Whether or not the DiSC personality test is accurate comes down to understanding three things:
- Dimensionality – can the personality dimension of the DiSC model be clearly assigned?
- Reliability – if you repeat the test, do you generally get the same result?
- Validity – or, does DiSC actually measure what it is supposed to measure?
DiSC is designed to measure behavior in situations, not static personality traits. Your personality will combine with the situation to influence your behavior. Because DiSC measures behavior in situations, it is complex enough for most researchers to conclude that it has appropriate dimensionality.
Likewise, particularly with extended versions of DiSC, it has been found to be reliable. Finally, there have been a number of large, global studies dating back to the 1990s that have tested if DiSC seems valid, and the conclusion has generally been yes.
What Work Culture Is The DiSC Personality Test Suited For?
The DiSC personality test is well suited for a variety of work environments. Any organization that requires its employees to communicate and collaborate to solve problems should, in theory, benefit from applying DiSC.
Now, if employees or contractors tend to work independently, handing their work off to others with limited interaction, the DiSC won’t be as beneficial. Also, while it’s helpful to know your DiSC profile, it’s possibly even more helpful to know the profile of the people you commonly interact with. So, if you spend most of your time engaging with clients or co-workers whose DiSC profiles can’t be known to you, that can also be a barrier to full use of DiSC.
The DiSC approach also requires general buy-in and use of a common language. A work culture that thrives on independence and competition likely won’t get much out of it.
Virtually any workplace today requires communicating and collaborating with people – and this isn’t always smooth sailing. The DiSC personality test can be an effective tool for gaining a common language to understand one another, thereby increasing the efficacy of communication and reducing friction in teams of all shapes and sizes.
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